Is the State of the Union Address Important?
Neighbor friends of mine have said, “I’m not watching it!” Other elected officials from various states have decided to “boycott” the State of the Union address also…even if they have not asked those who elected them whether it was a good idea and did they approve? Some Congress members have already decided that they will not stand or applaud even when what is being said is for the good of all Americans…simply because they are determined to be oppositional. That may be why many Americans see the Congress as a “do nothing” organization.
We ask at Boyer Writes the question: Is the State of the Union Message of any importance to Americans…the rich, the poor, the small business person and economists, the elderly, those who receive government aid, environmentalists, our military, the immigrants…legal and illegal, who may be hoping to be citizens of the USA and all others who would put themselves in any category?
We will address first the meaning of the State of the Union and its history…in case some should not know:
It is a Constitutional Duty.
“Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
- The Address is to be informative to the Congress and to every citizen of the United States…whether listening or not. (Any elected official who does not show up to hear probably should be close to a T.V….just to be “informed”.)
- It is a part of our established history. The President of the US has been giving this message in person to the Congress and the American people for 105 years since 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President. With the advent of TV and the internet, it has been easier to reach the average person. (Some may even ask why the average person should not be able to hear or know the direction of our country…just as the elected officials are informed?)
The Early history: George Washington delivered the first annual address to Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice because he felt it was too monarchical, as similar to the “Speech from the Throne”. He wrote it out and sent it to be read by a clerk.
There was controversy in 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson planned to reestablish the speech. (Oh my, “controversy” also has a long history!) There have been only a few exceptions by the U.S. Presidents of delivering the address in person to the Congress and to the American people, with the last being President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
- Important enough to designate a SURVIVOR: Whenever Congress meets together to hear the President speak, there is a designated survivor appointed. What does this mean?
“Since the ’80s, a designated survivor has been selected for the State of the Union. This is a member of the president’s cabinet who does not attend the event, in case a disaster or attack kills the president and everyone in the line of succession. The first designated survivor was Reagan’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, Samuel Pierce. The two cabinet positions most often selected to serve as designated survivor are the secretary of the Agriculture Department and the secretary of the Interior Department; both positions have been selected six times each. The only person to serve in the role more than once was George W. Bush’s Commerce secretary, Donald Evans.” (taken from PBS News)
Does history or tradition mean anything to the American people today? Is it too old-fashioned to spend an hour before our TV sets or online to hear what the President has to say?
Do the personal opinions about the particular person elected to the office of President cloud a more important aspect of being American? We must all remember that we are in it together for at least the 4 years the President will serve. Decisions made by Congress will effect us all…and might be why they should be listening rather than protesting at this point.
Free speech (and opinion) is part of our right guaranteed in the Constitution. The President is following the requirements of the Constitution to make this address. That is why it is my opinion that we lay aside, for one hour, to check out what we may be up against for years to come…for good or bad. Those who say, “I hate him and everything he stands for”… should remember that the State of the Union message is important for this reason. It is not a State of the Union on a Personality, but on our country and the future of our country. If we don’t like the things said or the things proposed to follow in the next year or the next three years, try our other right…your VOTING RIGHT! At least you will be able to say you’re informed.
Yes, We still have elections and the leadership choices are still made at the ballot box and not at the end of a gun as they are in some nations. Thank God! Therefore, in Honor of the office of the Presidency...whether you approve of the sitting President or not…here is HAIL TO THE CHIEF performed by the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”.
Some information is taken from Wikipedia. For more information on the State of the Union