Our View

State of the Union? Divided and bitter

Each year, the Constitution says, the president is to present to Congress a report on the state of the union. The constitution doesn’t say if should be a written report, or an oral address, but in the last century is has become a formal piece of political theater, complete with special guests for the president to introduce, Congressional members standing and applauding for whatever their party likes in the address and sitting glumly for whatever they don’t like, and opposition parties waiting in the wings to give their version of the state of the union.

Perhaps the most telling indication of the state of the union this year is the fact that Congress and the president can’t even agree on where or when to hold it? House Democrats won’t approve letting the president into their chambers unless the government shutdown ends, and President Donald Trump is insisting he will give it as scheduled. He may have to use his own ballroom at Trump Towers or Mar-a-Lago, because Congress will have the doors to the Capitol locked.

The state of the union is simply this — badly divided and remarkably bitter about the whole state of affairs. Nobody wants to talk to the other side about ending the shutdown, or revising immigration policy, or what’s the best way to secure the borders.

They can’t even agree on when to let Trump give his speech. That’s the state of our union.


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