On February 5, after much delay due to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump presented his long-awaited State of the Union Address.
There were a couple of excellent and memorable moments from the speech that really conveyed a great sense of unity in such a divisive time. For example, the president’s shout-out to women in the workforce and in Congress was very well executed. It conveyed a sense of great national pride as many of the women in the audience cheered and applauded at such an accomplishment.
The president was even able to convey a positive message of bipartisanship. Little lines like, “Victory is not winning for our party. Victory is winning for our country,” were scattered about the beginning of his speech, making for a lot of great opening moments for the president.
However, in every State of the Union Address, even before Trump, the president pretends to be cooperative, saying that we must all come together for the sake of our country, but after those passing moments of unity are over, everything will surely fall back into a state of gridlock.
This is made even more evident if you consider how our country is still grappling with the same issues Trump mentioned in last year’s State of the Union Address, especially in regards to immigration and his demand for a border wall.
There were also other, rather questionable lines delivered from the president that managed to shatter the image of unity. For example, Trump stated, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.” I understand that the president is trying to convey a message of unity here, but to me it just came off as manipulative. This claim sounds very suspicious, almost like an admission of guilt. If the Trump administration was truly innocent, then the president should have no need to try and disrupt the investigations. I believe that all big, influential politicians became guilty of something in order to gain the position they are in, whether that something is a small or big infraction, and I don’t believe Trump is guilty of something catastrophic as many people like to think. However, these investigations are still important, and just because the president is being investigated, doesn’t mean the legislative process can’t move forward.
All of these issues brought into light by Trump’s State of the Union Address are greater reflections of the problem with a bipartisan, two-party system. So long as issues facing the country are presented as only two sided, with a right or wrong scenario, nothing will truly progress.
So how do we as citizens find solutions to the problems with bipartisanship? While there are no quick or easy solutions, education is very important to shaping how future generations will influence the nation. Right now, schools across the country are teaching the government through the eyes of a two-party system, guaranteeing that our country is doomed to repeat the same back-and-forth dilemma as it does today.
If we truly want to progress as a nation, we should start educating young Americans about other solutions to complex issues, rather than just the propositions argued back and forth by the Democratic and Republican Parties. The beliefs and propositions supported by outside perspectives are highly disregarded. I would like to see our government move toward a multiparty system, where cooperation would be commonplace as different perspectives could be heard. This system would also create smaller parties to enforce collaboration, working amongst their similarities to pass certain legislation. Educating young people about a wider array of ideas will put America on the path of straying away from a bipartisan system, ensuring that a sense of long lasting unity persists throughout the nation.