Two 2022 State Of The Union Addresses [Corrected]

Guest post by A.M. Golden and Steve-O-in-NJ

[Introduction: These two entries from this week’s Open Forum are a collective natural for a combined post. A.M. and Steve-O take different approaches to what President Biden’s second State of the Union message is likely to be. You can guess which one I would rather see delivered. [Notice of Correction: I erroneously wrote that this was the first Biden SOTU. What confused me was that last year the Speaker of the House neglected to perform the traditional “tearing up of the speech” that marks the official end of the event…]

First up: A.M. Golden…]

***

I’ve been working on this for a bit. When President Biden ran as the Unity candidate and urged unity in his Inauguration address only to maintain the business as usual divisiveness that has characterized his party’s tactics, I started to wonder if there were anything he could do to change it.

With permission and forgiveness- for the length and the hubris it took to write this – I wonder what would happen if Biden’s State of the Union address in 2022 went something like this.

My Fellow Americans,

The purpose of the State of the Union address is to inform the citizenry of where we stand as a country at the beginning of a new year. In keeping with the spirit of that intent, I’m going to use this time a little differently than you may expect. In my Inaugural Address, I urged the country to come together in a spirit of unity. Since that time, we have become more divided than ever. We have seen hostility between people based on race, gender, religion, class and ethnic origin spike. Our children’s education is at risk as parents battle teachers, teachers battle parents and all battle school administrations. Our law enforcement officers and first responders are at risk more than ever. Families are at war with each other, tearing the basic unit of our society apart. We have lost the ability to give each other the benefit of the doubt, preferring instead to assume the worst of others.

I’m here to apologize to you on behalf of myself, the Democratic Party and its entire leadership for our part in creating and maintaining this schism.

For decades, the Democratic Party has contributed to the undermining of our national institutions. We questioned the legitimacy of the elections of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and the election of Donald Trump in 2016, using irresponsible rhetoric that encouraged ignorance of our Constitution and the protections provided in it by the Founding Fathers. Indeed, we have undermined the Founding Fathers themselves, dismissing their incredible gift to us, by characterizing them by the worst decisions they ever made. In doing so, we have fomented disrespect of our way of life, our history, cultural heritage and national achievements among our youth. Democratic officials in county, city and state politics have followed our poor example, refusing to concede elections and destroying local customs and the memory of historical figures alike with iconoclastic fervor.

We have undermined the legitimacy of the Supreme Court with dangerous hyperbolic statements about the threat to our democracy if a decision doesn’t go the way we want. We used our allies in the news media, the entertainment industry, academia and friendly corporations to mischaracterize high court rulings, spreading ignorance among the population as to how the court is designed to work. We have turned Supreme Court confirmation hearings into circuses, demonizing anyone nominated by our opponents and encouraging our aforementioned allies to engage in relentless character assassinations so that we can protect our pet platform issues.

We have tried to get around Constitutional protections of Freedom of Speech, Religion, Press and Assembly by putting pressure on private businesses to shut down opposing viewpoints and to punish our political critics while claiming that it’s an acceptable practice so long as it’s not government committing the actual violation. We have irresponsibly inserted ourselves into local law enforcement issues, sometimes demanding outcomes that hinder a defendant’s right to due process and ability to receive a fair trail. We have pressured higher education to destroy the lives of students by virtue of a mere accusation, again mocking the concept of due process.

In particular, we have disappointed the parents who entrust their children to us for their education. We keep unfit, unqualified teachers in the classroom, give lip service to quality education while pushing out graduating classes of increasingly failing students and spend precious education time indoctrinating students on wedge issues important to us.

We have encouraged racial enmity by advocating suspicion of law enforcement, endangering all of us with irresponsible demands to defund the police, allow violent protests that destroy property and lives and incentivize lawbreaking by refusing to enforce the laws in existence. We have harmed minority communities with endless social welfare funding that exacerbates the problem of poverty instead of solving it, creating generations of families unable or unwilling to learn how to support themselves. We have engaged in relentless fear-mongering of our opponents to keep the minority vote, painting any alternatives to eternal dependence on government as being motivated by racism while we ourselves have engaged in the soft bigotry of low expectations, trying to convince you that you can never compete fairly with white citizens, can never truly be successful in the Land of Opportunity and are not intelligent enough to do simple things, such as get a government-issue ID.

Irresponsibly, we contributed to a crisis at our Southern border for political gain by encouraging untold numbers of poverty-stricken people to violate our immigration laws and opposing any legislation designed to resolve the issue.

We have helped put this country in unsustainable debt that will take generations to pay so that we could toss money at every problem and fund our programs.

We labeled anyone who questioned the wisdom of these actions as bigots and dangerous extremists.

These practices were ramped up after the 2016 election. Instead of going high, as our former First Lady asserted, we went as low as we could. We gave no quarter to President Trump and did everything we could, along with our supporters in the various industries I’ve already mentioned, to keep him from doing his job. We made sure he would never be given even the most minor of Presidential honors that have been afforded incoming Presidents traditionally. We approved the most unlikely conspiracy theories regarding his election and nodded in agreement when our allies in the news media published rumors as fact, cited anonymous sources and failed to report accurately any news that favored the administration. Prominent members of our party encouraged public harassment of administration officials with no disciplinary action or even a rebuke in response. Congress made no effort to work with the President at all on any important piece of legislation, to the detriment of our country and its citizens. Every move by our party’s Senators and Congresspersons was done to harm the Trump administration, regardless of the collateral damage done to all of you.

When the pandemic loomed, we ignored it while we engaged in partisan political theatre intended to damage the President’s re-election chances. Our Speaker of the House violated democratic norms by tearing up the President’s speech on television. Suddenly, as the strong economy began to falter on pandemic fears, we seized on that as a way to pull a victory out of the 2020 election. We insisted on stringent lockdowns, encouraged abuses of power by state and city officials and undermined every effort by the Trump administration to contain the pandemic within Constitutional parameters. We further pitted family members against each other, already divided along political lines, by vilifying anyone who questioned the effectiveness of such methods.

We exhibited blatant double standards when it came to what constituted acceptable gatherings, showed our own hypocrisy multiple times as prominent members of our party violated their own restrictions and excused confusing, contradictory messaging about the virus coming from government agencies and the scientific/medical communities. We did our best to destroy the morale of the country before the election. Worst of all, we discouraged confidence in the vaccine so that President Trump would not get any credit for its remarkably rapid development only to change course after the election results were in.

Speaking of the election, we continued the undermining of our election process by demanding the use of unsecure paper ballots, dismissed any concerns about tampering and used our allies to propagandize for us again, counting on them to bury stories that helped the administration or hurt us. We ignored the bizarre hours-long cessation of ballot counting in swing states that ultimately turned in our favor. We demanded that the results of this election be accepted without question or pause, not hesitating to again label concerns as dangerous extremism, knowing full well how we would have responded had the election gone the other way under the same circumstances.

And we denied that we did any of those things.

We were hypocrites.

Since I have taken office, we have continued these same practices. We laid down the law on the frustrated, but misguided, people who forced their way into the Capitol on January 6. We have encouraged repeated misrepresentations of that event. We have used our corporate allies to shut down opposing political speech and to try to force vaccine compliance. In our country’s darkest days, it has been the job of the country’s leader to give hope. Instead, I have lectured you ceaselessly and allowed excuses to be made for my failure.

I want to take time now to apologize specifically:

To President Trump. You deserved a chance. We didn’t give that to you. The political climate today exists because we could not accept that we lost. We have no right to complain about 2020 election concerns after spending four years questioning your victory. No right to complain about incivility toward me when we practiced it toward you relentlessly.

To Betsy DeVos, Sarah Sanders and other members of the Trump administration who were prevented from doing their jobs or even enjoying a private dinner out because of harassment encouraged by the Democratic Party. You deserved the same consideration that I would want for my own officials.

To Trump administration associates and colleagues who were targeted by the DOJ, whose employers were pressured, who faced constant threats for their association with President Trump. We made a mockery of the right of Freedom of Association.

To Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and, especially, Brett Kavanaugh. You were badly treated because of who nominated you. We went as low as we could go and that’s saying something. You deserved fair hearings and didn’t get them.

To Republicans. You have been unfairly maligned as racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes and every other unpleasant characterization. We should have listened to your opinions with respect, even if we disagreed with them. Congressman Steve Scalise and other Republicans with him on the day a gunman opened fire on them were endangered by the same kind of rhetoric we have routinely maintained poses a danger to others. We have set a poor example for our supporters.

To Law Enforcement officials nationwide, including our Border and Customs agents. We have made your jobs impossible by openly siding with lawbreakers and risked your lives with our damaging grandstanding. You deserved our support and we threw you under the bus.

To parents who have every right to know what their children are learning and to express their concerns about it. No one should ever be made to feel like an enemy for speaking out at a School Board meeting. Your participation in your children’s education is essential.

To businesses and property owners, large and small. We facilitated the destroying of our economy for political gain. We placed the unreasonable demand of expecting you to enforce local and federal mandates while struggling to stay afloat financially. You should never have been made responsible for policing the public.

To our minority communities. Our cynical pandering to you for decades to prop up our voter base has caused significant harm to you and helped cause the racial animus we are seeing now. You have the right to think for yourselves and make choices as individuals, not groups, even if one of those choices is not voting for me.

To religious believers. We have shown open hostility to those of faith on a regular basis and practiced double standards in how various groups of believers are treated. You deserve to be treated equally and fairly.

To the American people. You deserved better. You didn’t get it. You have the right to expect honesty, fairness, impartiality and transparency from your elected officials who should be working hard for you, not on their campaigns or personal agendas. I intend to change things for the better starting today.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this. I personally believe that every American should be vaccinated. I do understand, however, that there is a great deal of mistrust here that we have been responsible for creating. I hope that, in the coming months, we can gain your trust by reaching out in partnership with our political opponents and working together to repair the damage to our country. It will be difficult and we won’t always make the right decisions. I have confidence that the people of this country can overcome all the obstacles in our path if we join hands and tackle them together.

We are Americans. This is who we are and what we do.

God bless you. And God bless America.

[Next…Steve-O-in NJ’s version]

Nice try, but I think the speech you’ll get will be more like this:

My fellow Americans,

Tonight, this nation stands more united, yet more divided than ever. This nation showed it is still decent at its core when it threw a dangerous demagogue out of office who stood for all the worst of what it was and still is, but tonight we still find ourselves a very long way from the best we can be.

When 56 men gathered together in a hall in Philadelphia almost two hundred fifty years ago, they wrote that all men are endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All of them were white, only one was Catholic, none were Jewish, almost all were well-to-do, most were either landed gentry or lawyers, and 41, just under three quarters, were slaveowners. The man who wrote most of it was not only a slaveowner, but one who kept his dead wife’s half-sister as a de facto concubine. They may have said all men, but they certainly didn’t mean all people in what was to become the United States. They didn’t even mean all men, and they can’t have meant it, since almost three quarters of them owned other people. They meant all white men who owned property, a certain amount of property and that was it. As far as they were concerned, if you were poor, if you were of color, if you were a woman, you didn’t count. For almost 250 years this nation has been living a lie, and it should come as no surprise that when we live a lie, we fall short, no, make that far short, of the best we can be. If you say your goal is the moon, but you never intend to actually get there, then it should come as no surprise you don’t get there.

What seems to have been forgotten in 250 years is that the most basic right everyone in this nation was supposed to have is the right to life. This means you have the right not to not be killed because you were the wrong color, or worshiped the wrong way, or loved the wrong person. You also have the right not to be killed because someone else decided you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. You also have the right not to be killed because someone whose job it is to protect you decided to misuse his authority, or someone else decided to possess a deadly weapon he did not need, or because someone else decided he was going to bring a deadly virus among his fellow citizens and refuse to be vaccinated.

Only after that right to life come the rights to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness, because they are meaningless if you are not alive to enjoy them. What is more, neither of those rights is absolute. Your right to swing your fist ends where your neighbor’s nose begins, your right to use whatever substances are legal ends where danger to others begins, and there is no right to insult, offend, or hurt anyone by anyone, at any time, for any reason, but especially for the reason that someone doesn’t like what color someone else is.

My fellow Americans, we face a cluster of crises right now, that put us in real danger of not only falling short of what we can be, but becoming something we were never meant to be.

The COVID pandemic is the most immediate, but it is not the biggest. It has only been here for just under two years, and it should be gone soon. We have not just a vaccine but several vaccines that protect against this. We have other cures being worked on. We all have the simple remedies of wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. None of these is a guaranteed immunity, but, when used together, greatly reduce the possibility of catching or spreading the virus. However, just like water means nothing if the horse won’t drink it, masks mean nothing if people won’t wear them, social distancing means nothing if people won’t observe it, and vaccines mean nothing if people won’t take them. If you are refusing to get vaccinated or wear your mask, you are endangering your fellow citizens’ right to life, just as surely if you fired an assault weapon into the street. This has been explained to this nation many times, frankly more times than should be necessary for everyone with a reasonable level of intelligence to understand, comprehend, and implement it. Many have. But many is not all, and until all or at least substantially all comply, we will never be rid of this modern-day plague.

So, starting tomorrow and until I deem otherwise, I am going to issue a series of executive orders and the appropriate agencies are going to make appropriate changes to the Code of Federal Regulations. Unless and until you get vaccinated and get a booster shot, and can show proof you have, you will be barred from all Federal property, all public transportation, and anywhere else the Federal government owns or has authority over. You will also be barred from all public indoor spaces, that includes malls, schools, theaters, churches, and most other gathering places. There will be a limited number of exceptions for those individuals whose physicians will attest to their inability to take the vaccine because it will do them more harm than good. Religious objections will no longer be recognized.

The Federal government may not be able to seize you and vaccinate you on the spot, but hopefully those of you who cling to junk science, superstition, and ridiculous conspiracy theories will get it through your thick skulls that we are serious about this when you can no longer go out to dinner, shop for groceries, go to a movie, attend church, or watch your child graduate or perform. And we are deadly serious. You have been warned, and this is my last warning I am going to issue.

However, as I said, the pandemic is only the most immediate crisis, and it may be one that ends soon. Another crisis is that of policing. You might think that we aren’t that far from the bicentennial of modern policing in America, which began in 1838 with the establishment of the Boston Police. However, you’d be wrong if you thought that. Policing in America began in 1704 with the first slave patrols, whose job it was to catch slaves who tried to escape to freedom and return them to slavery. For three hundred years law enforcement in this country has been making it its business to make life miserable for the African American community, first by returning them to slavery, second by harassing them if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, last by killing them for the wrong reasons or no reason at all. If a white motorist is pulled over for any reason, his biggest fear is that his insurance is going to go up. If a black motorist is pulled over, his biggest fear is that he is going to lose his life.

At this time, I have directed Attorney General Garland to issue a new, nationwide set of guidelines for policing. Among other things, they will prohibit the use of chokeholds, the pinning of a suspect to the ground, the road pursuit of suspects not suspected of a felony, and the use of certain other techniques deemed dangerous. They will also further restrict the use of force by officers. If you are a police officer, going forward you best think twice before you use force on a young black man, and three times before you discharge your firearm at one. I have also proposed the Floyd-Taylor Act to Congress, which would end the doctrine of qualified immunity, although I’m going to need their help, and I hope I get it. I am also going to be assigning Federal monitors to all 50 state police forces and selected municipal forces to make sure these new guidelines are adhered to. At this point police officers who abuse their authority will be held accountable, the same as anyone else.

The last of the cluster of crises I am going to talk about tonight dovetails with this, and that is the crisis of white supremacy and racism. That is this nation’s fatal flaw, present from the beginning, when Christopher Columbus and his crew of Spaniards landed in Hispaniola and immediately began to enslave the indigenous people and worse. Inside of fifty years Cabot had landed in North America proper, Cortez had conquered Mexico, Pizarro had demanded the greatest ransom in history for Atahualpa and broken his promise to let him go, and Coronado’s horsemen were ranging the Great Plains trying to find El Dorado. Not much more than fifty years after that the English built Jamestown, and the original people of this continent were doomed. Not even fifteen years after that, the first slaves were brought here from Africa, and you know the rest. Or you might think you know the rest, but historian Howard Zinn said that what we exclude, delete, and pass over is just as important as what we include, highlight, and examine. This nation has gotten the history wrong and been wrong ever since.

Oh, the days of institutionalized discrimination are over, and the days you’ll see the Confederate battle flag flying from a public building or a traitor’s statue in the public square are almost over. However, it’s not the stars and bars on a piece of cloth or the bronze traitor rising over the public square that we need to concern ourselves with. It’s the stars and bars you can’t see, in the mind of the racist, and the reverence for the traitor in the white supremacist’s heart you need to worry about. To take further action against this crisis, I am directing the Department of Education to mandate a new nationwide anti-racist curriculum. The next generation will grow up knowing this country’s sins full well and determined not to repeat them. If parents oppose this, I have to wonder if they are racists themselves, and need to be looked at. I have also directed that the Department of Justice aggressively pursue hate crime prosecutions, even if they duplicate state charges. Those who hurt others because of their color will be made examples of, and then maybe those hateful idiots will learn to keep their hate to themselves. I have also directed that the Department of Justice launch probes into certain members of this body who have indicated that this nation might be better off dividing state from state, those with these views from those with others. Make no mistake of this, this administration will treat any such talk as inciting insurrection, and any action in support of it as treason. There is no division or divorce in this nation, that was settled in 1865 at Appomattox, when the traitors stacked arms and furled the flag of racism. That fire is cold out, and if you try to relight it, you are going to prison for the rest of your life.

I will continue to honor our indigenous people’s with a proclamation every second Monday in October while I am in office, but that is all I can do. However, I have also proposed the Federal Holiday Reform Act to Congress. This bill would formally replace the long outdated Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, ensure Juneteenth will always be observed on Juneteenth, and refocus the Thanksgiving holiday as a national day of mourning and apology for what the white race did here. I know some of you in this body who might otherwise vote for it are of Italian descent, and that might give you pause, but you have won your struggle. Your voice matters. It is time to lift up another voice that does not.

I have also put together a task force, to be headed by Vice President Harris, which will put together a framework for just reparations to those harmed in this nation’s history.

I’ve also been talking to the leaders of the business community. Just as you have the right not to patronize the baker who will not bake a wedding cake for a loving same-gender couple, private companies have the right to take their business elsewhere when cities or states or legislators take actions whose net effect is to limit the voting rights of their citizens of color, or to limit a woman’s right to choose, or to empower the police to harass or kill young black men, or to enable the spreading of misinformation or hatred, or to put more dangerous weapons in the hands of dangerous individuals. Going forward this administration is going to take steps to reward those states, cities, other governments, and businesses who act responsibly and punish those who act irresponsibly.

We’re already doing that with the creation of economic assistance only available to those jurisdictions that do away with the death penalty, a cruel and racist relic of a cruel and racist past. The next step is going to be publicly flagging those jurisdictions acting irresponsibly and economically encouraging major league sports, the entertainment industry, large business concerns, banks, and other powerful entities to no longer do business with those jurisdictions until such time as they start acting responsibly. Moving events is only one step we can take. I’m sure Richmond would be happy to host the Panthers and Portland would be glad to have the Dolphins or Texans move there. We can see if the Texas Rangers would welcome a move to somewhat more responsible North Carolina together with a new name. If companies get more assistance to build that new corporate headquarters or call center or delivery hub in New York or California or Massachusetts instead of Alabama or Indiana or Texas, I’m sure they’ll grab it, and I’m completely within my authority to decide which states get Federal money to upgrade their roads, bridges and other infrastructure first, or if they get it at all.

Some presidents end these addresses by saying “God Bless America” or some other patriotic gesture. Instead of doing that, I’d like you all to join me in the following acknowledgement, which will be put on screen for those of you watching from home.

We, the officials of this government, hereby acknowledge that this the land we live, work, and do business on is the original homelands of the Piscataway and Nacotchtank tribal nations. We further acknowledge that this entire nation stands on the lands of the various native tribes, including the Inuit and native Hawaiians. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather.

We further acknowledge that this nation was built on the backs of African-Americans, taken from their homes by force, and sold into slavery. We acknowledge the painful history of racism and we pledge to do better each day going forward. Their cause is our case.

Thank you and good night.

8 thoughts on “Two 2022 State Of The Union Addresses [Corrected]

  1. I’m honored, yet again.

    I know there’s no chance of my suggested address becoming a reality. It was more of an end-of-the-year musing of where we are and if anything could bring us together.

  2. I think it would be wonderful if Biden gave the second speech. Yes, it is horribly divisive but I think Biden finally saying the silent part out loud about the way his party feels about America may finally be enough for every day people to say enough is enough and throw him and his woke followers out of office. My bigger fear about something like that is if Biden tried to fully act on it. If you read liberal news streams, you will see from time to time that there is a concern conservatives could engage in an armed revolt. I think a President trying to act on the ideas expressed in Steve’s speech may just make those concerns a reality.

    • I have the same concern and I’ve said that same thing on numerous occasions. If the Left wants a war, they need to simply keep doing what they are doing while simultaneously denying other side – the well-armed other side – the opportunity for debate or discussion. An armed revolution took place 250 years ago to overthrow similar tyrants…there’s little reason it could not happen again.

      Thankfully, the far-Left agenda has, to this point, been held somewhat in check by debate and discussion…and by a handful of strong-minded legislators. Hopefully those avenues remain open.

      Both SOTU addresses were outstanding! I loved A.M. Golden’s version, but I think Steve-O-in-NJ’s version is what the President’s party really believes and wants.

  3. A nit-picky point…

    Jack wrote, “President Biden’s first State of the Union message is likely to be”

    This won’t be President Biden’s “first” State of the Union message, it will be his second.

  4. Personally I wish the President of the United States of America, regardless of who it is, would stand up at the podium and tell the population the actual truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth instead of the usual twisted blow sunshine up your ass partisan propaganda version of “truth”. These people are supposed to be the chosen leaders of the United States of America, a representation of the moral undercurrent of the nation, cultural icons of a sort that the public identifies as representatives of our cultures idealistic goals and I’m damned sick and tired of being sick and tired because the only thing I hear from Washington DC is twisted bull shit, innuendo and outright lies from all levels of government politicians regardless of their political bias.

    For once, can we just hear the truth; as in, here’s what I said I would do in my Presidency, here were the goals a year ago, here’s what was accomplished in the last year, here’s what wasn’t accomplished in the last year, here’s the goals for this next year, and here’s how we can accomplish the goals. But of course we won’t get that, we’ll get a faux partisan picture painted full of outstanding achievements in the face of unprecedented opposition and innuendo implying that the only morally pure goals are Democratic Party goals all the blame for political goal failures will be placed at the feet of the immoral and therefore evil Republicans. For the 21st century political left, there are four tenants of “truth”; the left is right, the right is wrong, wrong is evil and evil needs to be destroyed, that’s the dead end of the 21st century political left’s critical thinking and that’s what their leadership is projecting to the public. Yup folks, we’ll hear the same old 21st century extreme Democratic Party bull shit rhetoric.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H. L. Mencken

    So in politics, politicians dishing out pure fear to gain/maintain power is fine but when…

    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” H. L. Mencken

    …a normal person tries to dish out fear to the politicians they’re thrown in prison.

    If the political right can’t take back the House and the Senate in November 2022 and begin to walk back our national move towards totalitarianism then I fear that the United States of America and the culture we once knew will be a quaint anecdote of history by November 2024. The political left is intentionally putting our culture in the quaint anecdotes of history specifically for anti-American, anti-Liberty, anti-Constitution totalitarians to demonize. The Liberty we once knew is rapidly becoming a figment of our imagination. Liberty is Dying a Slow Death in the United States of America and we’re heading down some very dark stairs into a totalitarian abyss.

    Is that all too dark for the 3rd day of the New Year?

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