Donald Trump must have laid off the Diet Coke before last night’s State of the Union address because his speech was slow and tempered. He barely sniffed, and maybe only endured a bit of dry mouth beyond those teeth, which were as white as Mike Pence. His alternative facts were strategically planted, as beautifully dirty as the clean coal he boasted about. He lied. A lot. Though it’s doubtful he even knew what he was talking about. Trump lied so much that PolitiFact’s website crashed about mid-way through the speech because they were working so hard. PolitiFact is all of us. I found myself crashing, too.
PolitiFact revived itself about five minutes later. They reported that “several of his points were factually flawed” and his tax cut claims were “mostly false” or “false.” Some of his statements were even “pants on fire” lies.
This is no surprise to us, of course. He lies so much that a real life lie detector, Bella DePaulo, wrote about her findings in the Chicago Tribune. DePaulo noted that the average person lies about 1.65 times a day, but Trump tells about six tall tales in a 24-hour time period. He’d see it as excelling, of course, because he’s a stable genius. What’s worse is that these aren’t tiny fibs -- about 50 percent of Trump’s lies have been hurtful or disparaging. When they go low … Trump goes lower.
Still, his lies all sounded like forgettable elevator music, embedded in his calm demeanor. If you weren’t in a trance, there were notable interruptions like when Paul Ryan seemed to point to the big guy upstairs when Trump talked about being one nation under God. When the camera panned to the words “In God We Trust” above his head, I thought, Same difference.
Trump slipped in terrible digs at those who take a knee for the National Anthem and Dreamers saying, “that’s why we proudly standing for the National Anthem” and “Americans are dreamers, too.” He highlighted violent gang activity to underscore his desire to build a wall. Does anyone else find it fascinating how he thinks a wall is the solution to stop people from murdering?
There was also a lot of clapping, by Trump for Trump. He was probably just so darn pleased with himself for forming proper sentences after 9 p.m. He tried to make everything seem like it’s just fine, America is great, and that he has a plan though we don’t know what that plan is. He doesn’t really know either. Most of the things he said he was going to do, won’t happen -- his Republican comrades won’t let it.
Aside from the clapping, he didn’t seem too deranged, perhaps a little smug, his fingers busy touching pointer to thumb for effect, though thankfully those hands were away from Twitter for the hour. His base loved his meaningless drivel -- Fox News salivated and hearts swelled. The truth is that Trump’s State of the Union didn’t matter. It was a TV show. The big guy got out of his golf clothes for an hour so he could read something someone else wrote without much added personal flair. A feat of sorts.
We all know what the state of the union really is. We just have to look at the mothers of the world to know what kind of mess we are in. Most of us are terrified for our kids. Even Melania Trump looked pissed last night.
Mom of two, Christie Heltzell, said, “Xenophobia, sexism, bigotry, lying, and martyr complexes are now put on a pedestal and lauded. Meanwhile freedom from religion, LGBTQ+ rights, common decency, the environment, science, compassion, and ethics are being dismantled and painted as worthless, weak traits. The division of everyday people as a tactic to get them to be fixated on hating each other, while our planet and economy are destroyed and our pockets are robbed, is horrifying.”
“We are in a state of flux ... a state of intense danger for our union, of struggle, resistance, and hyper-arousal,” Stana Weisburd, mom of one said. "I hope we can stop the damage being done by this administration soon. I will work for that. We must envision the world we want to live in and take steps to bring it to fruition. We must self-reflect, listen and honor each other, the earth and all living beings. So though I am afraid, angry, and freaked out, I am also hopeful. I have to be.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, mother of five, grandmother of eight, said, Trump “stooped to a new low” and called his speech “dangerous” when it could have been a call for unity. "It instilled fear," Pelosi said. "What he is doing brings tears to the eyes of the Statue of Liberty, and instills fear in the hearts of the people who are concerned about our Dreamers."
We are all fearful in so many different ways. We may all have moments when we feel like crashing, totally shutting down. But we can’t. Because despite what Trump’s hands do, this state we’re in is nothing to clap about.