State of the Union Address 2018

Ingrid Zhang , Staff Writer

On the evening of Tuesday, January 30th, exactly one year since his inauguration to the White House, President Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address. Timing as the third longest SCU in fifty years, President Trump delineated in his speech why “now is the greatest time to live the American Dream” with a heavy emphasis on his economic reforms. Crediting his significant tax cut efforts, he boasted of record-setting stock market values that supposedly benefit middle-class citizens as well as small business owners. President Trump also highlighted his contributions to minority communities, declaring that unemployment rates are not only at a 45 year low but the lowest on record ever for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. He also proposed paid family leave, a policy long sought by working-class Americans. On foreign policies, the president mentioned several times of nuclear weapon control in other countries and modernizing the nuclear weapons the U.S. currently has.

Following his speech, many media platforms identified faults in President Trump’s claims. A number of the statistics he provided were simply untrue according to government agency statistics. For example, although President Trump claimed that 2.4 million jobs have been created in the past year, the number, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, actually encompasses the number of jobs from his days as a candidate in the presidential election. President Trump was also under fire for completely neglecting to address Russian association with his administration. Speculations have aroused regarding possible collusion between the President Trump administration and the Russian government after it was confirmed that Russia hacked election campaign information from President Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton. President Trump also at no point mentioned the recent uprising of the massive MeToo movement, for which many female lawmakers dressed in black for at the speech. In the past month, a number of women spoke out about their personal accounts of the president’s sexual misconduct towards them.

Fellow politicians followed up on the President’s speech heatedly in the Democrats’ rebuttal as well. Joe Kennedy and Bernie Sanders spoke strongly in response to President Trump’s claims of achievement. Both criticized President Trump’s lack of effort to provide support for the working class, who make up the vast majority of the American population, as opposed to the billionaire business owners. They challenged that the president’s reforms were not for the true interests of the American people, and do not align with the creed of unity for which America was established upon.

Reaching out to Dublin High students, many were oblivious to current updates on politics, such as events like the State of the Union Address. “I didn’t watch it because I didn’t know what it was about and assumed it wouldn’t affect me. I really should be more involved in politics,” Joey Hung, a senior, voiced the opinion of many students. “I believe high schoolers don’t watch politics not because they don’t want to or don’t have time for it, but because they’re frustrated with the decisions President Trump is making,” Alex Ovchiyev, a sophomore, explained. “I didn’t watch the speech, but I’ve read articles [about it], and some of them are ridiculous! A perfect example would be [denying] transgenders to join the military because it would supposedly distract other military members.”

Burdening for some, long-awaited for others, President Trump’s next year of presidency is looking to be even more high-strung and excitable than before for more changes.