Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lucy and the State of the Union

I have taken my first sip of coffee. I have turned on the gas fireplace and settled on the sofa. I begin to read the news from overnight. I hear Lucy jump off the bed upstairs, then the harried, frantic sound she makes bounding down the stairs. In a graceful flash she leaps up to within a foot of my face, presenting me with this...

If she could speak, what is it that she is asking me...for this is assuredly a questioning face. Those eyes can burn holes through you. She is unrelenting in her staring powers. 

1. "Why so glum Dad? How about we go outside and wrestle?"
2. "You feel bad, don't you? You should eat something...how about a sock?"

Instead, I tell her she's a very good girl, then I scratch her belly. Soon, she leaps down and disappears back upstairs, having completed her mission. It's the same thing every single morning. She is dependable, true as the North Star. She simply must check on me and gauge my welfare each morning. Maybe it worries her how serious I become when I read the news. She probably wonders why I do it. She doesn't understand responsibility, she doesn't even know what I do for a living. All she knows is that every morning I look into my iPad screen and turn glum. Lucy doesn't do glum. She's a dog and therefore...glum-free.

This morning I read the President's SOTU speech. Yeah, I know...I could have watched it on TV last night. But, I haven't watched one since Bill Clinton vowed that the "Era of big government is over!" Don't think I've ever recovered from that bold-faced lie. Besides, the optics of the SOTU are infuriating to me, the grandstanding, the phony stagecraft, the blank faces of the Vice-President and the Speaker to either side of the President, the props that Presidents increasingly now bring with them and set in the gallery to illustrate some point. All of it is nauseating in a very bi-partisan way. I much prefer Thomas Jefferson's decision to send the SOTU to Congress in writing, which every President after him did until Woodrow Wilson started all of this anti-republican pagentry.  So, I read the speech. I have no comment on the thing other than the observation that it sounded odd to me that this President would bemoan the lack of civility in our politics one minute and then a minute later suggest that his political opponents are controlled by "hidden forces." So, apparently, for this President civility is defined as agreeing with him. Thanks for clearing that up!

Anyway, this was his last SOTU, and it sounded like it. All of the angst that Americans are feeling is the result of things that happened before he took office, in his telling, and every good thing that has happened over the last seven year, both actual good things and things that perhaps only he thinks are good, are due to his brilliant mind and pure heart. Fair enough. If I were the President and I was giving my last SOTU speech, I would have pitched it the same way. 

Still, had it been up to Lucy, I wouldn't even have read it. I would have been outside wrestling in the mud with her!