He Shall, From Time to Time…
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America proclaims, “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;”
Since the beginning of the State of The Union’s spoken history, when Woodrow Wilson asked for Congress’ indulgence if he “venture to depart in some degree from the usual custom” of submitting a written report, the speech has been used to inspire a Nation and its leaders. Just a year later, during the beginning of World War I, President Wilson spoke of challenges to come:
“Face them without partisan feeling, like men who have forgotten everything but a common duty and the fact that we are representatives of a great people whose thought is not of us but of what America owes to herself and to all mankind in such circumstances as these upon which we look amazed and anxious.”
Tonight, for the third time, President Barack Obama will address the Nation, along with both branches of government, and honored guests. In 2009, he promised that America’s best days were ahead. In 2010, he declared that the “worst of the storm” had passed. Now, in 2011, he addresses a country still suffering from a recovering economy, and a chamber that echos irrational and inflammatory political rhetoric that has been shaken still by recent tragic events. Luckily, this President has some experience in lifting people up, and spreading a message of hope.
Like this month’s reading of the Constitution in the House, the State of the Union Address is one of those rare moments of American democracy still left. Let’s not let partisan politics and cable news ruin it.