The State of the Non-Union
By Rod Haxton, editor
(Editor’s note: Fol-lowing is the State of the Union address which we wish President Obama had delivered earlier this week).
* * *
My fellow Americans.
As much as I’d like to talk to you today about the State of the Union, it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that such a condition still exists.
I’m not sure when it disappeared, or where it went, but the idea of a union is hanging by a thread that would even lead Betsy Ross to toss up her hands in exasperation and say, “Forget the flag. Let’s see if we can fix that hole in your socks.”
To have a State of the Union there has to at least be a hint of cooperation - of people willing to work together for the common good. You know, something that resembles a real union.
Sure, one still exists on the map. But where a union should matter most is in the hearts and minds of its people. And, I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that.
Instead, we are a nation deeply divided between red states and blue states.
We have websites where people can’t wait to sign up so they can secede from the United States.
Before I even step out of this House Chamber, a speaker selected by the Republican Party will deliver a response as to why my ideas won’t work. And the Tea Party will follow with their own response to the State of the Union because the Republican response they are anticipating isn’t radical enough.
People can’t wait to disagree.
They’ve written their speeches and outlined their criticism even before they’ve heard what I had to say; even before they’ve had time to sit down and look at what these proposals will cost and what they intend to accomplish.
In other words, they’re against something even before it’s been proposed.
How can one be against an idea they have yet to hear or bothered to understand?
Yet, that’s where we are today as a union.
We are so divided that when a massacre claims the lives of 20 elementary school children and six teachers we can’t even agree that the proliferation of guns is a problem in this nation.
We are so divided that when we come up with a plan to provide health care to some 50 million uninsured Americans, many Republican governors and state legislators refuse to go along with it.
We are so divided that tax increases of any kind on our wealthiest citizens are unthinkable as a means of reducing our federal debt.
We are so divided that we have politicians ready and willing to shutdown our government if they don’t get their way on every tax and spending measure.
We are so divided we can’t agree on what constitutes the disappearing middle class. Is it someone who makes $250,000 a year? $500,000? $1 million?
We are so divided that many people accept it when a presidential candidate declares the answer to Americans without health insurance is the hospital emergency room.
We are so divided that we allow politicians to create barriers which make it more difficult for people to vote by claiming voter fraud when and where it doesn’t exist.
We are so divided that we can’t agree on the possibility of climate change, that renewable energy is a good thing or even the value of rebuilding our infrastructure.
Our government is so divided that we can’t get anything done for fear that the other party might get some credit.
Many of you don’t want government involvement, but without government our auto industry would have been gutted.
Many of you object to government involvement in our financial industry but, right or wrong, some of our largest financial institutions would have collapsed without a massive taxpayer bailout. And while many of you protest the bailout, you are even more determined to prevent any kind of government regulation which can prevent a similar financial crisis from happening again.
Many of you Representatives and Senators are so conflicted that you vote against proposals which you once supported - from immigration to gun control.
We are so divided that we continually work against our own best interests.
And the American people wonder why. I wish I knew.
We can’t continually talk about the importance of the middle class and then repeatedly adopt tax laws which encourage industry to ship jobs outside the nation. We can’t talk about the value of the middle class and then watch as people are buried under a mountain of medical bills.
As I look around this Chamber tonight, the only thing that I believe we can agree on is that more than half of you will never agree with anything I say.
I can accept that. My response to you is, “Come up with a better solution.”
Do something to move this country forward. Do something to help the middle class. Do something that will bring about a revival of American industry and technology. Do something that will make health care and secondary education affordable to families.
In other words, for God’s sake, do something.
Being against everything I say and do isn’t a solution. It won’t make life better for people today or our children tomorrow.
Do something . . . and do it now.
We can no longer tolerate a union divided.
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