PREFACE: For those reading this article, Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, requires the President of the United States to “periodically give to Congress, information of the State of the Union, and to recommend to Congress, consideration of such measures as he [the President] shall judge necessary and expedient.”
In the days prior to the Mr. Donald J. Trump’s first State of the Union (SOTU) address as president, I have heard and read comments from a number of people – both on and off social media, expressing their intent not to watch its broadcast on TV and on the internet nor listen to it on the radio. I’ve also seen a few social media political pages which outright called for followers of their page to boycott the SOTU by not watching or listening to it. The reasons for such a boycott just seemed silly to me…at least much too silly for me to repeat any of them in this blog article.
Here’s the thing: People are free to [legally] do whatever they want, including refusing to watch and/or listen to Mr. Trump’s (or to any U.S. president’s) SOTU address. Fine. However, I refuse to partake in such willful ignorance. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, refusing to watch/listen to any SOTU and/or to any address delivered by a U.S. president to both houses of Congress is sheer willful ignorance. People need to realize that the SOTU is not like going to or boycotting a political campaign speech by some political hopeful. The State of the Union (SOTU) is the constitutionally-mandated report to Congress – to our elected legislative representatives. No American citizen ever has to believe nor support a word of it.
You see, I see absolutely no point in not watching or in “boycotting” the SOTU – regardless of how I or anyone else feels about the person [holding the office of President] delivering that constitutionally-required important address to the full body of Congress and to the American people. Furthermore, I feel that people who choose not to listen to/boycott the SOTU address, yet at the same time, consider themselves to be so-called “woke” and politically aware of the political happenings in American government, are shortchanging themselves; possibly even setting themselves up to be judged and/or thought of as hypocritical in their so-called expressions of “woke-ness” and political awareness. [Yes, I said it!]
Still, I’m nothing if not fair. And so, I acknowledge the possibility (albeit very unlikely) that perhaps I’ve missed something in the reasoning and supposed logic some people have to boycott the SOTU. I’d be quite interested in learning what one hoped to have gained by refusing to watch/listen to Mr. Trump deliver the SOTU to Congress. To be clear, I am no fan of Mr. Donald. J. Trump. I never have been. I am no fan of Mr. Trump’s administration. And so far, Mr. Trump has not put into effect any policy which I can support. Still, I felt it was important that I watch and listen to the SOTU – just as I’ve done to many of the SOTUs delivered by Mr. Trump’s predecessors over the years.
Regardless of my feelings about Mr. Trump (and I have many which are negative), I consider watching and listening carefully to Mr. Trump address my nation’s elected legislative representatives as both an intelligent and educational benefit to my mind and to my state of political awareness. Watching and listening to the SOTU doesn’t necessarily mean that I will believe and/or support any part or all of the content of that particular address nor does it mean or imply that I support the president and/or his agenda in any way, shape, or form. It simply doesn’t.
Given the opportunity and the means, I feel every abled-bodied citizen of a free republic should always carefully watch, listen, and learn what their nation’s leader is doing, the accomplishments that leader claims to have made while in office, what that leader wants and/or plans to do while in office, and to at least consider whether to hear and/or read an accounting of such when that leader gives any mandated and official report to the elected representatives of the people of that nation. It’s important!
Thus, when the President of the United States – no matter who that person is, addresses the full legislative body of Congress – and that address is able to be broadcasted on all forms of electronic and non-electronic media, I feel every able-bodied American citizen has a certain responsibility to try to watch and listen to what that president has to say. Furthermore, I feel that each citizen who watches that important national address should also take note of various reactions made by members of Congress in attendance [at the SOTU] regarding each point made by the president – as well as to the comments made by those attending members of Congress at the completion of the president’s address.
In short, refusing to watch or deciding to boycott the SOTU address is, in a word, silly. Except for perhaps losing an hour or two out of one’s evening, I doubt that there’s anything else anyone can lose simply by watching and/or listening to the address or reading it in print later. If nothing else, there are certainly a few things one can learn.
– RobFather X