After watching the State of the Union on Tuesday, February 5th, I was left feeling the polar opposite of unified. Compared to other SOTU addresses, Donald Trump's address was especially weak. His speech, while not prepared by him, lacked emotion and sincerity which left me in a constant state of eye-roll.
One statement, in particular, caught my ear, "So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything." While this may seem great on the surface, this doesn't mean much to me at all. Today, this statement appeals to a select proportion of Americans: those who aren't immigrants and those who aren't members of the minority.
Following this statement, Trump discusses all of the exaggerated achievements his administration has brought for Americans in a very unorganized manner, jumping from bullet point to bullet point. To me, the State of the Union is meant to be an appeal to the emotions of Americans to unify rather than polarize. What Trump did was unify the right while leaving the other part of America in complete dark.
However, following the State of the Union address came a response by Stacey Abrams, a prominent Democrat in U.S. politics right now. Abrams immediately begins by telling a story to appeal to the heart of America. She tells a story that does not appeal primarily to affluent members of society, but to the average American. She discusses the family values, regardless of party affiliation, that all members of American society can relate to, "faith, service, education, and responsibility."
She doesn't shy away from the actual issues facing Americans. She discusses the government shutdown, the price of higher education, school safety, and economic security. She doesn't pomp up any of her own achievements, but rather discusses the concerns of Americans and gives a genuine call for unity in times of immense polarization. She speaks for the rest of America rather than a select few.
She says, "In this time of division and crisis, we must come together and stand for, and with, one another. America has stumbled time and again on its quest towards justice and equality; but with each generation, we have revisited our fundamental truths, and where we falter, we make amends."
Abrams doesn't want the President to fail, and none of us do. But we need accountability and action. There is absolutely no reason why every claim by our President needs to be fact-checked and disputed, but this is what he has demanded for himself through consistent misleading actions.
To me, Stacey Abrams' response was significantly more powerful than the dry speech delivered by President Donald Trump. She addressed the true concerns of many Americans and appealed to them, to us, with understanding, compassion, and truth.
Please run for president, @StaceyAbrams.