By Haley Doss, Opinion Editor —
If you have been hiding in a bunker or are on a Donald Trump hiatus, as I know many are, you may have missed the State of the Union address last Tuesday.
Topics ranged from bipartisanship, unemployment and taxes to immigration, drug and gang violence to Guantanamo Bay (which he is keeping by the way).
In my opinion, you did not miss much, just some extreme American Exceptionalism and fear appeals. However, I will say it was one of Trump’s most articulated speeches. In other words, the president stuck to the script that was written for him and he seemed to please his fellow Republicans.
He was reaching to make those ‘bipartisan’ compromises which were not really compromises at all. It felt as though he was missing the point entirely, trying to make compromises with Democrats without actually listening to their side of things. I know the two parties have two entirely different ways of thinking but it’s like trying to explain your frustrations with racism to your racist Uncle, its damn near impossible.
One area where this is evidently clear was when Trump discussed the new immigration policy by pushing Congress to take up his immigration compromise and stating, “My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers, too,” which really misses the point of the Dreamers movement. Frustrating isn’t it?
As stated above, I found the entire discourse of the address held two parts: American Exceptionalism and emotional appeals. Whether it was spending over 80% of the speech speaking about all the things he has accomplished and never address that America’s wrongdoings or spouting statistics of American accomplishment (which most of the time were wrong), it seemed that Trump’s take away from his first year in office were that he and America are the best things that have ever happened to Earth and they should always be applauded.
The emotional appeals were important to bring up as well. He had members of the police force, firefighters, small business owners and more stand to show success stories of hardworking Americans. Fear appeals were used to show gang and drug violence from immigrants by making two families stand that lost their sixteen-year-old daughters to this violence. And while I do not, for one second, discount these Americans and their stories, it seemed that I was watching a staged show of Nationalism and fear messaging.
As much as I am proud to be an American and love my country, it does not mean we always do everything right or that the fear appeals presented in the address actually hold extreme power over our people. I am a firm believer that fear appeals are what drive hate and discrimination and our president was crossing the line.