Ronald Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in her weekly column that “a fracturing nation cannot afford to so blithely cast aside another of its traditions.” She was referring to the State of the Union address — a speech which both President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are simply kicking down the road.
Noonan is completely correct when she emphasizes that the speech has a “high policy purpose” and that it is not a “celebration of the imperial presidency” — a viewpoint many conservatives hold today.
Now that Congress has passed a short-term measure to fund the government without appropriations for the border wall, we turn our heads to this anticipated speech. Speaker Pelosi showed her partisan pettiness when she blocked Trump’s request to speak in the House chamber earlier this week due to the shutdown, but regardless, Trump accepted her unreasonable demands.
Even with the new bill being passed just yesterday, there is no set date for the event as House Democrats are not willing to allow the president to give the speech until the government is fully funded on a long-term basis.
The last few weeks have been chaotic for politics in general, and the last thing we need is to upset tradition in the name of partisan spite.
It’s obvious to many that these actions being taken to stop Trump from speaking is simply a way for the Democrats to save themselves from Trump’s wrath when he will undoubtedly bash them during the State of the Union for not passing funding for the wall.
Yes, Democrats are not the only people to blame on this issue; Republicans had the majority for the first two years of Trump’s presidency, and they did absolutely nothing. Moreover, a Republican majority Senate failed to pass a bill to fund the government with border wall appropriations yesterday — something that angered many conservative citizens.
But Democrats trying to save face is not a justified excuse for disinviting the president from using the House Chamber for the State of the Union. If one’s party is so afraid of being scrutinized and embarrassed on the world scale during one of the most important American events, then perhaps that party is doing something wrong.
Moreover, calling the president’s planned border wall “immoral” simply admits that it works. A measure cannot be immoral if it doesn’t work to begin with. Those who think that the wall is both immoral and doesn’t work are flawed in their beliefs.
What does any of this have to do with the State of the Union?
The president has the opportunity to squash all of the asinine arguments made against basic border security — and this is exactly what the Democrats are scared of.
None of this is about a shutdown; if the Democrats truly cared about the 800,000 federal workers furloughed, House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer would have gathered their fellow Democrats to work on a compromise with this administration.
Instead, they complain about a planned border wall (which is really a fence) and use talking points to attack Republicans until the president caves in — which happened yesterday.
The point is that neither side looks good right now as we are all being dominated by partisan drama and pettiness — actions today that will affect citizens and businesses for a long time to come.
Peggy Noonan’s point should be taken heavily — we need to preserve the State of the Union even in the midst of chaos. It is a good opportunity to show unity, promote policy, and remind us that even in our most difficult times, we remain that shining city on a hill.