Like every president before him, Donald Trump announced that the “state of the Union is strong.” His Queens accent giving a double count the last word. But this is what the President is expected to say. Could you imagine an American President saying anything else? What if a President dared speak the simple truth that the state of the Union is broken, for that it was.
If politics is pageantry, it’s also essentially the art of division between parties. One party crows, the other party simmers.
That great student of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his classic 1835 work, Democracy in America, opined:
The parties by which the Union is menaced do not rest upon abstract principles, but upon temporal interests. These interests, disseminated in the provinces of so vast an empire, may be said to constitute rival nations rather than parties.
De Tocqueville, was writing these words just a few years before the Union burst into its bloodiest war, the U.S. Civil War. He was feeling and sensing in the air a great discontent, like now.
The discontent, often due to the steering pot of politics by Trump, is palpable. Party versus party, nation versus nation, disunity — the very essence of politics. Trump, his chin jutting into the air, projected the politics of fear of others, mostly of brown people — dark invaders. Let’s be honest, there is no state of the Union. There’s only a state of disunion.
From an imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Mumia’s commentaries appear in collaboration with Prison Radio.
Photo: President Trump delivers the State of the Union address, Jan. 30. Credit: White House/Joyce Boghosian.