State of the Union – Inside John’s Head

Focus, dammit!

No matter what happens, must not applaud. It’s what we all agreed to. Wouldn’t be a good example for the younger guys if I was up here applauding.

He just talked about our servicemen. What the hell do I do now? Just sit. Wait it out. He’ll be onto something else in a minute.

Well, crap. The Joint Chiefs are up and clapping now. Can’t just sit here. Got to clap now too. Crap.

Okay, he’s back to the economy. Won’t need to worry anymore. Budget this, economic opportunity, that. Doesn’t this guy ever get tired of hearing himself speak? Blah blah blah…

Can’t look bored. Those Goddamn TV C-SPAN cameras always get me when I’m yawning. I’ll look like I’m listening, just to be polite, but can’t look like I’m listening too hard.

Here he goes again, introducing some “regular” American in the gallery.  Going back to school to learn a new-economy trade. Hmmm. Good sounding story. No. Must not react. Wait a second, is that college in my district? Damn. Well, now I have to applaud.

Talking about energy. Natural gas. Oil shale. Renewables. Who gives a shit? Now, no one is listening. Even Chu is glazing over. Christ!

How long’s he been talking? Can’t look at my watch. Goddamn C-SPAN. I look at my watch, and that’s exactly when that Goddamn camera guy is sure to get me. Damn.

More crap. Is he winding up? Please. And here it is…”God bless the United States of America.” Finally.

Now we can get back to pursuing the people’s business. Hahahahahahaha. Little joke there. I say “pursuing the people’s business” when we all go into the caucus room for cocktails after a session. Pretty funny, huh? Hahahahahahaha.

God, I hate this thing.

Paying attention to our state

There was a time, now long ago, when the American people might have listened to the president’s State of the Union message huddled around the family radio. Now, many more Americans will be watching (no longer listening to, of course) basketball’s Toronto Raptors take on the Phoenix Suns.

The State of the Union address, once the president’s primary vehicle for telling Congress and the American people of his take on our country’s current situation and priorities for the future, is now generally considered little more than a pro forma snooze. There are plenty of other communication vehicles available to the president that don’t carry all the ritualistic baggage.

That said, I’ll be watching, and watching carefully, with a group of people who might still appreciate the event for its potential seriousness of purpose. Like voting, paying attention to our elected representatives as they go about their work is an obligation of living in a democracy – which I, for one, still like doing.

If you’re so inclined, and don’t have a bet on any NBA games, you can watch the president’s address here.