THE STATE OF OUR UNION IS RUDE
Last night, watching President Biden’s State of the Union Address, I thought often about Tyre Nichols’ parents. When they walked in, I thought about what it took for them to step again into the spotlight as they wrestle with the shroud of grief that at times must feel suffocating. I thought of them when elected representatives behaved like bratty children who should have been sent to their rooms. I wondered if they were wishing they had stayed home.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, decked out in white fur as if going for an enraged Marilyn Monroe look, yelling, “Liar!” to the President of the United States in a setting that has historically been civil and respectful tells you everything you need to know about the state of this country. Another representative screamed, “Bullshit!” There were eruptions of laughter and boos. Ted Cruz did his best ‘I’m an overweight guy with a really grumpy face who’s perfected the eye-roll’ bit, and others smirked and scowled for the cameras.
All the while, a couple who lost their child to some of the most brutal police violence we have ever seen, was sitting above, deserving an environment of civility, decency, and respect. Which they didn’t get. Yes, people stood for them, but that was a moment, not the whole evening. The problem with adults behaving like obnoxious kids is that they do adult damage. And part of the damage here is that it reflects the state of our country, which — if you haven’t already noticed — is becoming more disrespectful and rude every day. This was supposed to be a gathering of adults, an assembly of those who hold the reins of government, who can affect change and hopefully make things better. Instead, it was a mudfest.
I don’t really care that President Biden held his own, came back at them. He shouldn’t have had to. How is anything going to change in this country if people who have been elected to serve can’t even act their age? How are we going to make any inroads toward preventing another death like Tyre Nichols’ with people turning a major event like the State of the Union address into an audition for Lord of the Flies?
Might I suggest that our relationship with other countries goes way beyond whether they fly spy-equipped balloons over our land? It has to do with the fact that we are not presenting ourselves as a nation that warrants respect. A couple who suffered unimaginable loss, who wants their government to do something so that a brutal police killing doesn’t happen to another family had to sit there while hecklers and people drunk on the sound of their own voices behaved abominably.
They deserved more. And so does America.