President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was a smart and dynamic speech in many ways. Not only did the president highlight the economic and political achievements of his administration, but he delivered a patriotic message that only made his opposition’s response seem all the more divisive and petty. This was punctuated by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi having ripped up a copy of Trump’s speech as soon as he finished.
Trump’s address was mostly dedicated to the theme of American greatness. Having dubbed his tenure the “Great American Comeback,” Trump highlighted the stories of the various special guests invited to view the speech. From a fourth grader set to receive a scholarship thanks to school choice programs to acting President of Venezuela Juan Guaidó, to military families and victims of the sanctuary city policy, the president covered every facet of patriotism, sacrifice and American exceptionalism during his speech. His message was articulate, and he made a good case that our country is more prosperous than ever before.
However, one point that has been especially contentious is Trump's decision to award conservative talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the address. In my opinion, there is no problem with Limbaugh receiving the award. He revolutionized the radio world, practically brought AM radio back from the dead and has raised substantial sums for charity. While some people make disingenuous arguments suggesting that this places Limbaugh at the same historical rank as Rosa Parks or Mother Teresa, they conveniently forget that people like left-wing actor Robert DeNiro, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels and even Bill Cosby have received this award. To suggest that the Presidential Medal of Freedom is completely apolitical and is only limited to heroes and uncontroversial figures is untrue. Sure, he’s said some controversial and politically incorrect things, but Rush Limbaugh’s impact on his listeners and throughout the worlds of radio and politics are substantial enough to warrant his inclusion. And since Limbaugh has unfortunately been diagnosed with lung cancer, now is the best time for him to receive the medal.
Finally, I’d like to bring up the part of the State of the Union that seems to have generated the most press. And, ironically, it wasn’t even a part of the speech itself. Pelosi’s decision to rip up her copy of Trump’s address was clearly a political move, and probably not even a good one. This is because what the American people heard from the president on Tuesday was a patriotic speech devoted to the achievements of our country. Yes, Trump’s speech had some political moments, but every State of the Union address does. For the most part, though, he stuck to the message of the greatness of the United States and the ability of our country to reach new heights. This is why Pelosi’s message will likely not go over well with the public at-large. Pelosi will probably receive some positive attention from her fans on Twitter and among certain left-wing circles. However, the average person will see her response as a desperate cry for attention delivered at the expense of our country’s heroes. By trying to brand Trump as petty, Pelosi seemed far more petty herself. If the Democratic Party hopes to win the election later this year, they need to stop playing these political games because they’re only helping the president.