I pushed my internet speed to the max last night. I streamed the President’s State of the Union Address on my TV, while watching the State of Our Union on my laptop. I heard the President tell us how great we’re doing and how great we’ll become. At the same time, I heard from women in the workforce facing harassment and low wages. It was a literal version of a tale of two Americas. It was a tale of two perspectives and there I sat trying to find the truth that lies between them.
And today the pundits and TV and radio hosts are busy analyzing and debating the statements in the President’s speech. The President said several false things in his speech – ie. the recent tax cuts are not the biggest in American history, indicated we are just now becoming a world leader in energy exports, and the visa program allows mass migration of extended families … the list goes on.
These statements are refutable with hard facts and yet I know people are buying them hook, line and sinker, with those of us knowing and believing the truth feeling the same way we did before the speech.
On top of that, I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the audiences of the State of the Union and the State of Our Union, and Representative Joe Kennedy’s Democratic response. In the later two I saw more people of color, women and diversity in age. Inside the Capitol Building I saw representations of the white-washed leadership we’ve had in this country since its inception. It’s important to note that some women and people of color serving our country as leaders opted out of the President’s speech. But whether they received an invitation or not, people who are part of the fabric of this country felt unwelcome. Some of us at home felt our own disconnect as we were watching the long standing tradition of our country .
So where do we go from here?
I watched posts from many friends and associates last night who said there was no way they were watching the President’s address. Respectfully I share, this disturbs me. Averting our eyes or sticking our heads in the sand isn’t going to advance change in 2018. It’s important to understand the policies being proposed and the way messages are being communicated. Converting our handling of a leader we don’t agree with to the way some characters in Harry Potter handle Voldermort isn’t going to overcome this challenge.
Today we invite you to listen in and participate in our Blogtalk Show: The State of Us . My colleague Naomi Randolph and I will be discussing the State of the Union and the ideas presented in the State of Our Union at the National Press Club. So if you chose to take a pass on the address last night, at least join us. Let’s talk about it. Let’s work together to advance change. As one one of the women leaders said last night at the NPC, “we don’t want to bring our lawn chair to the party, we want to bring a whole table.”