Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i hate those things

another year, another state of the union.

which means it's time for me to mention that i don't like state of the union speeches. or maybe i can just point to all my prior posts about SOTU speeches in which i say, each and every time, that i don't like SOTU speeches.

did i mention that i didn't like SOTU speeches?

like most years, i didn't bother to sit through this one. and like always, i read the text of the speech the morning after. but now i'm feeling like i'm even getting diminished returns from that. what sort of misguided sense of civic responsibility makes me slog my way through those boring things each year? if i keep talking about how much i don't like them, why do i keep reading them?

the mantra i keep hearing this year is: "at least this is bush's last state of the union address." but while my dislike for the president certainly makes his SOTU speeches worse, i didn't like clinton's, bush one's, or reagan's either. no matter who does it, they're just the kind of empty political theater, full of pomp and ceremony, that i can't stand.

really what i'm thankful for is not just that this was bush's last, but that next year i will get the year off. at least i think i will. the tradition is that there's no SOTU in years when there's a new president, right? i mean, what would be the point? it falls just a week or so after inauguration. the new president really doesn't have anything to report. and the inaugural speech stands in for the state of the union speech in any case. but maybe i'm wrong. maybe there will be an even more senseless speech next year. i can't wait.

and to be fair, i think the opposition parties' response is just as stupid, if not stupider. while it lacks all the fluff and ceremony of the president's speech, it also seems a little pathetic. the president gets a high profile event and so the opposition has to wave its arms in front of the camera saying "look at me! look at me!"

from 1801 to 1912, the constitutionally required report of the president concerning the state of the union was in the form of a letter and was read by a clerk in congress. they changed it in 1913, and it's all gone downhill from there.

fucking woodrow wilson.