Analyzing the true ‘State of the Union’

Joseph Langan

 President Trump said, “This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to live the American Dream.” What he didn’t say was the truth: It’s time to open our eyes to the reality we’ve been too scared to face. The union is in shambles beneath a facade of symbolic progress.

Trump talked about economic growth without mentioning the most anti-consumer decision in decades: the repeal of net neutrality. This repeal tyrannizes the freedom of information. Our internet has been sold to a handful of powerful internet service providers, while services like Google and Facebook continue to manipulate you, the product, collecting and selling your data to the highest bidders.

Climate change was never mentioned, but Trump triumphantly proclaimed: “We have ended the war on energy and the war on clean coal!” Pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement is nothing less than a threat to our planet. It positions America as a rogue state starkly opposed to the broad global consensus. Our dogmatic devotion to fossil fuels hampers the courageous efforts of our allies.

The controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amassed international outcry. Not only does it violate our feigned impartiality in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but legitimizes Israel’s demolitions and military occupation of Palestinian territory. The human rights abuses committed against the Palestinian people have been condemned by the U.N., but Trump whitewashes this conflict, swiping aside decades of oppression and attempts at a peaceful resolution.

The State of the Union was filled with symbolic gestures and superficial platitudes, just like his campaign promises. One of the most dangerous is Trump’s symbolic solution to the opioid crisis. Make no mistake: America is currently in the middle of the deadliest drug crisis, and Ohio is at the center of this epidemic.

Drug overdose is the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The opioid crisis is heavily associated with heroin and morphine, but far more people start using these drugs because they get addicted to over-prescribed prescription painkillers.

Trump’s solution to this healthcare crisis is to “get tougher on drug dealers and drug pushers.” We’ve had half a century of increased police militarization and for-profit prisons filled to the brim — almost half of which are those incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. It doesn’t work, and we’re worse off than we ever have been.

To thunderous applause, Trump declared indefinite continuation of the internationally illegal Guantanamo Bay. The detention center, which has been the subject of much controversy over its 16 year legacy of injustice, is still going strong, despite a majority of its prisoners having never been charged with a crime.

I’ve never seen the president look more elated than when he announced they will continue building our mountainous nuclear missile arsenal. A small fraction of our stockpile could wipe out human civilization several times over, but the president believes we’ll be safer with even more weapons of mass destruction.

Is this our “new American moment”? If so, I’d be embarrassed to brag about it.

Joseph Langan is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]