Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why the State of the Union matters

No, the speech won't change much. But Matt Glassman reminds us of some reasons why it's important to watch anyway. I liked this one:
The State of the Union address... portrays a more basic and correct understanding of the foundations of our republic. The executive is invited to come to Congress by the leadership of the legislature, at a time satisfactory to them. If he accepts, he leaves his residence and comes to the institutional heart of the republic, the chamber of the House of Representatives. He then waits at the door of the chamber until he is introduced by the agents of the legislature, who then lead him down the aisle, where he is received by the elected Representatives of the people and the States. He passes by the Justices of the Court, members of his government, and finally he ascends onto the House dais, where he is again introduced and received by the legislature. 
He then begins to talk. What he says may or may not matter, but the way in which he says it sure does. He does not tell the legislature what he is going to do in the following year, for there is very little he can do. He tells the legislature what he believes needs to be done, and then he asks the legislature to do it. In the endless string of presidential debates it can often feel like the President has the ability to wave his hand and enact a policy. But the State of the Union Address reminds everyone that the President of the United States can no more make a law than he can walk on water; never is it more evident how our system of government works. The President comes and visits the Representatives of the people, and he pleads with them to do what he thinks is right for the country.
Anyway, I'll likely be Tweeting the whole thing obnoxiously and enjoying the patriotic spectacle. Enjoy!

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