Last night’s State of the Union address was disturbing on many levels. Republicans applauded when President Trump touted the elimination of the individual mandate for purchasing health care insurance — so it’s a good thing people have no health insurance? Wait until they go to the emergency room for an appendectomy and leave with a bill for $20,000. Republicans applauded as well when Trump touted the American prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. So it’s a good thing our President is vowing to send more “terrorists” to an offshore U.S. military prison?
I could go on and on, but what was most disturbing to me was the use of people in the audience as props for Trump’s positions. A brave soldier who won the Bronze Star for valor was celebrated to support America’s wars overseas. Parents whose daughters were killed by illegal immigrants were used to support Trump’s policies on immigration. A family whose son suffered grievous, ultimately deadly, wounds in North Korea was used to support Trump’s bellicose policies toward Kim Jong-un and his regime, as was a courageous North Korean defector.
It reminded me of the Don Henley song, “Dirty Laundry” and its lines: Can we film the operation?/Is the head dead yet?/You know the boys in the newsroom got a running bet/get the widow on the set/we need dirty laundry.
The shameless exploitation of other people’s grief is something I can’t stand. It’s sordid and cynical and dirty. There are many other things I could say about Trump’s State of the Union address, but my overall feeling was one of exploitation. After his speech, I felt dirty.