By Pegah Golpira

Analysis of Trump State of the Union address

February 23, 2018

INDIANA - President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Speech was as empty as a dinosaur’s skull. He starts off throwing lies about what he has done in the past year, saying, “We have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success,” which brings up the question: what success exactly? No one knows the answer, because the media is all “fake news”, and the ones that are not “fake news”, don’t have any proof.

For example, he says that, “We enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history” and that “African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.” But for some reason the data and proof either doesn’t exist or says the opposite. He also says that, “we have ended the war on clean coal,” but it’s confusing since “clean coal” does not exist. Maybe he was talking about his own imaginary world.  

On the other hand, I respect his approach to the natural disasters that affected the country in the past year, thanking the heroes who helped each other through it. He finishes the topic by saying, “To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, the Virgin Islands, California, Puerto Rico, and everywhere else -- we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.” Stephen Colbert did not deny a caustic response to that, “I bet the people in Puerto Rico would be happy to hear that when they can turn on their TVs again.”  

The president speaks with a lot of hope and positivity during his speech. It is as if he is leading a movement--oh wait! He is: Making America Great Again. But his definition of greatness is just a little different from the definition that most of America believes. Throughout his speech, he makes it fairly clear that his version of “America” is the America in the late 1700s where everyone used coal and had migrated from Norway.

Throughout history America has been on the front lines of invading and stealing resources from countries around the world to maintain power. It’s crystal clear that Trump wants to keep up this activity.

But he hits everyone by saying, “So to every citizen watching at home tonight -- no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.” At first it sounds like he is for immigrants and diversity, but the hidden truth in his words are: To everyone who was born in America to an American family, which should mostly be Caucasians, no matter from which 50 states you are coming from, you can do anything.  Trump not only shows his love for Caucasian-Americans, but Christians as well.

He also says that, “We are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is ‘in God We Trust.’” But he yet exclaims, “defending our Second Amendment” and “protect religious liberty” into his speech which contradicts his actions and last statements. Maybe for him, the “religious liberty” means that it’s okay if you want to be Protestant and not a Catholic.

President Trump’s two-faced, dissembling character makes it hard to believe or understand his intentions.  As the speech goes on, Trump shifts his focus from what has happened to what he would like to happen. The one statement that I loved the most was his promise that, “I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.” But as proved in the past year, his promises mean something different to him than what we think they mean.

Another hope given by Trump was about drugs and their prices. But he did not offer any plans to achieve fair pricing, because they’re just his hopes and not true goals. He does not truly care.

It gets even more interesting when he speaks of America being “the nation of builders.” And it’s one of the only things I have to agree with him about. Throughout history America has been on the front lines of invading and stealing resources from countries around the world to maintain power. It’s crystal clear that Trump wants to keep up this activity.

His speech also includes one of the most sensitive and arguable topics: Immigration. Trump welcomes and denies immigrants at the same time. It looks like he has reached the conclusion that he cannot deport the Dreamers, but he can stop the future Dreamers. He says that, “The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities,” which proves his love for Caucasian-Americans even more, and leaves no doubt about his hate for foreigners from what he terms “shithole countries.”

President Trump ended the reputation of America being the country of immigrants. And as Trevor Noah beautifully says, “Trump plays the AllLivesMatter card on DACA.”  

Trump also blamed drug abuses, murders, and terrorism on immigrants from the “shithole countries.” And with his plan and four pillars of hardening the immigration process even more, he wants to solve all the problems in America.

I would like to wish the President of The United States luck. Because as “fake news” suggests, the economy of America is dependent on immigrants and only less than one percent of immigrants disobey the laws and commit a crime. But that’s “fake news” because Trump doesn’t agree with it.  

Digging deeper into his Four Pillars of Immigration, they are based on Trump’s negative feelings towards anything supporting immigrants. He mentions a Lottery that, “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people.” It would have been helpful if someone had told Trump that not all Lottery winners get to actually have Green Cards, because their background and skills are carefully checked. And about the chain migration, he shows his hate fully and with no shame.

Trump brought back the other side of America which was relatively hidden for years: racism. The US president has provoked and maybe even inspired racism, and his speech adds to the tensions around it.

Following his immigration plans, Trump brings up the topic of ISIS and how America has tried to defeat them completely by not being allied with Iran for the same goal, and by not letting the Syrian refugees in the United States.  Then he mentions the protests of people in Iran against, in fact, its economy and how he wasn’t silent about it, thinking most Iranians hated the government, which is not the case. It may be confusing about why he would care? It’s simple though. Iran is on the Neocon invasion list. This is his way of “building.” It begins with total destruction and never moves to the building part, since promises are cheap.  One thing that proved to me that he could be daft at least is when he said that, “we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal.” Why? One tenth of the current arsenal could destroy the entire planet. He also stated: “I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.”  What flaws? The deal is working fine. And of course, he doesn’t leave out North Korea. As always the President adds fuel to already burning fires.

What most impressed me about his speech was the diversity of heroes that he had picked out. It was a weird mix. As an immigrant myself, I found his speech funny and disgusting. But looking at the bright side, it’s a good thing that he shows what he thinks about certain groups of people. Yet, it’s undeniable that the empty part of the glass of Trump’s Presidency is deeper than the full part.

Looking at the speech as a whole, he used pathos to generate emotional reactions. This helps keep the audience engaged, but it doesn't help so much if you want them to agree with you. Trump’s comments may be the worst and most pathetically amusing parts of his Presidency and bring something new, or just bizarre, to the table often. You have to wonder who writes such occasional drivel for him. His State of the Union address seemed hopeful to some, but it killed the future hopes and opportunities for many, many others.  

Many are unhappy about Trump in the White House, and I personally believe that he brought back an aspect of America which had been relatively hidden: racism. Trump has provoked and maybe even inspired racism, and his speech adds to the tensions around it. It’s a fact that the roots of racism are deep in this country and racists show themselves horribly at times.

Obviously, America isn't the only country with racism, but it is the only country that has been long known as the land of immigrants, too. America could actually be a role model, but right now it’s little but a disappointment to the world. What remains for now are primarily hopes for a different and better future, in which not only America, but every country, is in a better situation than currently exists. Just like Trump mentioned, “Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment.” But his magical and retrograde thinking, if you can call it “thinking” at all, is no panacea.

Pegah Golpira is a 17-year-old student from Bloomington High School North in Indiana.

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