The partisan divide of American politics was on stark display at President Trump’s third annual State of the Union address. Amid his impeachment trial, Trump’s speech was a theatrical performance with entertaining surprises to entice at-home viewers. Yet, despite Trump’s attempt to spread re-election themes throughout the country, seemingly all that America could remember the next morning was democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
After methodically tearing up her copy of the speech at the conclusion of Trump’s show, it seemed as though Pelosi acted irrationally out of impulse and anger — but her motives were clear. She ripped Trump’s airtime out from under him, as media outlets focused on her divisive display almost as much as the actual content of Trump’s speech. After Trump blatantly denied her handshake attempt at the start of the evening, Pelosi needed to make a stand in any way possible: even if it meant going viral.
She drew attention to the uneasy climate of contemporary American politics, as the tension between parties was on stark display. With election season upon us, Pelosi refused to silence the Democratic Party and allow Trump to dominate the media cycle. She was met with both praise and criticism alike, applauded for her strength and degraded for disrespect. Conservatives chose to ignore the blatant factual inconsistencies in Trump’s speech and rather focused on Pelosi’s harmless display of resistance. Fox News political commentator Sean Hannity criticized Pelosi for “one of the most classless” acts in Congress, seemingly blind to the political rally that Trump put on for a lagging 78 minutes. It seems that snubbing handshakes and chanting “four more years” should be the level of classiness that House Republicans want democrats to reach.
The purpose of a State of the Union was incredibly unclear after Trump’s speech, with his level of theatrics and showmanship surpassing the intentions of giving this address. The Constitution created this responsibility for the President to inform Congress of America’s current state and what is needed to obtain future success; surely not for a spectacle in hopes of gaining re-election popularity. After this event, it is clear that America is actually in a state of disunion.