Tuesday, January 30, 2018


I've never missed a State Of The Union address since I was a boy. My father, a seventh-grade-drop out born at the end of the 1800s (still amazes me) was a ward heeler in the Essex County, New Jersey, Democratic Party "machine"—as they called it even in those days. His parents were Irish immigrants who came over when they were teens, separately (they met and married here) to meet up with siblings that had made the crossing previously. What was then—and up until what seems like only days ago—known as "family migration" until the rightwing Republican language controllers came up with "chain-migration" to discredit that tradition...

My father would listen to The State of the Union addresses from FDR and then Truman on the radio, and later Ike on TV, and as his youngest I would happily sit through them to be with him, while he'd point out the subtext to every line. He was street smart and people smart and almost always right (which I could not accept once I hit my teens). It became a ritual that I clung to as a boy (as I did watching the Friday night fights with him and election night news). And as a man I've never missed one, and probably won't tonight, even though it is more clear than ever that we don't need any speech to tell us what the state of the union is. That, unfortunately, couldn't be more obvious.

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