President Trump’s State of the Union Address Emphasizes Unity

Are you better off today than you were one year ago?

In the recent past when that question was asked, I believe most people probably replied, “no.” But one year into the post-Obama era, I think more and more people would say “yes.”

The stock market continues to climb. The unemployment rate is dropping. Jobs are coming back to the U.S. from abroad. ISIS has been significantly weakened. Tax reform finally happened. Progress is being made on campaign promises.

Don’t get me wrong. We have a long way to go. Government is still far too big. Our electrical grid is vulnerable. Our enemies are making progress in their nuclear ambitions.

But it seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

American Heroes in the Spotlight

President Trump’s recent State of the Union address is what got me thinking along these lines.

He spent a good portion of his speech letting U.S. citizens know how things have changed for the better during his first year in office.

And he made it personal by shining the spotlight on a number of folks in the audience who are contributing so much to society.

Such as the police officer who adopted the child of a heroin-addicted mother. An Army Staff sergeant who earned the Bronze Star while fighting in Syria. A North Korean defector who helps rescue other defectors.

Compromise and Commitment Are the Keys

But what really stood out to me in the address was Trump’s call for unity.

Republicans have a man in the Oval Office. They have a majority in the Senate. And they have a majority in the House of Representatives. But the best form of progress comes when the two main political parties work together to accomplish great things.

That can be very challenging. It requires sacrifice, compromise and commitment. But it can be done, and the president made it clear that’s his goal for the future.

Among his remarks on this subject were, “Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve.”

Trump Hones in on Immigration Reform

In particular, Trump called on Democrats and Republicans to join together to overhaul immigration policies and rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

He called his compromise on immigration “down the middle.” Trump said it was a compromise in which “nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.”

Trump mentioned his proposal to grant legal status to “Dreamers” – young people who were brought into the U.S. illegally – including a path to citizenship.

In exchange, however, he wants increased enforcement of immigration laws and the building of a wall on the Mexican border.

“Our Union Is Strong Because Our People Are Strong”

In addition to his words of unification, Trump praised Americans for their strength.

He alluded to the many natural disasters we faced in 2017, including hurricanes and wildfires. He said, “Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, so daring, or determined as Americans.

“If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there’s a frontier, we cross it. If there’s a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.

“So let’s begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our union is strong because our people are strong. And together, we are building a safe, strong and proud America.”

Standing Up to North Korea

During his State of the Union address, Trump also called for an increase in military spending.

And he reminded Americans of the threat being posed by Kim Jong-Un and North Korea.

“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland,” Trump said. “We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

“Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this very dangerous position.”

Take a Stand, Not a Knee

Although he did not specifically refer to football players who kneel during the National Anthem, Trump emphasized the importance of patriotism.

He pointed out a 12-year-old boy in the crowd, Preston Sharp, who started a campaign to place flags on veterans’ graves.

Back in 2015, Preston noticed that a number of veterans’ graves were not marked by American flags. Since then, he has placed some 40,000 flags at gravesides.

Trump said, “Preston’s reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance and why we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. A vast majority of people at the game will stand for the Anthem. Some players will probably kneel. Some of us may cringe when we see that. But the truth is, our fallen veterans bled and died to give people the right to do either.

To the Future…

Will you be better off one year from now than you are today?

Only time will tell. But unified Americans have the ability to make it happen.

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