Tonight, President Bush delivered his 2006 State of the Union address; I maintained my proud tradition of not watching this address, just as I have not watched every State of the Union address in my 52 years on this earth. My attitude towards State of the Union addresses is the same as my attitude towards award shows (which I also never watch): what I care about is the end result, not the process itself. I can wait until the broadcast is over and read the speech in four minutes or less; why should I spend ten times that long watching someone read it to me (even if that someone is the President)? This is no aspersion towards President Bush--if there were any Presidents whose State of the Union speeches I would watch, Bush and Reagan would top the list... but even they couldn't persuade me to change my viewing habits.
Reading through the text afterwards confirmed my suspicion that, as is the case of most State of the Union speeches, this address was short on specifics and long on generalities. I consider this speech, more than any other, to be an unnecessary formality--particularly now that the White House has a habit of releasing the significant portions of the speech ahead of time. Ultimately, the delivery of the State of the Union address has become as relatively anticlimactic as the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions.
Nevertheless, I was offended by the fact that Lynn Woolsey, a democratic California congressman, saw fit to attempt to disrupt and undermine the ceremonial event by inviting Cindy Sheehan to attend the State of the Union speech in an attempt to gain publicity by creating a disturbance. In doing so, Woolsey demonstrated the sort of of malicious behavior and political nose-thumbing that has created an immense partisan divide in America today. Political divergence is understandable and expected; the diminution of the dignity of the Congress and the Presidency, however, is indicative of a lack of suitable judgment and integrity to be suitable to hold a congressional seat to begin with.