As you may know, tonight is the annual State of the Union address in Washington (9pm EST). It is the one time out of the year when the president addresses the entire Congress, as well as (usually) the Supreme Court and other high-ranking officials in person. It is also watched nationally by between 30 and 70 million people, depending on the year and current events. Yet every year, people complain about it- “It’s too long!”, “The constant applause is ridiculous”, “It cuts into my weekly dose of The Mentalist!”.
Do these people ever stop to recognize just how insane it is that we bitch about our president addressing the country for one hour out of the YEAR. In America, our president addressing the nation while everyone in attendance gives him a standing ovation is called the “State of the Union”. In North Korea, it’s called “television”.
And yes, I’ll give it to you that the constant applause is overdone. It comes off as a bit disingenuous when the president makes a point about the capital gains tax and the audience reacts they’re at a Springsteen concert and just heard the first couple notes of Thunder Road. But keep in mind, Obama has spent the last 364 days being called a socialist, a Nazi, a secret Muslim and a grandparent-killer. The guy deserves a Coke and a smile one day out of the year for christ sake.
Not to mention, the President has to worry about hecklers who could undermine the entire event. Republican Senator Joe Wilson, who notoriously shouted “You lie!” during Obama’s congressional address 18 months ago. C’mon Joe, it’s not open mic night at Applebees, keep your mouth shut. And everyone knows that the only thing you’re allowed to yell out when someone has a microphone is “PLAY FREEBIRD!”. In 2005, Democrats booed and heckled Bush like he was Michael Richards doing stand-up at the Apollo. They booed the President during the most important speech of the year, and barely anyone even remembers five years later! Yet somehow, Eagles fans boo Santa Claus and everyone hates them forever.
So tomorrow, when someone at work invariably complains about the speech cutting into their Tuesday night lineup. I want you to use the remainder of the day to applaud everything they do. Give them your undivided attention all day, cheer on the great effort they’re putting into their Excel spreadsheets, and tell them how lucky you all are to work for the greatest company in the world. Then, spend the rest of the year calling them a Nazi, telling them they’re driving the company into the ground and that their spreadsheets look like shit and demanding to see their birth certificate. Then let’s see who complains about missing Glee because the President was talking.