Ahead of this year’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, we asked Post readers to finish this sentence: “The state of the union is ____.” We received more than 1,000 responses (including many entries that can’t be printed on a family website). Below is a selection of the replies.
“Disturbing. I fear for our democracy. We have a “leader” who appears to know nothing about our government, or governing. The republic is in chaos; to whom do we turn?” — Leah Cox, Knoxville, Tenn.
“Optimistic. For the first time in recent memory, my friends are acutely attuned to the goings-on of the national government. It took a threat to democracy to get us here — but engaging people in safeguarding the nation is difficult but necessary.” — William Gray, Washington
“Under assault. I lived through the Nixon years. As corrupt and dishonest as that was, it pales in comparison to the threats we face now.” — Janice Baker, Clarkston, Mich.
“Doing great while the Democratic Party reveals its non-representative behavior. They are elected to represent the citizens of America, not those who are visiting. This childish behavior makes America look ridiculous in the eyes of the rest of the world.” — Richard Graveley, Austin
“Divided. We will never all have one single national opinion — nor should we! But our president should be a person who unites us around commonly held American ideals. He has utterly failed to do that, and seems to have no interest in being that kind of leader.” — Neal Sumerlin, Lynchburg, Va.
“Frighteningly unstable. Civil compromise is impossible as the two parties take hard-line sides and the president emotionally reacts, rather than rationally considers how to lead the country. The president also seems to play to the most racially prejudiced and greediest people. Only when kindness and civility is returned to our government will we have a country I will be proud of.” — Mickey Stam, Austin
“Resilient. Our differences are temporary, for upon amalgamating in the fires of debate they form our governance. We’ve all made a pledge to remain indivisible under these principles.” — Sean Bird, Lafayette, Ind.
“Unraveling. Could be good or bad. Unraveling some of the “bloat” from government could be good in the long term. However, unraveling protections for the environment and for the population at large, as well as unraveling civil rights will be bad in the long term. And sending us back to the 1950s by unraveling progress since then makes no sense at all. I guess history will have to judge.” — Karen Stempinski, Spring, Tex.
“Very depressing. As a retired person dependent on both Medicare and Social Security I just don’t feel safe. I don’t feel that the government is on my side.” — Carl Anderson, Tacoma, Wash.
“Diseased. There are so many massive problems we need to be facing: health care, endless foreign wars, wealth inequality, climate change. Instead we’re sliding into corporate oligarchy and corruption. It’s pathetic.” — Elai Fresco, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“Fractured. Start with gerrymandering. End with Trump.” — Nancy Gotthart, Sacramento
“Alarmingly tribal. With echo-chamber ranting and confirmation bias and magical thinking allowing people to make politics and policy matters of belief rather than an exercise in collaborative problem solving, the idea of a social contract is under serious strain.” — Andreas Macke, Bellingham, Wash.
“Falling apart. From the outside perspective of a neighbour, your wonderful country is disintegrating. Government is broken, the administration is dismantling all that is good about America and a proportion of the population has lost its ability to reason.” — Tim Moore, Toronto
“Disheartening. We no longer seem to understand that living in a democracy means that the minority submits to the majority and the majority commits to protecting the minority. As a society, we increasingly behave as if someone wins, someone else must lose. Therefore, each constituency has dug in its heels. And our politicians’ behavior reinforces that belief. They almost to a person play to our worst fears.” — Elizabeth Hobbins, Laurel
“Surviving. In spite of Trump and the Republicans in Congress, we are surviving as a nation just as we did in the Watergate chaos. Our citizens and our federal employees, who are our neighbors, friends and maybe our relatives, are on the job and keeping us served.” — T. Patrick Kelly, Conyers, Ga.
“Covfefe. It was the only appropriate term that would get past the censors.” — Steve Bates, Ashburn