I am on the record as calling the State of the Union, as a concept, “garbage," stating that I strongly objected to it and that I thought we would be better if it were quietly handed to us in writing. Did that mean that I did not watch it? Did I say similar things about “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and then go see it opening night in theaters? Here is approximately what happened, if you were not watching, as I was.
The State of the Union was ... deeply weird. Possibly as a deterrent to ill-wishers, Rick Perry was the Designated Survivor.
Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence sat behind President Trump, who arrived with his red tie slightly askew in a cloud of rumor that he was going to emit a call for bipartisanship — as distinct from what he usually emits: a high, eerie whistle that summons dogs of all sizes from many neighboring counties. A large contingent of female members of Congress (a fun phrase to type!) wore “suffragette white." Tiffany Trump wore the same, for whatever that is worth! (Please, figure that out and tell me! It might be something, but then again, it might also be nothing?) Pelosi also had some papers that appeared to be either a print copy of the president’s speech or just something more interesting to read, which she consulted at intervals, sometimes with an expression of concern.
Anyway, here is — roughly — what the president said:
President Trump: It is the best of times! The union is very strong. It has, perhaps, never been stronger. We have more jobs than the Founding Fathers had people, and we have made great strides with regards to women, who now have jobs and, I am told, mostly sink when placed in water.
[Raucous, pointed applause from the Women in White]
Trump: We are entering a new golden age. First, we won World War II (a great thing to do, and especially at that time!) and then we went to the moon, and I have brought Buzz Aldrin and the moon here with me to say “Thanks.” You’re welcome, moon!
[BUZZ ALDRIN’S TIE, A SENTIENT ENTITY FROM SPACE WHOM THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN KEEPING A SECRET FOR ALL THIS TIME, NODS AND WAVES.]
Trump: We have more gas than ever. There is no death, everyone has six jobs, and the dollar is now made of affordable medicine! I have spent 60 percent of my days in Executive Time and yet I have achieved more than any president, even Ben Franklin!
That is why I am calling for bipartisanship. Specifically, by bipartisanship, I mean: Stop these investigations. There is nothing more partisan than an investigation. Whether or not someone obeyed the laws of the United States is, as we know, a matter of interest only to Democrats.
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!” Remember: If it rhymes, there were no crimes! I would hate for the economy to suffer some sort of an accident. Good. Glad we understand each other.
HOWEVER. The state of the union is also bad. It is — do not be upset, but, also, please be AS UPSET AS YOU CAN — the worst that it has ever been. It is the literal worst of times, and we need to be as afraid as we possibly can. No, more afraid than that. Do you see them, coming for you? They are coming, I promise! Anyway, we need a wall or barrier but definitely a wall and we need it right now, and here are some really alarming unsubstantiated claims about Violent, Lawless Monsters of the sort I have been making for my entire presidency and the preceding campaign, so I don’t know why anyone is surprised, but it’s still depressing to hear.
NAFTA was bad. Also, remember infrastructure? I don’t. I forgot completely. Oh well, we’ll cross that collapsing, dangerous bridge when we come to it.
Let’s cure AIDS and cancer! Speaking of which, abortion. Remember abortion? You should. And just a reminder: I oppose it. Let’s talk about it a lot between now and 2020. No particular reason. And that is why I want to provide for the national defense, and I am pulling us out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. Our embassy is in Jerusalem now!
[Nancy Pelosi flips through papers, confused.]
Trump: I think, on the whole, my foreign policy is going well. Venezuela, Afghanistan, other places. If you have questions about it, ask Sarah Sanders, who will not answer, but will get very upset that you inquired.
(At this point, Trump introduces Judah Samet, a concentration camp survivor and survivor of the Tree of Life synagogue attack. It is his birthday. Haltingly and awkwardly, Congress sings “Happy Birthday” to honor this man. They say the less tuneful, the more heartfelt? I am not making this up. Making things up in 2019 is a thankless task.)
Trump: And now that it is past 10 on the clock, it is a good time for me to observe that we have here representatives from all over this great land, from the rocky shores of Maine and the ocean waters of Florida and the redwood forests of California and the green, green bluegrass of Kentucky and the rugged hills of Wisconsin and the red canyons of Arizona and the Alamos of Texas and the Los Alamos of New Mexico and the Lee Greenwoods of Nevada and the various assorted Trump properties of New York and New Jersey and of course Florida, and other places as well — you thought I was going to say all 50 of them, didn’t you, for a second there?
In conclusion, God bless this great flag, one flag under a nation for which we stand, we the people, in order to form a more perfect liberty and justice for auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind (love our miners!) bless the USA, bless us everyone.
CUT TO: A panel, saying that Trump did, indeed, call for bipartisanship, and, in a surprising and hopeful departure from previous speeches, failed to emit a single piercing shriek that caused all who heard it to fall to the ground in agony but instead a series of small, discrete shrieks.
CUT TO: Stacey Abrams. It is a rule that everyone who delivers a response to the State of the Union must do one Strange, Off-Putting Thing, say, drinking water, or wearing ChapStick, and that after doing this, they will be Cursed from public life, never to return, except to Congress. Stacey Abrams had some out-of-focus people (an out-of-focus group?) just behind her, but apart from this, she broke that curse.
Stacey Abrams: Remember what used to make America great? Remember speeches that not only had optimistic messages, but normal transitions from one subject to another? Remember humanizing anecdotes that sounded as though they were delivered by someone who had experienced even a single warm, decent feeling? Remember language deployed to convey meaning? Now you will! This is the kind of speech that people used to give before Donald Trump, who careens from subject to subject, groundless optimism to baseless (but base-inspiring) terror without a moment’s notice, like a cursed Plinko, who delivers all the usual cliches but in a way that makes you feel vaguely nervous. I am here to suggest that we can do better. Voter suppression is bad! So is racism! Remember when this was what you used to hear from the president? Good night.