America on the Edge of Its Seat Waiting for State of the Union Address

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Ed Kilgore previews tomorrow’s State of the Union address:

Perhaps it’s just a sign of advancing age, but I’ve grown to dread these events. All these advance hype, whether or not the speech represents any notable departure in presidential intentions or even rhetoric. All the solemn advice offered after the text has surely been put to bed. All the almost-ironic rituals of insincere bipartisanship and phony bonhomie….The president will be subject to vast exercises in armchair psychology as his mood, his energy-level, his “resolve,” are evaluated by way of how he delivers a rehearsed prepared text.

….Personally, I have trouble engaging in such evaluations, being constantly distracted by the idiotic ritual of clapping and not clapping, standing and not standing, and the full range of mime-like facial contortions, to which we will be treated by the Vice President and the Speaker of the House sitting just behind the president.

Ed, Ed, Ed. What kind of attitude is that? You’ve forgotten the now annual ritual of seating some inspirational yet normal Americans somewhere near the First Lady, which gives the president a chance to tell an inspirational story that will connect with Joe and Jane Sixpack. This year’s “Skutniks” include “the NBA’s first openly gay player, a hero from the Boston Bombing (and the man he helped save), the Moore, Okla., fire chief who led the search for survivors after a devastating tornado, and others.” The others apparently include the youngest ever intern at Intel and DC’s teacher of the year. And Rep. Linda Sanchez has invited a fast food worker who makes the minimum wage. But that’s just the first round! Stay tuned for further announcements.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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