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My State of the Union Address

The speech you’ll never hear a politician give.

Satin flag with emblem, the presidential seal

My fellow Americans, I’m addressing you tonight, as prescribed by Article 2 Section 3 of our Constitution, which states that “He (meaning the President of the United States) shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

In the past, this requirement has been fulfilled in a number of ways, most recently by the President addressing a joint session of Congress, but originally through a written report to Congress.

Tonight, we break from tradition, and I am speaking to you not from the House chambers, but the Oval Office. Speaker Pelosi has declined to allow the use of the House chambers for the address this year, based on the government shutdown. As an act of good will, I considered respecting her wishes, and waiting for Congress to do their job and reopen the government, before addressing you. But in the end, my obligation is not to Speaker Pelosi, and not to Congress; it is to you, the American citizens, and that obligation is to do the job I was elected to do, as best as I can.

And that means complying with my duty under the Constitution to present to Congress the State of the Union.

I’ll be blunt; the state of our Union is broken. Badly.

Washington DC is in disarray. We are rudderless, aimless, inconstant, and unsettled. Partisanship has taken the place of statesmanship, and too many of us elected to represent our constituents back home instead most of our time and effort representing our true constituency, the DC lobbyists and special interest groups that fund our campaigns.

Congress has ceded great chunks of their power to un-elected bureaucracies, resulting in an ever expanding burden of regulation on our citizens that cannot be met, resulting in a tremendous drag on our economy. Worse, too many of us put Party ahead of country, working to increase party power at any expense.

The current shutdown is a prime example of that.

The problems are also outside of government. For example, in just the past two weeks, we’ve seen egregious examples of a media acting in concert to advance an agenda, rather than report the facts. An unsourced Buzzfeed story made false claims that were rapidly spread by major news outlets, so much so that Robert Mueller, who is not one of my supporters, had to take the astounding step of publicly denying the truth of the story. And an edited video of a confrontation between school children and protesters was used to smear and defame the children, so much so that they and their school received threats of violence, including death threats.

Death threats!

For children!

When I call CNN and other networks “Fake News,” this is exactly what I’m talking about. The manufacturing of stories designed to advance a political agenda. It’s no longer deniable, and it is a disgusting perversion of the role the press is supposed to play.

The worst part is that this sickness in Washington is infecting the people. Civil discourse is vanishing, replaced by screaming, disregard, disrespect, and contempt. The days when we could disagree with one another yet still understand one another are quickly vanishing and that is a terrible thing because that ability to understand and accept our differences is what makes us an exceptional nation.

I use that word, exceptional, deliberately; I am a great believer in American exceptionalism. I know that isn’t fashionable right now, but look at my hair; do you really think I care about fashion? That’s Melania’s strength.

We as Americans are exceptional for one reason; we blend together our cultures to form a uniquely American identity that, like an alloy of metals, is stronger than its components. If we lose that ability to blend, if we allow our separate cultures to balkanize our populace, then we will lose that strength and that uniqueness and we will become just another country.

We are facing a crisis as grave as any we’ve faced before, but this time, our enemy comes from within. As Pogo said so many years ago, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

We must change our course. We must find our direction. We must reforge our nation into a united whole. Or else we will perish. I believe I was elected to do that, to change our heading to one that will make us better.

And that’s why I must speak with you tonight. It has to start now.

The second part of my obligation under the Constitution is to lay our priorities for the coming year, and to set a roadmap before Congress that they can use to guide them in the legislative process. Now, as we all know, Congress does not take orders from me. However, as President, it is my responsibility to layout my vision for the next year.

Let’s start with the shutdown. The same section of the Constitution that requires me to give this speech also allows me to convene them and set the date of adjournment. Consequently, 48 hours from now, I call on the House of Representatives and the Senate to convene to end this shutdown. Neither chamber will be allowed to adjourn until the shutdown is resolved.

It’s time for them to do the job they were elected to do. The House must pass a bill that is truly bipartisan and that will pass the Senate. I promise that if such a bill passes both chambers with a Veto proof majority, I will not veto it. If the bill is a good one, this will not be an issue.

Next, border security. A nation without a border is not a nation at all, and a nation that cannot or will not secure its borders has no borders. For too long, we’ve allowed our southern border to remain insecure. The crisis is growing every day and it must be addressed. Physical security at our border must be enhanced to create a credible level of control. I’ve made no secret of my preferences. I believe a wall is a major part of the solution. Walls work; everyone who lives in a gated community can attest to that.

However, I am open to other ideas. If Congress presents a security package that provides equal or better security than a wall, then I will evaluate that system. What I will not do is allow an approach where we’ll “figure it out later.” We know what a wall will do and what it will cost. Any alternative plan proposed by Congress must have the same kind of information available.

Today, not tomorrow. Our borders are too important to play games with pipe dreams and fairy tales.

Next, immigration reform. We have millions of illegal immigrants in our country, the vast majority of whom are working hard, and doing their best to stay under the radar. This means they are, for the most part, law abiding people just looking to build a better life for themselves and their families. For this many of them to be here indicates an obvious truth: our system is broken. These immigrants are a net benefit; we are better for them being here. We need to find away to welcome them here, but legally.

I’m not talking about amnesty; I don’t believe in rewarding illegal behavior. But there needs to be a path forward for them, and for those on the other side of the border, waiting patiently for their chance.

Equally importantly, we need to be able to identify, capture, and deport those who are not a benefit to our nation. The criminals who prey on immigrant and citizen alike. Allowing them to hide in sanctuary cities is against every ideal I hold dear. Accordingly, any city that refuses to co-operate with ICE in accordance with existing federal law will be prosecuted for doing so under the law. Additionally, penalties will be assessed to these cities based on the costs to the federal government for their lack of co-operation.

It’s time to hold these cities accountable for their actions.

It’s also time to hold employers who exploit illegal immigrants accountable. Congress should enact legislation criminalizing the exploitation of illegal immigrants, penalizing companies found guilty, and using the funds collected to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

We need to address the unholy grip on power by the two party system. Republicans and Democrats work in a coordinated fashion to ensure that other options are not feasible, then ignore their constituents to solidify their own power. While there is no way the President can do much about this, I can call for Congress to enact Congressional term limit legislation. It’s time to return to a citizen legislature, instead of a professional one. Nobody should be able to make a career of being a politician. By ensuring a constant turnover in DC, other parties and constituencies just might be able to gain some representation.

To deal with out of control bureaucracies, sometimes called “Deep State,” I call on Congress to take back their authority from these agencies. I propose legislation requiring Congress to read and approve via a voice vote any new regulations coming from these agencies. It’s time that the American citizen is able to put a name to a regulation and have somebody they can hold accountable.

I have a challenge for the media. Do your job. report the news; don’t make it. Facts should outweigh analysis, not the other way around. Save your opinions for the Op-Ed page; let the news be about the facts. Restore your dignity before it is lost forever.

My final appeal is to you, the American citizen. You’ve been pushed, shoved, and ignored for too long, and you’re angry. I get that; I understand it. It’s part of why I ran.

Unfortunately, I’ve done my share, maybe more than my share, in keeping things divisive. It’s my style; by keeping people at each other’s throats, I keep them on their toes. But what works in business is not always good for running a country. While it has been effective at times, it has come at a cost, and you are bearing the brunt of that cost.

I’m asking for us all, myself included, to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember that we are all Americans. Black, whit, brown, or yellow, male, female, or non-binary, gay, straight; it doesn’t matter. We are all Americans. All of us have worth.

We’ve forgotten that over the last decade or so. We’ve been so caught up in playing up our differences that we’ve forgotten to pay attention to our similarities, and that has cost us dearly. It has led us to where we are today, on the brink of losing everything.

In closing, let me just say this. I believe in American exceptionalism because I believe in the American people. I believe we can fix our problems, and come out of this stronger than ever.It will take hard work and sacrifice and it won’t come easily or quickly. But I believe we will get there.

Thank you and God Bless America.

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