The State of the Union: Things to Do Instead of Listening to Someone Lie to You

canstockphoto24688738I don’t watch award shows. I find the whole self-congratulatory process on top of wealth and celebrity status a tad nauseating. The State of the Union is not much different and this year, like anything Trump touches, it will be way worse. The problem with this weed of a president is that everyone keeps giving it light. Weeds like the light. They flourish and take over all the good soil, choking out anything that is newsworthy and meaningful. This year, I’m taking my light elsewhere.

Despite the fact that I’m a political junkie, I hate reality TV and the denizens that occupy it. Since our government and media have turned into The Real World: Washington D.C. Edition, I’ve learned to cultivate my news sources. Pundits and conspiracy theorists scrawl on whiteboards with bizarre connections and fallacies every time this president opens his mouth. Even respected journalists have lost their ever-loving minds reporting on every fart he emits. This is where information is not empowering. It’s enervating. It leaves us all just a little besmirched and exhausted.

canstockphoto3529451The State of the Union sounds important, but it’s not. Especially when the windbag that is speaking is always talking. This guy can’t shut up. We’ve heard all his stories. We’ve heard his memes and talking points. We’ve seen his beady little eyes and flappy jowls a zillion times in the last two years. He’s a bore. He’s a bore that has, to his delight, sucked all of the air out of the room. At this point in a social event, I would have acted like I needed a smoke, gone outside, gotten in my car, and driven away with the lights off, so I wouldn’t be noticed.

Here are some things you can do with your time instead, that will be more meaningful, powerful, and useful:

  • Donate to a “sh*thole” country, where real, live human beings like us are struggling to raise their families, find work, raise crops, get an education, and fight disease. Last week, the 12-year-old girl I was sponsoring in Malawi, died of malaria, an entirely preventable disease. I wrote a condolence letter to her family that will likely mean little. What means more, is that I’m sponsoring more children. Save the Children is an outstanding organization, as is Doctors without Borders.
  • canstockphoto9706791Here’s an easy one – read a book about immigrants and refugees, about the kind of people who come to our shores and what they experience. Here are a few:

The Devil’s Highway by Luis Albert Urrea

The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience by Mark Bixler

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu


  • Eat a delicious, healthy meal and get some exercise. If there’s anything I want to do more, it’s to outlive all these old bastards and watch every stupid, destructive thing they ever did be repaired.
  • Read a science article. In the face of lies, false reporting, random Facebook opinions, television pundits, knowledge is power. Great sources for good science:

How Stuff Works

The American Association for the Advancement of Science




canstockphoto53119769These are the more serious suggestions, but the fact of the matter is, I’d rather do anything else but listen to this blathering mudslinger. The crimes against syntax and semantics aside, I know that whatever he says will be untrue. Who has the time for that?

What will you be doing during the State of the Union address?

38 thoughts on “The State of the Union: Things to Do Instead of Listening to Someone Lie to You

  1. I’m with you 100%. I will definitely not be watching the liar in chief. I may go see The Post. David Frum was in Toronto (his home town) last week, speaking at the reference library about his new book, Trumpocracy, which I bought. If I don’t go to the movie I will stay home and start the book.


    1. What I’m actually doing is going to a panel discussion about race in Minnesota. Seems like a better use of my time. What will be irritating is the horoscope-like interpretations of the address we’ll be seeing in the news over the next week. Ad nauseum. As if anything he says can be taken seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never listened to the State of Union, not even President Obama who I consider to be an eloquent speech giver. I can say, the current repellent representative does not entice me to change my anti-State of Union sentiments. If anything, I’m digging down and getting more entrenched in avoiding his toxic personality. That said, I suspect I will be hiding under a rock and avoiding all news related to said speech. Perhaps joining a kibbutz or climbing the highest mountain I can find to get away from it. Living in Michigan this means a very long trip to somewhere sane. I here the moon is nice this time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is tough to escape from all the pre-, during, and post- chatter surrounding this. I don’t watch every address, but after President Obama was giving a speech to Congress (not the State of the Union) in 2009 and Representative Joe Wilson yelled “You lie”, I stopped watching formal speeches. Civility has continued to deteriorate and to actually have an extremely rude person do the speaking puts the proof in the pudding. Plus, it’s just showmanship and euphemism and incessant blathering. Politicians do like to hear themselves talk a lot. Trump even more so.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trish. The challenge is moving from thoughts to words to actions. We seemed to be pinned down by this guy and his coterie of thugs for awhile. The only way to reclaim our power when we are not wealthy or a celebrity is to do those things antithetical to the administration. Read, be healthy, donate to all the causes they rail against, fight for our voters’ rights, and believe in science and facts. Small paths of resistance can wear down a rock.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am going to practice my apathy skills during the State of the Union festivities. Since I live two hours in any direction from civilization, I am pretty well insulated from the DC beltway. The news stations have become a joke and I did love them so not so long ago. I think I will devote my time to an unfinished manuscript I found in storage just last week. Re-entering it into the computer just may give me the incentive to finish the adventure. Great post. Thanks for the smile. g


    1. Glad I could make you smile. Working on an old manuscript sounds like a very life-affirming thing to do. I’ve been thinking more about writing as its own special act of resistance.
      I listen to NPR if I have the radio on – mostly because they don’t have all those yappy personalities you hear on other stations. Whenever I drive up north to visit relatives, all the radio stations become the same – conservative, angry, and Clinton-obsessed. It’s no wonder that much our state goes red, if that’s what they hear all the time. I try to imagine things from their point of view and I think if I heard that same stuff over and over, I’d be angry, too. I just wouldn’t be sure at what.


  4. Great suggestions for alternatives to the soul-killing SOTU message. I make it a practice not to interact with people who are liars or crooks, so I certainly will not endure even a minute of his performance, or that of the sycophants who have sold their souls and abandoned their consciences to abet his lies. I’m willing to wager, though, that by tomorrow morning he will be claiming that he was viewed by the largest audience EVER!


    1. That’s such a bizarre personality trait – to always have to be better, bigger, smarter. I knew a kid like that in third grade. No matter what the reality was, he was always more. Oddly enough, my expectations for a president are a little higher.
      I’m sure people will be rewriting this particular piece of history over and over and no matter who is to blame, we’re all taking the fall for this guy. The only way out, I think, is to re-focus on positive action. Which I have to do approximately 23 times a week (any time I read the news). It’s hard not to get sidetracked!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great minds think alike. I, too, was thinking of seeing “The Post” with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep this evening. Not necessarily in lieu of The State of the Union Address but the timing coudn’t be better. Until I see some concrete action that brings back the heart and soul of this country that I believed to have possessed humanitarianism, I’m shield myself from the minute-by-minute assaults in hope of keeping my own soul safe.


  6. I HIGHLY encourage everyone to at least listen. The FBI Director resigned yesterday and today the CEO of the democratic party. Surely something is happening folks, don’t get caught up in your negative biased towards the president and miss out on the truth, but rather formulate an individual understanding of ongoing events.


    1. From the moment Trump became president, there is always something happening. That’s his schtick, his reality television approach – amp up the rhetoric, make every moment a cliffhanger, have lots of people voted off the island, move the bus, have the great reveal.

      Truth will not come from a canned speech or a Twitter account. My civic duty is to stay informed, not to be propagandized or preached at by a man with no integrity or moral compass.

      I appreciate that you may not share my viewpoint and I’m glad you shared yours, but I will never listen to this man again. There are always transcripts. They are a matter of public record.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Feel free to disagree, but I found “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair to be extremely eye opening into the tsunami of adversity that those Lithuanian immigrants that the book centered around. I just happened to notice your article and the bit about books about immigrants instantly made me think of it (read it about 3 years ago in a college history class) and I felt it was worth mentioning!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The last year HAS been exhausting — we did watch the SOTU as painful as it was, but have been trying to cut back on news watching/reading as a whole, because I hardly read books this past year because of this compulsion to try and keep up with the sh$%show news cycles! Great tips on organizations to support and books to read (many on my list). And I keep running to try and remember self-care too 😉 !


    1. I’m feeling a new surge of energy with the caucuses coming up tomorrow night. Action is always a good antidote to hopelessness. Self-care makes the list daily, too. For me, it has been reading nonstop for the last couple of months. It’s amazing how much my attention span and spirits are improving now that I’m not playing news roulette so frequently.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I have been looking for people who have something intelligent to say. I have been attempting to create a blog site where I can express my opinions. In the process, I came across yours. I am a Canuck and have been reluctant to speak about my southern neighbour. However, the impact of the American political system spills over the northern border. Therefore, I attempt to track what is happening. With Donald Trump my level of concern has escalated. I will do my best to prevent it from becoming routed in our Canadian political system.

    One of the concerns, I have, is why many of the elected individuals, so-called leaders, go along with the nonfactual information. It is very destructive and disheartening.

    Having read the book regarding Donald Trump’s mental state, I wonder why others do not recognize his basic instability and inability to process information. I will leave the terminology and facts to the mental health individuals. Every day I see his picture, and hear his words I cringe. This is not nice to say about your neighbour, but there is no choice.

    My last thought is: Someone Protect the world from a “Inglorious Bastard” as is the title of the movie. Graham.


    1. This is a very bizarre time in our nation’s history, made more so by the rapid passing of news not based in fact or reality. It’s very damaging to our country and embarrassing for many of its citizens. However, some of us are getting a second wind and jumping back into the fight and for that reason, I am more optimistic. Maybe blindly so, but it’s hard to move forward under the weight of this administration and its wrongdoings, without becoming discouraged. Maybe blinders are necessary. Still, hope is a good thing, I think.


  10. I had a great reason to not be watching. I was at orchestra rehearsal, playing Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov!

    Like someone said above, I just don’t watch these kinds of things even when the speaker is someone I like. I stopped watching TV news 30 years ago and never looked back.


    1. I’m finding myself deciding on where, when, and how I get news – is it useful? The State of the Union has never been useful, like most politicians’ prepared speeches. But if I were going to sit through one, it would not be from a guy who has not shut up since the moment he took office.

      And yes, your use of time was much better than sitting in front of the TV! Scheherazade is a powerful and haunting piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good criterion. I add how it’s going to make me feel and whether I can process it adequately. I find that the visceral reaction I get from video is usually not helpful. I need some distance so I don’t feel bombarded and suffer “compassion fatigue.” I’d rather read it and process it in my own time.

        Liked by 1 person

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