President Donald Trump will give his first State of the Union (SOTU) address on Jan. 30, 2018 — a televised speech given in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol detailing the current state of the United States and what he intends to do (and has done) to make it better as president. Trump's first SOTU is a milestone, marking the first year in office as he attempts to fill the shoes of his predecessor, Barack Obama. For old time's sake, here's a video of Obama's first State of the Union address, because it's kind of ironic.
Similar to the current president, Obama entered office during a tumultuous time in the United States. The country was barely recovering from the Great Recession, when the housing market crashed and took a massive toll on the U.S. economy. Obama ran his campaign on the promise of hope and change, and his first SOTU, one year into his presidency, was his chance to revive that mentality. In the beginning of his address, Obama says,
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt ... But the devastation remains: One in 10 Americans still can't find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder.
You can see the full video of Obama's first SOTU here:
Unemployment rates had peaked to 10 percent in October 2009, and since then, unemployment has shrunk to a mere 4.1 percent as of December 2017. Obama continues his address by discussing the problem of bipartisanship and compromise in Congress-something that is a little too relevant right now. He continues,
And what the American people hope — what they deserve — is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences, to overcome the numbing weight of our politics, for while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs ... I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways.
The issue of compromise has never been more applicable than in our current Congress. Democrat and Republican lawmakers have been unable to agree on a long-term government spending bill for 2018, resulting in a three-day government shutdown and many temporary spending bills to tie them over. The issues and politics that both parties firmly stand by are preventing them to work together as one unified Congress. Obama could not have said it better in 2010 with this:
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side, a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.
The recent government shutdown happened just over a week before Trump's first SOTU, so people are expecting him to make some statement about bipartisan compromise and government spending. However, much of the country's divisiveness and polarization has been centered around Trump himself. The fact that multiple House Democrats have already announced their boycott of the SOTU eliminates the possibility of a unified Congress. All eyes are on Trump this upcoming Tuesday to see if he delivers an inspiring address that comforts the nation — or if he uses it as an opportunity to boast about the turnout.