You a theatergoer? You like your histrionics dramatic? Comedic? You into carefully crafted staging, precisely designed costuming, maybe a large cast proudly preening before an audience of millions? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, do I have a show for you!
To call last night’s State of the Union occasion kabuki is pushing it. But it’s not too much to say that it was much more about style than substance, much more about medium than message. Every single actor had a part to perform and was hellbent on playing it to the hilt. Every single actor knew that while the moment felt important the evening would soon be forgotten. And every single actor knew that while the spotlight was on the star of the show – whose speech was of course scripted by wordsmiths other than he – behind the scenes were drumbeats. Drumbeats signaling from, for example, the House and Senate, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Southern District, courtrooms in Washington, New York, and Virginia. Drumbeats signaling that this State of the Union was dramatically different from nearly all which preceded it, and that to normalize it was to betray American fealty to divided government and the rule of law.