I wasn’t able to watch the 2018 State of the Union speech when it aired and instead I brought it up on Youtube the following morning while I was at work. Don’t worry; I was working while watching and listening to it and my boss, who sits next to me, had also missed it so he didn’t mind. Trump’s speech was longer than I expected—I had assumed he wouldn’t go longer than an hour due to his experience in showbiz and his love of Twitter—and it was also better than I thought it would be. Indeed, it was a strangely positive and encouraging speech overall. Back when Trump was inaugurated the phrase that I remembered most was “This American carnage stops right here and right now.” The speech seemed like a pretty dour assessment of America, even with Trump’s pledges to make things right. With the 2018 State of the Union Speech the quote that stands out to me came early on when Trump said “Let’s begin tonight by recognizing that the State of our Union is strong because our people are strong.” I’m not a fan of Trump but I can’t deny that his speech made me feel good about America and being an American. There was great storytelling in the speech and Trump fulfilled the president’s role of being America’s biggest cheerleader. Overall I’d give the speech something like 8.5 out of 10. True, the whole thing was political theater and I haven’t yet gotten around to looking at the fact-checking reports on Trump’s claims, but as a speech I’d say it was pretty good. I’m quite impressed that Trump didn’t go off-script into one of his tirades common on Twitter and my only major criticism of the speech in terms of its feel and presentation was that it was too long. The opening 30 or so minutes were strong, then things started faltering a little bit for the second 30 or so minutes, however Trump regaining momentum in the final 15 minutes. Having the North Korean refugee near the end was a powerful move and the image of the refugee holding up his crutches will likely be the most memorable sight of the entire night, at least for me. By the time this writing piece is published Trump will no doubt be back to his usual self, but for that hour and twenty minutes he actually came across as a great encourager and unifier.

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