On Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address — and it was about as problematic as you could imagine.
While the evening was surprisingly void of noteworthy sound bites for us to laugh at, his speech pointed out clear divisions within our country. The “build-a-wall” talk was repeatedly used as a way to instill fear, and therefore create a more visibly racist and xenophobic culture.
Trump told the Republicans — and booing Democrats — that “open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities.” Further on, he contended that low-wage workers must “compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans.”
He added a comment that was clearly reminiscent of the #AllLivesMatter “movement.”
"My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans, to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American dream — because Americans are dreamers too."
He used this play-on-words to completely downplay the struggles of undocumented people — people who are also Americans. Trump’s comment also caught the attention of white-supremacist leaders on Twitter. David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted, “Thank you President Trump” in response. Meanwhile, Richard Spencer, the man who coined the term “alt-right,” posted the quote along with a photo of a white heterosexual couple with two white children. This clearly illustrates the direction this president is leaning toward.
While Trump repeatedly boasted about what he has done in the past year, he failed to mention any of the setbacks — or possible moves forward — his administration issued to LGBT rights. However, in the Democratic response, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) put forth his intention to protect both native-born and undocumented Americans and made a subtle allusion to the struggles of our community.
“As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son or daughter will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than a parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of an opioid addiction. So here is the answer the Democrats offer tonight: We choose both,” Kennedy said.
Trump may try to divide us, but it is encouraging to know there are still people out there who have our backs — along with the backs of everyone who wants to call this country “home.”