On Jan. 30, President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. Like any presidential address, it was delivered with rhetoric that would support the ruling party, in this case, the Republicans.
Many media outlets offered a rather generous response to Trump’s speech, however, students at CSUSB did not offer the same response.
“I don’t see any point in watching,” said student Mathew Martinez. “It doesn’t appeal to me. I knew it was on, but [I] didn’t want to waste an hour of my life.”
Martinez continued by expressing his distaste for the current political climate and referred to it as a “dictatorship in the works.”
Several students on campus expressed a similar view.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the city of San Bernardino is 50-60 percent registered as Democrats, and, 3 out of 5 students at CSUSB spoke negatively about the administration and claimed their negativity contributed to their choice to not watch the address.
“He [Trump] doesn’t speak to me,” said student Julia Anderson. “I was supposed to watch it for political science, but it’s too frustrating to watch.”
Regardless of political party and ideology, some find value in the address that could potentially affect their lives and the ones they love.
Assistant Professor of the Political Science Department, Meredith Conroy, thinks every address warrants attention from all political parties.
“I think any time students can witness the branches of government interact, even if superficially, it can help them better understand government,” said Conroy.
According to Conroy, these addresses can and have contained pertinent information that has a direct impact on the American people. Some addresses still directly influence the people of this country.
During a State of the Union address in 1965, “Lyndon B. Johnson announced what would eventually be known as the Great Society, which created Medicaid and Medicare to combat poverty in America.”
Medicaid offers healthcare to low-income people and Medicare offers health care for those who are 65 years of age and older.
Conroy further stated: “In 2002 G. W. Bush mentioned the ‘Axis of Evil’ which would come to define his foreign policy agenda.”
The “Axis of Evil” included three countries: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. All three, in the last 16 years, we have been at some kind of verbal or physical war with.
Following the address, Trump went to Twitter to boast about the viewership and how proud he was of the recognition. However, many Democrats did the opposite.
In Fallbrook, Massachusetts, Democratic Representative Joe Kennedy III spoke to a crowd of students from Diman Regional Technical High School where he called the current administration divisive and destructive to the country’s progress.
“This administration,” Kennedy stated, “isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us, they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.”
He went on to say that the current administration thinks that “dignity isn’t something you’re born with, but something you measure by your net worth, your celebrity… your crowd size.” Kennedy’s speech rang true to those who have noticed the recent influx of tension amongst culture diversity in the country.
According to a 2018 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, there has been a huge shift in race relations in this country.
In 2016, 46 percent of people said Trump has made race relations worse. That is a large jump from the same poll that was held while President Obama was in office and 52 percent said he would make it better.
The same test held in 2017 shows that 60 percent of people said Trump has made race relations worse.
With race relations at a significant low and the expansion of hate-filled rhetoric being used as a common discourse in American politics, it is no wonder the students at CSUSB are not engaged.