2019 State of the Union Address | Flickr

Pres­ident Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union Address to the 116th United States Con­gress on Tuesday after a week’s delay due to the partial gov­ernment shutdown.  Though it’s unlikely anyone remembers what was dis­cussed during last year’s address, the SOTU has become a lightning rod for policy debate — for one news cycle, at least. Nev­er­theless, here are some important 2019 SOTU moments we’ll all soon forget:

During his second run at this gra­tu­itous event, Trump hit all of his usual notes. He touted the eco­nomic boom occurring under his admin­is­tration, citing record low unem­ployment, high wages, and high work­force par­tic­i­pation as results of recent GOP tax cuts and dereg­u­lation. He also praised the U.S.’s pow­erful mil­itary and growing middle class as symbols of his administration’s success over the past two years.

One of the repeated themes of Trump’s address was his call for unity and bipar­ti­sanship among Democrats and Repub­licans. He called on Con­gress to “govern not as two parties, but as one nation” and to usher in a “new era of coop­er­ation” for the country. Perhaps the best moment of Trump’s speech was the reaction to his statement, “The state of our union is strong,” which received bipar­tisan applause. Both political parties joined together, mul­tiple times, to chant “U‑S-A,” sounding more like a high school student section than a room of stodgy politi­cians. To close, Trump opti­misti­cally stated the country’s best days are still ahead of it, as long as the U.S. is willing to still believe in American excep­tion­alism.

But the Pres­ident was not always pos­itive. He con­demned the Democrats for their “ridiculous par­tisan inves­ti­gation,” ref­er­encing special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing inves­ti­gation into alleged col­lusion between Russia and Trump, and the left’s dis­gusting support of late-term abortion.. He called on Con­gress to help “build a culture that cher­ishes innocent life.” He touched on other policy issues as well, asking for bipar­tisan support on the more than 300 judicial nom­inees not yet con­firmed by the Senate, the passage of the new USMCA trade deal, school choice, and immi­gration reform.

Trump’s second SOTU per­fectly encap­su­lated his career as a politician. He proudly and elo­quently pro­claimed, “America was founded on liberty and inde­pen­dence and not gov­ernment coercion and control. We were born free and we will stay free…America will never be a socialist country.” He pledged his support to blue-collar Amer­icans, promising to use tariffs to protect their jobs — which sounds a lot like gov­ernment coercion and control. He touted the staples of his admin­is­tration: a strong economy, strict border policy, bold foreign policy, and increased support of the mil­itary. And in classic SOTU style, Trump, like his pre­de­cessors, proudly intro­duced some of the most out­standing men and women of the U.S., pep­pered throughout the gallery of the Capitol building. This was more than just political expe­diency: The recog­nition of Holo­caust sur­vivors, WW2 vet­erans, cancer sur­vivors, and Apollo astro­nauts was one of the most moving and inspiring aspects of the address.

In reality, the expected, unques­tionable applause from Repub­licans, or the smug grins and “prin­cipled” sitting (Rosa Park-esq, if you ask me) of Democrats doesn’t change any­thing. The political game in Wash­ington, D.C. will con­tinue as always. Gridlock and par­tisan fighting will con­tinue, and the 2020 election cycle will ramp up as expected. But hey, at least our “leaders” got to have their night of pomp and cir­cum­stance. So, here’s to another 51 weeks of not caring about the SOTU and hun­kering back down into our ide­o­logical bunkers.

Erik Halvorson is a senior studying Eco­nomics.