223 years ago today, President George Washington delivered the very first State of The Union Address.
We were a lot better off then.
I really thought about stopping there, but the story is much too interesting. Washington and John Adams delivered SOTU Addresses on a regular basis, but Thomas Jefferson, always a man of the people, stopped the tradition, and sent his address to the Congress for the clerk to read.
TJ thought it was too monarchical, sort of like a Speech from the Throne.
Jefferson, though brilliant, was a simple farmer, who didn’t like a strong central government or anything that smacked of pomp.
The practice of delivering the speech to a joint session of congress was revived by President Woodrow Wilson, whom Jefferson would have hated, in 1913.
Since then, most of the addresses have been delivered in person. There, of course, have been exceptions. President Jimmy Carter
phoned sent his in back in 1981. Of course, he was on his way out a few days later, and was still smarting after his lost to that ‘darn actor’, Ronald Reagan.
Some SOTUs have had some memorable moments. James Monroe first mentioned his Monroe Doctrine in a SOTU in 1823.
FDR’s “Four Freedoms” came in a SOTU, as did his “Second Bill of Rights”.
LBJ gave us his War on Poverty and George W. Bush gave us his War on Terror. Both failures, I might add.
But, alas the most distressing thing about the SOTU, now that it’s televised, is the greedy media hogs (yes I cleaned that UP) like Cynthia McKinney-no longer representing Georgia thank the LORD, who would get there hours early just got get a seat on the aisle so that they could be seen kissing UP to the President de jour, even if they hated him.
Yeah, I don’t miss that at all.
And back to the original thought, we were a lot better off when Washington gave his first speech. A lot.