4 Key Examples of Disturbing ‘Patriotism’ in the State of the Union

Traditionally, the State of the Union address serves as the president’s annual speech to Congress to set the policy agenda for the upcoming year. As the event began to be distributed to a wider audience – first through radio, then television and finally the internet – the speech transformed to suit a new set of ears, adding more rhetoric and attempts to sway the general public.

This speech was never intended to be a campaign rally, yet that’s exactly the approach President Donald Trump took with his first official State of the Union address on January 30.

While the address didn’t include refrains of “Lock her up,” it still offered a platform to quintessential campaign trail Trump. Sure, the words might have been better crafted and the president did far less ad-libbing, but the message — that America is the greatest, that foreigners and dissidents are the enemy and that the military and police are at his command — made this speech little more than a reminder of how quickly we are turning into a dangerous cult of American exceptionalism.

Here are a few of the most alarming moments from the president’s 2018 address:

1. “Citizens”

President Trump specifically referred to “citizens” five times during his address — and most of those instances occurred outside of an actual immigration discussion. The rhetoric is a deliberate choice to emphasize that we are no longer all Americans just because we live in the United States. We now have a social hierarchy, and the government only addresses and protects legal citizens. Of all the mentions, this one was the president’s most pointed:

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties – Democrats and Republicans – to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. 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.

By appropriating the DREAM Act, President Trump is sending a clear message that DREAMers are not real Americans, even though most of them have lived in the country for most, if not all, of their lives.

2. Soldiers and police

Roughly three-quarters of the presidential guests invited to view the address in person, as well as those those mentioned in the speech, were honored for serving in the military, helping veterans, acting as police officers or otherwise “protecting” others. While some of these acts were fairly benign — aiding hurricane victims — others were less so. For instance, one police officer was recognized for adopting a baby after encountering a pregnant and drug-addicted mother — a potentially problematic situation that could’ve involved legal pressure or coercion.

President Donald Trump enjoys putting those in charge of “safety” and “law and order” on a pedestal, and the State of the Union was a prime example. Trump mentioned veterans seven times, military three times and officer and police five times each. Clearly, it was a dominant and disturbing thread all throughout his address.

3. Flags, military and God

When patriotism and God are intertwined, things become even more alarming. It wouldn’t be a Trump speech without mentioning the American flag, demanding that people stand for the national anthem or saying “In God We Trust.” This passage, however, hit the American-patriotic-jingoism trifecta all within a few short sentences:

We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag. Together, we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is ‘in God we trust.’ And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.

This excerpt seems to be a direct appeal to Christian Dominionism.

4. “USA, USA!” chants

If nothing else frightened you about the State of the Union — if you can somehow dismiss all of this as just a handful of powerful but short-lived advisors orchestrating a movement through a symbolic puppet  who has no grasp on the meaning of his words — well, you should be terrified of the response from the Republicans in the audience.

This was an address to a joint session of Congress — yet twice it dissolved into cheers of “USA! USA!” like it was some sort of campaign rally. To begin with, that outburst displays an extraordinary lack of decorum — even more blatant than the Joe “You Lie” Wilson moment, since this one involved many individuals.

But something even more disturbing? That chant was precisely what the Trump campaign used to drown out dissent when protesters tried to speak at rallies.

And as this administration has repeatedly shown, when you hear “USA! USA!” you can be sure that the people in power are attempting to use their “patriotism” to cover up something.

Photo Credit: The White House/Flickr

109 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Tks for sharing.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld8 months ago

Bill A.,
I am not sure what point you were trying to make in your last post. Whatever it was, it is evident that you are biased against any religion, such that no matter what the evidence, you will never believe. There is no point arguing any further, as your mind is already made up. When you continue to make derogatory statements and make up your own facts, I know it is time to end. Perhaps if you took a more scientific approach, you would be more open to a logical debate.

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur8 months ago

Dan are you ignoring the fact that slavery is still given the OK in you 'New' Testament ?

You also seem to be forgetting that the Jesus guy was quoted as saying he did not come ' to change anything if the gods commands' But you think it is Ok to pick and choose. And that is good since so many of those old commandments are just wrong evil and bad for society. But then do not claim the bible is all good and 'the law' since man has been choosing what to put in it and what to leave out and then what they/you will accept and what you/they will ignore.

Any 'gods' are in the minds of the believers and that is why they have never been seen in reality.

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld8 months ago

Bill A.,
You are correct in that not all bibles contain the same material. However, that is all Old Testament books, which the Protestants removed during the reformation. The New Testament is consistent across religions. Nothing has been added to this. You are grasping at anything in order to maintain your beliefs. Now you are reverting to ancient Hebrew traditions. These are not a part of Christianity. You are incorrectly asserting old customs into modern day religion. These were abolished during the time of Christ. If you really think that we all need to abide by everything, including that written 4000 years ago, then everyone in the U.S. should be allowed to own slaves, and women cannot vote. After all, that was decreed less than 250 years ago. Surely, if you expect us to live by ancient customs, you must abide by modern day laws. Your entire excuse for your belief system is getting thinner all the time.

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur8 months ago

It is quite a stretch to think that it has not been changed since there are no originals. What it is based on is copies of copies. How does anyone know for sure if the whole thing was not changed from the original and of course depending on which version/god you choose to just believe in the bible is bigger or smaller. All versions of the bible do not include the same material. I am not a bible scholar and it does not make any difference to me but I do know there are sections of the bible stories that all will agree have been changed and others that were added later. This determined from scraps of older versions. BUT lets just say it is all the accurate 'word of your god' that men wrote and other men decided to include in their version there are still contradictions AND commandments and laws that are pure evil, like the rules about slavery and making the victim marry her rapist or stoning people for misdemeanours like working on the sabbath (and I do not think the sabbath was sunday back then). And do not give me the old excuse that those were in the old testament which also includes the many commandments you are also supposed to live by and especially the famous 10 plus all the old fiction stories about 'creating' everything from nothing and flooding the entire earth and people living inside whales. If is all the law of you god then you have to buy it all otherwise it is as I think YOU the so called believer choosing what YOU think is good or bad. Just as I who has no

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld8 months ago

Bill A.,
I am sure you could. However, the overwhelming evidence and opinion is that he did. The most convincing evidence is that the events described occurred during the time frame indicated, and no events that occurred afterwards are mentioned. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 a.d., yet there is no mention of this momentous event occurred in any of the new testament writings. Would not a major events such as this (and others) have received at least some mention? As mentioned by your source also, most books can be attributed to the original authors, and the rest could be, but it is not definitive. There are no known additions that you claim. It is much more truthful to say these are eyewitness reports, than to say that there is no eyewitness reports. You seem to think that oral transcription is somehow unreliable. Yet, most historians maintain that this is a reliable source, not just in this instant, but throughout all of history. You still have not responded about whether you think all of history is just made up stories. Or are you cherry picking that part of history you will believe and discard. Greek was a more common language for the written word and the time (as was Latin). So, the claim of Greek writing is largely irrelevant. Luke was Greek. Most of Paul's travels were to Greek communities, hence he wrote largely in Greek. You seem to grasping here, rather than actually doing any research. Did you

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur8 months ago

And you would cherry pick authors that agree with you? Expand your reading Dan. I could have cherry picked scholars that argue there was never even a person named Jesus, that it was all made up but I stuck with what many/most biblical scholars say. You will notice that the books that many like to refer to as being written by original apostles are credited to unknown authors and other books are dated later by references to things that did not happen until later. Other books are said to have more than one author and then there are the additions and changes made by later 'christian' scribes. I do not care but it is not truthful to say there are eyewitness reports in it. They are just stories that had been told and passed on by word of mouth prior to being written down. That is why most of the original writings are found in Greek not the language used where all this magic stuff was supposed to have happened years before.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld8 months ago

Bill,
Seriously? You are using Wikipedia as your source? Even so, they state that 19 of the 27 books were likely written by the stated author. They do not refute the authorship of the others, only maintaining that there is disagreement among scholars, and that they could be written by the stated authors.

For some better historical assessments, read some of the following:

https://thebestschools.org/special/ehrman-licona-dialogue-reliability-new-testament/licona-major-statement/

https://www.bethinking.org/is-the-bible-reliable/the-historicity-of-the-new-testament

https://infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/critbias.html

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur8 months ago

Dan; you are working with belief again. Most scholars do not accept your hypothesis. Read up on what they understand about just who wrote any of the books of the bible. the names on the books do not indicate who the authors were, indeed scholars studying these indicate the same author wrote many different parts of the bible. Check out this for info about who scholars understand wrote and when they wrote the different parts https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Authors Ask your employees who have studied this what they know and double check if they are honest in their answers

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld8 months ago

Bill,
Paul started writing in 52 a.d., and continued for the next 15 years. That range is 19-34 years afterwards. All less than the 50 you claim. Those were not even the first. James was written in the late 40s., barely more than a decade later. James was known to have died in the 60s, along with Paul and Peter. Part of the confusion is the data given by scholars as to when the final books were assembled in their present form. That is where those later dates come into play. Most scholars place the original writings to have started prior to 50 a.d., continuing up until ~70 a.d. Most of the eyewitnesses were still alive at this point.

Why do you believe any history, if you think it is just a bunch of made up stories by people designed to entertain? I am surprised that you would believe anything before recorded media was invented.

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