At the beginning of every fiscal year, the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union address from deep inside the Capitol. In it, he fills the country in on everything he’s been up to lately, as well as the ongoing Big Picture progress of this strange scientific experiment in democracy that we read all about. And, tonight at 9pm, President Obama will be delivering all of that to you, kind citizen. Make sure you’re five feet away from Twitter at all times.
Think of the speech as a Toyota Prius hybrid of “Look at everything we’ve done!” sound clips and an Americana pep talk. State of the Union addresses generally follow the same format: the President struts in, says hello to a few people, gives his worldview, says goodbye to a few people and then we all go to bed. Once in a while, you get an exciting gesture from an audience member, like that schmuck three years ago who yelled out “You Lie!’ Yeah, that guy.
Except this speech is particularly sweet because it’s the first of President Obama’s second term. Many speculators (re: all of the media) believe it will be a ‘Part Deux’ to his Inaugural Address, in which he clarion-called the ‘liberal agenda’ by mentioning gay rights, defending the age-old safety net and recognizing climate change two or three times. Maybe the speech will be about job initiatives or the Oscars; who knows – we’re not clairvoyant! (We do know Obama will announce a 34,000 troop drawdown in Afghanistan, which is more than half of all forces stationed there, to happen this year.) Regardless, you can bet the next five months’ rent on the following few occurrences for sure.
- Mr. Obama will be there, front and center. Vice President (Smokin’) Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner will be sitting behind him. Michelle will be in the crowd with a majority of the real-life cast of the West Wing, including Congress, the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But not everyone is invited. One Cabinet member (call ’em the ‘designed survivor’) must stay behind and several Representatives and Senators are told to watch it from an undisclosed location. This is done as a post-9/11 precaution; if something terrible happened at the Capitol, who would run the country? Seriously, this is a thing. And it’s creepy. And probably too late to suggest it as a season-long plot line for 24.
- Mr. Obama will say some stuff. He’s probably going to mention the economy, gun control, troop draw downs, and how much Republicans make life difficult for us (him). The Democrats will get up and applause him. The Republicans will stayed seated and boo him. Mr. Obama will say something else. And vice versa. See it as political entertainment: this is the closest to Parliament we’re ever gonna get.
- Mr. Biden will show off every facial expression a Scranton boy can make. Minus last year’s constant nose-blowing, this strictly consists of smirks and winks; a lively alternative to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s no-blinking death stare. Also, please note: all of Joe’s physical gestures are more important than the actual speech itself. Because you can make them into fun-filled GIFs as virtual keepsakes for the whole family!
- Marco Rubio will give the GOP response to the State of the Union, and will play the role of the attention grabbing brat who crashes a My Super Sweet Sixteen birthday party. He will probably criticize all of Obama’s policy ideas, and try to position himself as the top Republican candidate for 2016. But as Bobby Jindal can tell you, being the responder can also end up making you look pretty bad. Oh and Rand Paul will give the response for the Tea Party, but who’s really going to watch that?
- Oh, and speaking of GIFs, there will be a lot of them. Like, a really good amount. Technically, you really don’t even have to watch the speech, so to speak. Shout outs to BuzzFeed and Tumblr for making life that much more easier. Check out all these ones from last year:
Enjoy the speech. And the state of our union.