Editorial: Sad State of the Union

Bridges, roads and research should trump walls

If you watched the State of the Union speech delivered by U.S. President Donald Trump last night, you might have noticed a little boy asleep in the gallery.

That’s Joshua Trump. He’s no relation to the president, but that didn’t stop his classmates from teasing him about his name, forcing him to leave school. We can’t blame him for falling asleep, but kudos to Trump for honouring him.

Too bad that’s about the only thing it’s easy to praise about Trump’s state of the union.

Like our throne speeches, the state of the union is intended to be the U.S. president’s chance to share, with Congress and the American people, his view of the state of the country and plans for future legislation.

Too bad Trump chose dignity over populism, half-truths over honesty and rhetoric over real forward movement. There were some good things in there, like $500 million being directed to cancer research, but he also repeated his demand for more than $5 billion to build his border wall.

Imagine how much good $5 billion could do, though, if it was directed to things like cancer or HIV/AIDS research? Or the real jobs that could be created by investing $5 billion in infrastructure repairs — bridges, roads and dams are decaying in the U.S. just like Canada.

And while it’s a lot to expect from politicians, a throne speech or a state of the union is a time to be truthful or, at least, not gratuitously misrepresent items like abortion laws intended to give women control and choice when their lives are endangered or the fetus wouldn’t be able to live outside the womb regardless.

It’s a really cheap way to try to win political points.

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