By Margaret Kimberley, BAR Exec. Editor & Senior Columnist

March 13, 2024  Black Agenda Review


The State of the Union address exemplifies everything that is wrong with this country. Trivialities are spun as being important, the most serious issues are glossed over, and lies are said to be true. The state of the union is one of failure.

If there were any question that this nation is a failed state, the recent State of the Union (SOTU) address makes the case and removes any doubt about the depth of decline. The constitutional requirement that the president, “… from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union…” is now an extravagant combination of nonsense, mendacity, and war propaganda that reveals the depth of rot in the U.S. body politic.

The SOTU address is an opportunity for serious issues to be addressed but which are instead discussed as sophomoric saber rattling as members of congress jump up and down clapping like trained seals as the president pledges to stop Putin, stand up to Putin and not back down to Putin who we are told is on the march and sowing chaos throughout all of Europe. While democrats over acted the republicans sat and frowned. So-called journalists give undue attention to the pantomime and draw phony conclusions based on the theatrics. Corporate media play an important part in aiding and abetting the spread of obfuscations, confusion, and outright lies.

The manufactured drama is bipartisan and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) happily participate in the tawdry show along with the rest of their colleagues. This year they invited as their guest a Texas high school student, Darryl George , who has been suspended from school for refusing to cut his dreadlocks. His stance is commendable and the treatment he has received is contemptible, but one would think that the CBC could highlight an issue of greater importance to the masses of Black people.

But taking care of the people’s business is simply not on the agenda, for the CBC or anyone else. “The CBC stands in full support of Darryl’s personal right to wear his hair the way he chooses…” was CBC Chair Steven Horsford’s statement. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman chimed in about the CROWN Act, which would give legislative protection to wearing the their hairstyle of one’s choice. This undue attention to a lack of substance is an indication of the CBC’s political irrelevance. Then again they aren’t alone in having diminished themselves. The entire political class plays right along.

Of course the president is the star of the show and Joe Biden didn’t disappoint. His active and enthusiastic participation in Israel’s war crimes has lowered his already anemic approval ratings, and now thousands of primary election voters are casting ballots for “uncommitted” as opposed to the incumbent president. What better moment to pretend that he and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in opposition to one another than to put on a show at the State of the Union address?

The clumsiness of the performance made it all the more outrageous when the president pretended to insult Netanyahu on camera. Democratic senator Michael Bennet began the charade with Secretary of State Blinken and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg by his side as extras in the movie.

“Great speech. I was telling the Secretary, I was in Jordan and Israel this weekend and we’ve got to keep pushing on what you are doing on the humanitarian stuff.” Biden jumped in on cue, “I told him, Bibi, and don’t repeat this, but you and I are going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.” A staffer comes in and murmurs something to Biden who ends the conversation with, “I’m on a hot mic here. Good. That’s good.”

The response to millions of people expressing outrage over genocide was treated as a public relations stunt, which is what SOTU and the U.S. presidency have become.

If nothing else SOTU laid bare the utter fraudulence of the Biden presidency. It is harder to make the case of lesser evilism or holding one’s nose to vote when the betrayals are so blatant. Claims of moving Biden to the left or holding feet to the fire were always made by the cynical to the naive. Both the con artists and their targets have a lot of explaining to do when Biden used the SOTU speech to appeal directly to the Trump voters we are otherwise told to view as deplorable.

Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene was decked out in MAGA regalia and gave Biden a button which read, “Say her name, Laken Riley.” The suspect in the murder of this young Georgia woman is an undocumented man. After chastising republicans for failing to pass an immigration bill which liberals should have opposed on principle, Biden said, “Lanken [Laken] Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed. By an illegal. That’s right. But how many thousands of people are being killed by illegals?”

We are otherwise told that Donald Trump is a fascist and his supporters are extreme MAGA and also very fascist and they all want to undo democracy. Then Biden makes a lie out of his own propaganda and appeals to the very people we are told are so dangerous with a quote that could easily have come from a Trump rally.

Jim Crow Joe is nothing if not consistent. Blatant racist appeals have been his stock in trade throughout his political career. Of course he referred to an undocumented person as an “illegal.” His back tracking afterward was also part of the SOTU stunt, an effort to disappear what he had intentionally given attention to. The farce continued after he was criticized for apologizing but then claimed he hadn’t apologized when in fact he had. Biden first made an appeal to racism, then winked and hoped everyone would forget, but the more open racists attacked him and he then went full circle and embraced the racist remark he made in the first place.

The “illegal” fiasco would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Of course this country is governed by very unserious people and they aren’t serious because they don’t really govern anything. The oligarchs do and their puppet strings are more and more visible and their errand boys and girls look more and more foolish.

Giving serious attention to Biden, the State of the Union, or the congress can only lead to being scammed. The devolution of the political process is always more obvious in an election year and shows that the state of the union is one of failure.


-Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents.