The State Of Your Union

For Americans you may notice the headline may actually read differently than some thought at first glance. Yes I’ve intentionally changed one word, for many reasons. 

While our conversation will touch upon a few notes from President Biden’s “State of The Union Address” I also want to explore how we can assist one another in assessing and strengthening the state of our individual  and personal unions.

First on this edition of “Becoming Today”, we’ll develop some shared understandings of the concepts. 

Since we have a wide and diverse international community that chooses to join us each day I want to begin with explaining what the United States State of the Union is and even many Americans may see a few facts that did not know about the history of the address.

That is the first factoid to understand, while televised live to a national audience and streamed globally, this was not intended to be a speech directed to all citizens.

The basis for the talk comes directly from the U S Constitution, in which it is written, 

The President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 

A the official site of Congressional history also notes,  

“The constitutionally mandated presidential message has gone through a few name changes:

  • It was formerly known as the Annual Message from 1790 to 1946.
  • It began to be informally called the “state of the Union” message/address from 1942 to 1946.
  • Since 1947 it has officially been known as the State of the Union Address.”

So the original intent and purpose of this talk was to be an address to the elected representatives of the nation, in both chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Something that the nation’s first two Presidents, George Washington and John Adams did so in person, then our third elected chief executive stopped that practice, 

Thomas Jefferson chose instead to send a written message to lawmakers, believing a formal address before Congress was too aristocratic and similar to practices of monarchs.

All Presidents followed Jefferson’s example for over a century, until Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Wilson “Becoming”  the executive message in a speech before Congress since 1801. His renewal of the tradition holds fast to this day. 

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge became the first commander-in-chief to deliver the speech and have it broadcast to all Americans live on the radio. 

President Harry Truman officially named the speech the “State of the Union Address,” and also “Becoming” first president to broadcast his on television.

It was President Lyndon B. Johnson moved the speech from the middle of the afternoon to 9 pm Eastern time in order to  attract a larger TV audience across the nation. Ensuring over the next five decades that it would be “Becoming” the media event it is today.

Since this speech is called for in the Constitution as a necessary measure to communicate with Congress, Representatives and Senators are well within their purview to ask that certain issues be included. As they did President Joe Biden, encouraging him to also address the global crisis in the Ukraine. Which he did.

The President opened his address saying:

“Tonight, we meet as Democrats Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans. 

With a duty to one another to the American people to the Constitution. 

And with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.”

Sending a message of unity to the world and declaring that the free  world is united against Russian Leader Vladimir Putin focusing on him personally and not blaming the Russian people.

“He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. 

He met the Ukrainian people. 

From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world.”

Speaking of new sanctions and actions being taken in defense of  Ukraine, “Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime no more. 

The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.  

We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts your luxury apartments your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains”.

 As the President strengthened his commitment to battle tyranny he also asserted “American resolve matters’.

A very true and “Becoming” statement.

Other issues in his speech that speak to changes we can empathetically understand and embrace not only in our lives or for our own benefit but also in aligning with “The Essence of Becoming” included:

A recommitment to American jobs and workers. This is something I’ve preached about in one format or another since the early 1990’s when I noted that as we were on a fast track to becoming a disposable society, the number one commodity the nation was willing to toss away was the American worker. History shows how true that was and many of the impacts on our current supply chain issues are a direct result of that. I am extremely interested in the President’s vision as he described, 

“There’s something happening in America. 

Just look around and you’ll see an amazing story. 

The rebirth of the pride that comes from stamping products “Made In America.” The revitalization of American manufacturing.   

Companies are choosing to build new factories here, when just a few years ago, they would have built them overseas.”

There also was a call to negotiate better prices for prescription medications; an emphasis on improving our treatments and assistance for mental health issues and recovery programs. Plus continued distribution of resources for the care and remedy of COVID as wells as to finally find the way to defeat cancer.

The President also spoke about the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Urging the passage of the Equality Act, which was placed again on the Senate agenda, one year ago today. 

The measure simply summarized works to expand existing civil rights protections for people of color and ensure  to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit, and jury service.

Plus he noted “One of the most serious constitutional responsibilities a President has is nominating someone to serve on the United States Supreme Court”. As he urged confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman ever nominated to serve on the nation’s highest court. 

Security, health and equality are all very “Becoming” issues. And we will continue to monitor their intersection with our shared path here on “Becoming Today”. 

I began today by noting, our conversation will touch upon a few notes from President Biden’s “State of The Union Address”, saying I also want to explore how we can assist one another in assessing and strengthening the state of our individual  and personal unions.

Understanding that state in this reference is defined as “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time” and union is described as, “the action or fact of joining or being joined, in a club, society, or association formed by people with a common interest or purpose”, I ask you what is the State of Your Union?

We all have many, on different levels and of course they overlap. How “becoming” are your associations? Are they aligned with your core values and beliefs? What areas do you need tto work toward being more “Becoming”?

These are not ‘shoot from the hip’ issues and require reflection and thought. So I’d like to encourage you to do just that. 

Are you ready? Take some time to carefully consider each of the following questions. 

If you want to discuss, or ask for clarification or suggestions, please comment. Either publicly or ask via our Contact page.

What makes it truly exciting for you to get out of bed each day?

What three things in your life have made you the proudest?

Can you describe what and when have been the most defining times or events in your life?

What makes you truly feel like yourself? 

Are you living an authentic life?

Is there something you are believing that others don’t understand? Do “they” really need to?

What is the one thing you absolutely would do, if you knew you could not fail?

Do you understand who it is you truly, honestly want to “Become”?

Answer these questions, sincerely. You will only be lying to yourself if you don’t.

Then think about and write a summary statement of your declaration of what the  State of YOUR Union is.

President Biden summarized his by saying,

“And my report is this: the State of the Union is strong—because you, the American people, are strong. 

We are stronger today than we were a year ago. 

And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today. 

Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. 

And we will, as one people. 

One America. 

The United States of America.”

Tomorrow we’ll consider  ways to implement those objectives we identify in the states of our individual unions, ensuring that here along our shared path “we will be stronger a year from now than we are today”. Realizing that, “now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time”, and continue doing so together on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.   

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