The State of the Union is like that annual meeting where the boss says it was a triumphant year as the business continues to be overleveraged. And in that spirit this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, upon completion of the charade de hubris shredded her meeting (speech?) handout into tiny pieces behind the Commander-in-Chief, as he finished his remarks to the applause of half the room.
The optics were stellar or childish depending on who you talked to. Democrats hailed Pelosi’s actions as a brave act of defiance earning Pelosi a #Resistance brand on her left shoulder the next time the ‘Squad’ has a meeting. Republicans called her actions classless and made the novel argument that likened tearing a piece of paper across a deceased individual’s name to spitting on that person’s grave. Twitter and spin rooms truly are the laboratories of idiocy.
What Pelosi may or may not have realized is that she has opened the door for the State of the Union to be a playground for political stunts and community theater. What was once a subtle reluctance to stand at an applause line or an attire choice if you were in the opposition party has become a full on political act and that was from a Congresswoman about to turn 80. Now, just imagine the future for a moment when the social media savvy generations take power. I don’t think I am overreaching when I suggest these five likely scenarios:
- It’s the year 2030 and Matt Gaetz is either the House Speaker or the Vice President to a second-term Ivanka Trump when he decides a great way to play to his base of north Florida frat lords is to draw wieners on an Etch-A-Sketch and subtly show his art to the C-SPAN audience. The New York Post headline will be incredible.
- If climate change somehow hasn’t killed us in 12 years as predicted, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is voted Speaker of the House and sits behind a first-term President Dan Crenshaw. Midway through the speech, AOC pulls out a bottomless birdcage from beneath her desk and places it over her face as a protest of US immigration policies.
- The not-so-distant future is even more interesting as perhaps as early as next year, Nancy Pelosi pulls out a white board and begins using a dry erase marker to tick off lies she perceives from the president. All the while, Vice President Mike Pence, in Love Actually fashion, pulls out a desk of placards that he flashes the camera with a thousand yard stare: ‘America…’, ‘I did my best’, ‘I’m exhausted too’, ‘Please forgive me’, ‘For I have sinned’, ‘And I met evil’, ‘And could not resist’, ‘When…’, ‘Before this speech tonight…’, ‘I was in a room…’, ‘…Alone…’, ‘…With Nancy Pelosi’, ‘For 45 minutes’, ‘Without my wife.’
- In 2028, media ratings have plummeted in the post-Trump TV era. In a last ditch effort to spare the State of the Union from the same brutal culling the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner suffered, Fox and their foes will advocate for a red-carpet type entrance with elected officials attempting to mimic Hollywood celebs in undoubtedly frumpy fashion — though it will be unclear why the Speaker chose to wear the Gritty mascot costume.
- This year, the Trump administration orchestrated a medal of freedom ceremony and military reunion live in the audience. This means that if Trump is reelected, Trump will put Tiffany Trump’s boyfriend on the spot for a live proposal in front of Congress, Oprah 2028 will have a voucher for a new Tesla Muskmobile under each seat, Lord Bezos will have his speech delivered to him via Amazon drone and Lizzo will be asked to perform the national anthem.