A brief shining moment of unity
The bipartisan chants of “USA, USA!” echoing through the congressional chambers were encouraging.
It was one of several rare moments in which Republicans and Democrats overcame their deep differences and stood as one at last week’s State of the Union address.
Heading into the speech, President Donald Trump had hoped for a show of some bipartisan agreement to accent his “Choosing Greatness” speech, the official White House theme for the address.
“This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. … No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together,” he said in a preview to reporters.
The president received three consecutive standing ovations from the Democratic women who were dressed in white to celebrate 100 years of women having the right to vote.
“No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year,” Trump said.
The female lawmakers rose and cheered, congratulating themselves with self-aggrandizing high-fives for filling many of the open congressional seats after last November’s elections.
Trump had a good one-liner.
“You weren’t supposed to do that,” he joked about their spontaneous nonpartisan reaction.
The 13 people invited by the president and first lady who “represent the very best of America” were responsible for other unifying moments.
Diagnosed with a rare brain tumor last year when she was 9, Grace Eline was the youngest to receive a standing ovation. She entered chemotherapy last May and was pronounced cancer free in October.
A White House press release told how Grace stayed positive and strong through her own ordeal, visiting hospitals to cheer up other patients, and always having a smile for the many caring medical professionals who treated her.
“Everyone who knows Grace would tell you that she has always been special. Wherever she goes, she brightens the room with her kind heart and infectious smile,” it stated.
The president told how she requested donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in lieu of gifts on her birthdays since she was 4 years old. Grace beamed when she heard the president announce that his next budget will include $500 million over the next 10 years to fund new children’s cancer research.
Seated next to Grace for the president’s address was Joshua Trump, a sixth-grader from Delaware who was invited to the State of the Union address after getting bullied for his last name.
Also honored were three World War II veterans — Joseph Reilly, Irving Locker and Herman Zeitchik — who participated in the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day; Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, who was one of 17 sailors lost when terrorists attacked the USS Cole 18 years ago; and Timothy Matson, a Pittsburgh Police officer who survived multiple gunshot wounds during a synagogue shooting last October.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted the American flag on the moon almost a half century ago, also earned applause from both sides of the aisle.
According CBS News poll, 76 percent of Americans who tuned in approved of Trump’s visionary speech while just 24 percent disapproved.
The president’s hope for unity lasted about 16 hours as House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, announced he would be leading a sweeping probe into his campaign’s possible coordination with Russia and his personal finances.
A famous line from Camelot states: “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”
We can apply that to last week’s State of the Union speech by changing the end phrase: … “for one brief shining moment, the legislative branch of government showed unity.”
By Jim Zbick | email@example.com