The State of the Union address is on television right now, at least if you live in the United States. And since it is important, it is on every channel, except, oddly enough, CSPAN. Yet, no one is watching it. And that is kind of a sad thing. But I know why.
First of all, half of the people in the country aren't watching because they hate the President. And I don't mean cold, straight, hate, which baffles me. It is fine to not like the man's politics, but I have never seen such a visceral personal reaction to a President before. I don't think that people were calling Truman an asshole out in public. Maybe in private but not just out in public. But that is why half of the nation isn't watching.
Second, there are a bunch of people out at work. And it is important to recognize that. There is a HUGE number of people who work late or odd hours that make this country go around and get shit done. And they aren't watching because they are working. So that is a bunch of people who aren't watching.
Third, and here is the big one: television. Network television. And cable television. ABC. CBS. CNN. CSPAN. ESPN. Fox News. MSNBC. NBC. PBS. All of them. Here is the problem with all of those networks: They are going to tell you what was in the speech. Sure, they are all going to put some sort of slant on it that fits their agenda, but you can choose whatever slant you want. Left. Right. Despite the fact that all of these networks, ESPN excluded I am sure, are currently showing the speech, most Americans won't be willing to sit through the whole thing, with all the weird clapping, watching Joe Biden and John Boehner mugging in the background, and synthesizing what the President says into their own opinion when they can just hit the "guide" button on their remote and have their opinion given to them. If this were the corporate world, we would say that doing things this way is much more efficient.
Fourth, the Internet. If you maybe don't have all those channels, then you are just going to go on your smartphone and get your opinion there. Even if your opinion is that the President is a puppet that is controlled by Communist aliens from the shadow of Jupiter. You can get that opinion out there somewhere I am sure.
So no one is watching, but it's on every channel, and we really SHOULD be watching. And the weird thing is that the fact that no one is watching is probably the most telling fact about the state of our union of them all.