The Democratic Party’s response to President Trump’s State of the Union speech emphasized unity and the strength of the American people without once mentioning Trump by name.
The response did not specifically target many of the remarks Trump made in his address, but did extent a hand specifically to Dreamers, the thousands of young immigrants whose presence in the country is under threat due to the ending of the DACA program.
“To all the dreamers out here,” said Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) at the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River, Mass. “Let me be absolutely clear.” He then said, in Spanish, “You are part of our story, we will fight for you, and we will not walk away.”
The response began by focusing on the American spirit, but quickly moved on to emphasizing the failures of the current administration and the fracturing of the country.
“A government that struggles to keep itself open,” he said. “Russia knee-deep in our democracy, an all-out war on environmental protection, a justice department rolling back civil right by the day. Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets, bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations, targeting our safest sacred places and this nagging, sinking feeling, no matter the political beliefs, that this is not right. This is not who we are.”
Kennedy painted an image of an administration attempting to force Americans to turn against each other.
“They’re turning American life into a zero sum game, where for one to win, another must lose…We’re bombarded with one false choice after another…The coast, or the heartland. As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh, the teacher in Tulsa and a daycare worker in Birmingham are bitter rivals rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged towards those at the top.”
He then offered the Democratic party’s answer: “We choose both.”
“We fight for both. Because the greatest, strongest, richest country int the world should not have to leave anyone behind. We choose a better deal for all who call our country home.”
The response called out several recent social movements, including Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, declaring that the actions of everyday people, “more than any law or leader, debate or disagreement, that is what drives us towards progress.”
“Bullies may land a punch or leave a mark, but they have never, not once in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength or the spirit of a people united.”
“Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make,” Kennedy finished. “Our country will be judged by the promises we keep. That is the measure of our character, that is who we are. Out of many, one…The state of our union is hopeful, resilient, and enduring.”