It really does not matter whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat, I am always fascinated by the late January ritual in Washington, the State of the Union. Obama first real one fulfills my simplistic expectations of a brief love feast between irreconcilable enemies. All the usual cliches and paraphernalia are present, but this year I was sensitive to two in particular.
Obama was received warmly by the Republican appointed Chief Justice. I know, I know, they all play their part but yet there seems to be enough sincerity and respect between the two guys to make that moment, shall I dare say it?, institutional.
The other thing that hit more than usual is that no one besides the army chiefs wore medals. That republican simplicity where many a Senator is different from the President just because he may be wearing a better tailored suit.
Of course I am just a Venezuelan where today such a spectacle is simply unthinkable. When my president gives his state of the union speech, he arrives with all sorts of medals and ribbons on his chest. The other powers of the state seat on his side and look subdued enough in a silly pretense of equality that fools no one. In America the Speaker watches from above and the Chief Justice observes from below. The symbol is not lost, no matter what party holds which spot.
In America Congress applauds or only one aisle. On occasion the other aisle may groan some, but the President makes his speech. In America the President is the center of attention but the other attendants are not mere stone guests. In Venezuela it is all about my president. In the United States of America all is there to try to avoid the president becoming the bloated howling monkey that mine has become.