NewsUSAOn heroes and judges as graves: Biden's speech from within Congress

On heroes and judges as graves: Biden’s speech from within Congress

Attending the State of the Union address from the press box (gallery, in Washingtonian jargon) is a lot like watching an orchestra play a couple of meters above the place from which the director / speaker, President Joe Biden He pronounced it this Tuesday night. Glued to his baton, in the front row, were the strings: the violins (the members of his cabinet) and the violas: present and past magistrates of the Supreme Court, who were the only ones who remained silent as tombs during the concert, impassive by the obvious obligation to implicit political neutrality in their positions.

Behind them, the rest of the interpreters sat down: clarinets, tubas, flutes, oboes or percussionists Democrats (on the right) and Republicans (left). Tonight it was easier to distinguish one from the other than usual.

The first rose to applaud as if equipped with a spring in their legs as Joe Biden reviewed the achievements of his first two years in the White House and called for unity to continue delving into his agenda. It was his second speech as president and also a test of his doubtful abilities to run for the White House, despite his advanced age (he turned eighty in November) and despite the fact that the polls do not exactly speak of the enthusiasm of the voters, themselves and much less oblivious, before the idea.

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In the midst of the atonal symphony, from time to time, the orchestra hit the same note, when the conductor ushered in some of the evening’s soloists: the guest list for a solemn ceremony that has been held 98 times in the House of Representatives, which, so icy, seemed more like a cold room (turning the air conditioning on full: another deep-rooted American political tradition).

In the grandstand of the honorees were Bono, singer of the Irish rock band U2 and leading global activist, sitting next to Paul Pelosi, husband of Democrat Nancy Pelosi. This attended the president’s speech for the first time since the pit that gave him his position as speaker of Congress to the Republican Kevin McCarthy, who, by the way, was seen to enjoy like a child with a new toy; specifically, that toy was a mallet with which he called to order during a session that passed on reasonably civilized terms.

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Paul Pelosi suffered last November the attack of a fan who appeared at the marital residence in San Francisco in search of his wife and armed with a hammer. Biden quoted him to talk about the dangers that, in his opinion, beset American democracy due to episodes like this. That threat is one of his fetish themes, which he took advantage of to cite the assault on the Capitol (it took, yes, 36 minutes to cite the name of Donald Trump). During the attack, Pelosi suffered a skull fracture, and attended the speech wearing a hat, despite the fact that house rules forbid it.

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To the left of Bono and Pelosi was Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old “hero” who, during the recent Chinese New Year celebrations, disarmed the guy who had just killed 11 people in a dance hall in Monterey Park (California). and prevented an even greater tragedy. On the right, he listened to the words of President Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States. She was already invited last year, when Biden’s first speech came six days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Almost a year later, the end of the war seems far away, but the US commitment to the kyiv cause remains unwavering.

At the end of the speech, which was close to an hour and twenty minutes, RowVaughn Wells was sitting in a corridor of Congress, her face tired and her tears dry, as if she had just passed another stop on her particular ordeal of tragedy and attention. media.


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