Instead of delivering a true message of unity, President Trump stuck to his well-practiced playbook, which calls for pitting progressives against conservatives, rural versus urban and the wealthy against the poor.
His address outlined a jingoistic nightmare of international issues — a border wall with Mexico, talks with the Taliban despite continued violence in Afghanistan, and crediting himself with avoiding a nuclear standoff with Korea — which still intends to develop and deploy nuclear weapons against America.
Again and again, the president contorted statistics to tout an economy that has made the rich richer, and the working class wondering how they will educate their children, purchase a home and retire.
Today, those living in rural communities, waiting for a raise, waiting for a path to prosperity for their families ask President Trump — “What about us?”
What about the roads and bridges that carry rural commuters to their jobs?
What about the farmers literally giving their cows away because milk prices have tanked?
What about the global markets cut off to America’s innovators due to steep tariffs caused by a trade war sparked by himself?
Why does New York only see 87 cents on the federal tax dollar returned for programs that create jobs, feed the hungry and assure healthcare and housing for those who would otherwise go without?
What we saw last night was lip service, and not even good lip service that promises an empty framework. The president’s words are reflective of how he’s handled the office for two years — all show and no substance. This is not reflective of the needs, will or work ethic of America’s rural communities.
To paraphrase the president, he alone can’t fix it. He and his Republican colleagues in Congress can be a part of the solution. We will them to fix it, but we won’t hold our breath as the federal government hurtles towards another shutdown on Feb. 15, despite the hurt the first one caused.
New York State Young Democrats Rural Caucus will continue to work on the grassroots level to elect representatives in local, county state and federal government who want to work as hard as the people of Upstate New York.