SOTU: Trump’s speech a combination of positive and negative tones

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As I See It

By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO

US President Donald Trump’s state of the union address last Tuesday night had a combination of positive and negative tones! While calling for bipartisanship on the part of the legislators, he likewise insisted that his border wall be funded stating that “walls work… walls save lives” and then criticized them for “ridiculous partisan investigations”.

The wall was the bone of contention during the temporary government shutdown in December which lasted for 35 days, where Trump surprisingly signed the reopening of the government without any border funding. This time, however, he stood firm of his position for the legislators to fund his border wall in his almost an hour and a half state of the union speech.

As a duly elected President of the United States, I still don’t understand why President Donald Trump is still making negative/divisive approaches in governing the country, instead of encouraging legislators or leading them to work on a compromise bill. Obviously, what he wanted is to impose on things he wanted to do such as funding the border wall, among others!

Surely, this is not leading or acting as a duly elected president but imposing things he wanted to do. He is telling them what he wants and if they work otherwise, he will not sign the proposal. Did he ever forget that Congress is a co-equal branch of the government with that of the Office of the President?

When he signed the bill to reopen the government two weeks ago, he acted like the duly elected president of the United States… I think. He somehow considered the plight of the 800,000 federal employees who were directly affected by the temporary government shutdown. The bill that became a law didn’t have any money for his wall. This time, when the law lapses on February 15, he kept on saying that he will not sign any proposed bill should there be no money consideration for the physical wall. It’s nice to hear though that he didn’t mention declaring state of national emergency to build his wall should he rejects the negotiators’ proposal.

I would say, let the Group of 17 work as an independent legislative body, so they can concentrate on all possible options that will secure the US, not minding what president Trump like or don’t like. They should not be tempered by any outside force or threat, not even coming from the president, but work with the best of their abilities as independent lawmakers to solve the issue.

I would also suggest that President Trump stop making negative/divisive comments or statements that will derail the negotiations and divide the country more.

If he is for national security, I think the legislators are also for national security. The only problem is they differ in implementing the same, where Trump wanted a physical wall while the legislators don’t. This is where the negotiations will come in. Their thinking is beyond the border wall! National security refers to the security of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, and is regarded as a duty of government, which both the two branches of the government are doing.

Okay, potential causes of national insecurity include actions by other states (e.g. military or cyber attack), violent non-state actors (e.g. terrorist attack), organized criminal groups such as narcotic cartels, and also the effects of natural disasters (e.g. flooding, earthquakes). President Trump kept on mentioning terrorists and criminals infiltrating the caravan or passing through the border, so it is a threat to national security. He did not give proof whatsoever and there is no sign of organized criminal groups or terrorist attacks. I think he is anticipating these things should there really be infiltration within the ranks of the caravan.

In view of the wide range of risks, the security of a nation has several dimensions, including economic security, energy security, physical security, environmental security, food security, border security, and cyber security. These dimensions correlate closely with elements of national power and the ability to incorporate them to secure the nation.

Physical barriers such as fences, walls, and vehicle barriers act as the outermost layer of security and pikes atop a barrier wall act as a deterrent to people trying to climb over the wall. Latest inspection of some members of the Gang of 17 who went to the southern border of Mexico and the US showed that there are already existing fences and vehicle barriers but what Trump want is concrete border wall. These physical security features serve to prevent, or at least delay, attacks, and also act as a psychological deterrent by defining the perimeter of the facility and making intrusions seem more difficult. Trump, in his state of the nation speech, acknowledged the wall is being built already and in the process of completing. So, why ask for more wall funding? I think, instead of funding for physical border wall, all we need is security funding for high-voltage transformer fire barriers, security cameras and other sophisticated security equipment and more personnel to guard the border.

While Trump called illegal immigration ‘an urgent national crisis”, he likewise urged Democrats and Republicans to find a compromise by February 15 deadline. “Let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe,” he said.

So, somehow, there is hope… there is a positive tone for a workable settlement of the issues for as long as our duly elected executive and legislators are given the chance to act as one, the representatives of the people and working for the welfare of the people.

Let the negotiators continue to arrive at a compromise and I think, Trump, just like what he did in reopening the shutdown, may somehow be dictated by the people’s welfare in signing the compromise bill the legislators will send to him for signature.

Even the Democrats’ response to Trump’s speech delivered by Georgia leader Stacey Abrams who unsuccessfully run for governor and was selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver the response, show some hope of cooperation, “… while we disapprove of the president’s stand on immigration and the wall… we will recreate America stronger together…

America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants… not walls”.

Let’s build America together!

(For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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