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Political Cheat Sheet: What Is the State of the Union Address?

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address on February 7, 2023

Is it like a physical address? What’s going on at that address? Is it a sick party? You wish.

So every year the President of the United States gives a speech during a joint session of the United States Congress. Joint session? That sounds like weed is involved. Is there weed involved? Are they hotboxing the Capitol building? No, the Capitol got hot enough on January 6.

Sadly, a “joint session” just means that both the House of Representatives and the Senate are present. So, what does the president talk about during this joint session? Does he finally give the physical address to some sort of dope warehouse party in Brooklyn? No. He doesn’t. Instead, he talks about boring stuff. Like the economy.

He also takes the opportunity to talk about the current goings-on in the country, and tells the nation about his priorities and just what kind of laws he’s attempting to put in place. He talks about America’s place on the world stage. He talks about international affairs. And he talks about the domestic challenges that the country is currently facing. Basically, he talks about everything but the location of a sick warehouse rave. And that, my fellow Americans, is the real national tragedy.

Why does the State of the Union address exist?

But presidents don’t just give the State of the Union address every year because they feel like it. It’s required by law. There’s a whole clause about it in the Constitution! The State of the Union clause says the president must “give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” I guess industrial raves don’t fall under the “necessary and expedient” category, though I’d argue they are both.

The president only began to give the address in person in 1913, when Woodrow Wilson spoke directly to the U.S. Congress in order to rally support for his executive agenda. Before 1913, the president provided a written report, which must have been even more boring. Imagine having to read a 1,000-page paper about the country’s budget when all you want to do is throw ass to techno in an abandoned grain factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Again, a tragedy.

It wasn’t until Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the State of the Union Address was given every January at a joint session. It makes sense, FDR loved to smoke. Just look at his long cigarette holder! And you can’t tell me tobacco was the only thing he was puffing on during those “joint sessions.” No sir.

Where Is the State of the Union address given?

The State of the Union address is given in the House of Representatives Chamber in the United States Capitol, which is a way more boring location than the aforementioned Red Hook grain silo where they’re bumping acid house well into the dawn hours. Maybe someday the president will decide to use the State of the Union addresses to give the actual addresses of these dope parties. But as long as our nation continues to value a “stable economy” over “ketamine in the bathroom,” those days are a long way away.

(featured image: Jacquelyn Martin-Pool, Getty Images)

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