Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“State of Disunion.”

Like every president before him, Donald Trump announced that the state of the union is strong, his Queens accent giving double count to the last word. But this is what presidents are expected to say. Could you imagine an American president saying anything else? What if a president dared speak a simple truth that the state of a union is broken or that it was?

If politics is part pageantry, it’s also essentially the art of division between parties. One party crows, the other party simmers. That great student of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his classic 1835 work Democracy in America, opined the parties by which the union is ministed do not rest on abstract principles but upon temporal interests. These entrusts disseminated in the provinces of so vast an empire may be said to constitute rival nations rather than parties.

de Tocqueville was writing these words just a few years before the union burst into its ugliest war, the U.S. Civil War. He was feeling and sensing in the air of great discontent like now. The discontent, often due to the steering pot of politics by Trump, is palpable. Party versus party. Nation versus nation. This unity, the very essence of politics. Trump, his chin jutting into the air, projected the politics of fear of others, mostly of brown people, dark invaders. Let’s be honest. There is no state of the union. There’s only a state of disunion.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.