Am I the only one who was hoping Donald Trump would skip the State of the Union address? The annual harangue to Congress, vernal solstice on America’s civic calendar, is provided for in Article II of our Constitution, which requires the president 'from time to time' to 'give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union'. That briefly meant a presidential speech, until the gloriously terse Thomas Jefferson dismissed it as too monarchical and began submitting a written update instead. This tradition, admirably low-key, persisted for more than a century until Woodrow Wilson revived the verbal address in 1913, one of the many reasons to curse his presidency.
Since then, the State of the Union has evolved from a speech into a flashbulb pageant of government in which those who are supposed to be most proximate to the people, our congressmen and senators, are reduced to golf-clapping animatronics, while the president soaks up their adulation a la Caesar returned from Gaul.