As I write this, US president Donald Trump has yet to deliver his 2020 State of the Union address. For two reasons, we don't have to wait for that speech, or for the Democratic response, to discuss the state of the union.
First, we know that he'll say what presidents always say (the state of the union is strong, etc, because of his policies) and that the Democratic response will be the standard opposition party response (the state of the union would be better if we were in charge).
Second, we neither need, nor can we trust, Trump or Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer to truthfully and accurately advise us as to the state of the union. Politicians lie, and the landscape around us is littered with evidence from which we can form our own, more well-informed, opinions.
Two such pieces of evidence — one from each "major" political party — stand out this very week.
First, the Republican Party is in the process of formally ratifying the principle of fuhrerprinzip: "Complete and total authority is vested in the Fuehrer [leader] .... The authority of the Fuehrer is not limited by checks and controls, by special autonomous bodies or individual rights, but it is free and independent, all-inclusive, and unlimited."
This ratification is evident not only in the impending vote to acquit Trump versus an air-tight impeachment case, but in the results of the 2020 Republican Iowa caucuses: 97% of participants supported Trump versus all opponents, in spite of the fact that his misrule militates against virtually every principle the GOP pretended to stand for as recently as three years ago.
Second, the Democratic Party is in disarray — not just technically, as evidenced by its inability to count Iowa caucus votes in a timely manner, but over the wrenching dilemma between offering America the status quo (a "moderate" candidate like Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg) or the status quo on steroids ( a "progressive" candidate like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren) this November.
If the state of the union depends on partisan politics to secure Americans' rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it looks like we're screwed. Those things aren't on credible offer from either "major" party.
The Republicans offer us enslavement to their three-year-old cult of personality; the Democrats, enslavement to their octogenarian cult of bureaucracy.
Flip a coin. Heads, authoritarianism wins; tails, freedom loses.
Or vote Libertarian and win a free country.