Tonight President Trump should be delivering his State of the Union address, and I should be excited to live-blog it drunk, in a manner befitting the executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association.
Alas, the president ran into a little scheduling snafu and he's not giving the speech for another week. Next Tuesday, I'll likely be too preoccupied by travel preparations—I'm leaving for Sydney the next day—to witness the spectacle at all, let alone write about it.
Luckily, as ever, the only reliable way to assess the state of the nation is through transcripts and accounts of hundreds of state of the village addresses, by the mayors and city managers of every hamlet in America. Every year for almost a decade now, I've read every one I can get my hands on and written the most salient roundup I can for the biggest publisher who'll take it—a couple of years ago, The Atlantic.
This year, I felt the national mood was best captured by a single state of the village meeting, in Jacksonville, Ill. In fact, I felt the state of the American soul was sized up by one man's account of that political palaver. A young radio reporter named Blake Schnitker, who describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as "an ambitious print and radio journalist with exceptional writing and editing skills, as well as significant experience in delivering comprehensive, deadline-driven news stories on a number of topics," delivered an atmospherically accurate rundown of the Jan. 10 affair, on WLDS 1180 AM radio.
Young Blake is pictured at right. A transcript of his broadcast [and his approximate thoughts while writing it] appear below.
Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard, South Jacksonville President Harry Jennings and Morgan County Board Chairman Brad Zeller shared the podium at South Jacksonville Village Hall last night for the League of Women Voters State of the Village, City and County Address.
All three leaders shared some statistics and figures from 2018, went over some of the highlights of the past year, and touched on some of the future projects each government entity hopes to move forward with in the coming year.
[If you wanted to know which statistics, which highlights or which projects, you'd have attended the meeting yourself.]
Starting with South Jacksonville President Harry Jennings, one of the major highlights for the Village over the past year included major improvements to several parks.
[Which improvements? Which parks? You want Sy Hersh, read The New Yorker.]
Chairman Zeller says that, among the talking points in Morgan County over the past year deals with the Animal Shelter.
[Yeah, that sentence doesn't actually make sense, but the only people who are listening to this are truckers passing through on I-72 and old people who are in too much pain to sleep.]
In terms of the city of Jacksonville, Mayor Ezard says the major highlight of the past year was the new water plant.
[Yawn that transitions into the burp it was always meant to be.]
All three of the local leaders addressed the crowd, then stayed and answered a number of questions from members of the audience.
None of the questions, it would appear, came from young Mr. Schnitker, who had heard all he needed to hear—and all that his years in this weary, half-hearted country have led him to expect.