Tuesday, when you see President Obama give his State of the Union address, you will see four things: the president entering the hall, the president ascending the rostrum to be greeted by the vice president and the speaker of the House, the president giving his speech and the reactions of members of the Congress and others in the hall.
Here is the one thing you will not see and probably have never seen. You won’t see what is behind the president and above the vice president and the speaker of the House. And because you won’t see it, you won’t know that you are missing something of surpassing importance.
Think about it for a moment. Why do television cameras never pull back and give a wide-angle view of the president delivering his speech? That is certainly routine for TV: It is considered uninteresting to TV viewers to have a fixed view of a subject.
Why, then, have almost no Americans ever seen what is located above the president, the vice president and the speaker of the House?
I discovered the answer when I attended President Obama’s speech on health care to a joint session of Congress.
I saw chiseled in the marble wall behind the speaker and vice president, in giant letters, the words “In God We Trust.”
My immediate reaction was to wonder: Why had I never seen that before? I have, after all, been watching presidential State of the Union addresses for about 40 years.
Here is my theory — and I say “theory” because I cannot prove it.
A generation of Americans has been raised to regard any mention of God outside the home or church as a violation of the deepest principles of our country. To the men and women of the left-leaning news media, in particular, “In God We Trust” is an anachronism at best, an impediment to moral progress at worst. The existence of those giant chiseled words so disturbs the media that, consciously or not, they do not want Americans to see them.
I do not for a moment believe that there is any conspiracy here.
In some ways, I actually wish there were. I wish a handful of media executives had gotten together and conspired to instruct their various cameramen to avoid a wide-angle view of the president.
But, alas, no such conspiracy is necessary. The words “In God We Trust” emblazoned in giant letters behind the president of the United States just don’t sit well with the secular media. So you won’t see them.
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