The Gawker Guide to the State of the Union Guests
Every year, the president of America, Barack Saddam Hussein Obama, and other congresspeople choose a handful of Regular Joe (or Josephine, Jose, Josefina, etc) American citizens who have suffered some sort of trauma and/or are representative of an issue to take part in the Constitution's greatest mandate: that the president "shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Cool... but have you ever heard of texting?
Sometimes the people the president and the congresspersons choose to attend this dog and pony show are strange—do some of these folks really deserve to be there, sitting among the likes of our fine legistlatresses and security personnel? Likely not.
Well, let's evaluate. Here, we rank this year's "normal person" attendees in order of deservedness, from least deserving to most deserving. If you weren't invited, better luck next year.
Astronaut Scott Kelly
Scott Kelly is the brother of Mark Kelly, also an astronaut and husband to Gabby Giffords. He will soon go to the International Space Station for one year. My take: Send both brothers to space—forever. And then cancel NASA. Goodbye.
Reese Witherspoon played her in a bad movie based on her book. She was just at the Golden Globes with Reese. Now she is going to the State of the Union as a guest of Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Cheryl's getting around. Her inspiring message seems to be: "don't just hike a trail—sell out! It is the only way to get people to love you." I guess that is pretty American. I support it.
Rebekah Erler, a middle-class mom who wrote Obama about her day-to-day struggles
Idk seems like things are fine for her?
Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS
Obama is proud of CVS because they stopped selling tobacco this year. However, the line for their pharmacy on 9th St. in Brooklyn is always deathly long. I'm not sure how I'll meet death, from smoking or standing in that line (even though I don't currently smoke), but I know it will be one of the two, because I'm going to have to start smoking from the stress of standing in that line. But now I have to go to another store to get cigarettes, putting stress on my body and my brain, and the walk back from the other store is downhill and what if the sidewalks are icy and I fall and break my neck? And I die, all because CVS no longer sells cigarettes. And it will all be Larry's fault. Fuck you Larry. I'm basically dead now, because of you.
The Columbia student who has been carrying her mattress around campus with her to raise awareness of sexual assault will be attending as a guest of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. However, she won't be bringing her mattress with her, so really, what's the point. I think the mattress should be the honored guest of Sen. Gillibrand at the State of the Union. Sen. Gillibrand can carry it, foisting it off on every congressman who she thinks is a rapist. Now that's what I call performance art!
Victor Fugate, average man who wrote letter of his opinions to Obama
Sure... why not.
Gross's release last month from a Cuban prison signaled a thaw in Cuban-American relations, which had been very bad for a very long time. Gross was jailed in Cuba in 2009 while bringing communications equipment to religious groups there. In prison he lost a great deal of weight and most of his teeth. His freedom and good relations with Cuba are quite exciting! Alan Gross should give the State of the Union, and we should all go to Cuba for free.
Zamora, 21, was brought illegally to the country as a one-year-old, but under Obama's immigration policies she and her parents have been able to stay in the country and work, a thing that Republicans hate. Yes, immigrants like Ana Zamora, who is getting her degree in business administration and dreams of managing an apartment complex someday, are definitely something to fear.
Bryant, a 13-year-old Chicagoan, wrote in his letter to Santa this year: "All I ask for is for safety. I just wanna be safe." Somehow, Barack Obama intercepted his letter (?), and then Michelle insisted he come to the State of the Union. Santa! If you are reading this, Malik is trying to get in touch with you.
Here is what I like about Chelsey: 1. She goes to community college, which is the smartest decision in terms of college; 2. She is bringing her grandmother to the speech; 3. She almost didn't go to the speech because "she wondered whether it was important enough to skip class." Chelsey gets it. You and grandma deserve those seats, Chelsey. Enjoy it. Live it up.
[Photos via AP and Getty]