At the State of the Union address, nearly every sentence is met with applause, either from one side or the other, and sometimes both. But last night, there was one moment in which the audience met a sentence obviously intended to be an applause line with profound silence instead.
RHRealityCheck In the middle of an applause-sandwich, when the president referred to this country’s commitment to “reject[ing] offensive stereotypes of Muslims,” the room fell silent. The discomfort was palpable. It wasn’t that applause was tepid; there was no applause at all. For every member of that audience—consisting of all members of Congress, the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and many other honored guests—the notion of rejecting offensive stereotypes for Muslims didn’t garner a single clap.
Here’s the section:
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, [applause] and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained [applause]. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world [applause]. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace [DEAD SILENCE]. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender [applause]. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer [applause].