A lot of your normal TV isn't on tonight. New Girl won't regale us with the antics of a group of debatably under-matured 30-somethings, Trophy Wife won't give us our dose of wacky mixed-family sitcom hijinks, and The Voice won't allow us another chance to indulge our culture's obsession with singing competitions. No, instead, in just a very short while, President Obama will stand up in front of America and give his State of the Union Address. And so while some shows — Supernatural on The CW, for instance, or Ravenswood on ABC Family — may be charging forward in that same time slot, you should probably just this once turn away from them and pay attention.
Look, I know just as well as anyone the special allure of the Winchester brothers on Supernatural — I've been known to whine on the regular that Jensen Ackles will never get the recognition he deserves for his performance as Dean Winchester. And I hear Ravenswood is dishy goodness.
But this is more important. And I don't say this as some fuddy-duddy looking to lecture you on your choices of entertainment, or to suggest that you don't otherwise pay attention to the happenings of the world. This is only to say that, while all of these things will likely be available for streaming tomorrow, only one of them is a mass cultural event of political importance.
A hopefully incredibly large number of Americans will be tuning in to the State Of the Union tonight. So hop on twitter, or facebook, or tumblr, or whatever social media site you consider your Internet hometown, and follow along. You'll get some truly memorable jokes out of it — if you follow the right people on Twitter events like this can be just as entertaining as any sitcom, but with a real-world impact. And as this CNN piece points out, with the upcoming midterm election this State Of the Union's likely to be a lot more vital than the last:
The 2014 speech is viewed by strategists in both parties as part of a defining test: Can Obama rebuild his standing enough to force action on some of his priorities, or will 2014 instead be remembered as another frustrating year of gridlock and the gateway to "lame duck" status? To that end, many see this speech — this wish list — as potentially his last chance for significant action.
[...] The stakes are enormous: As the President delivers his speech, the odds — and the early election year data — suggest Republicans will not only keep their House majority but also have a good chance to capture control of the Senate.
[...] The White House says its No. 1 political goal this year is protecting the Democratic majority in the Senate. Yet that goal — blocking Republicans from a net six-seat gain — could significantly complicate the President's policy agenda.
In other words: There's a lot of Democratic hopes riding on tonight. There's also a lot of policy and thought, from income inequality, to the Affordable Care Act, to immigration, to Iran and Afghanistan. If you want to be able to keep up with what people are going to be talking about tomorrow, it's best to watch tonight. Supernatural will still be there tomorrow.