By Tom Ehrich

No, I don't plan to watch the State of the Union Address this evening.

I am keenly interested in its content and the direction it promises. I am interested in how it will provoke Republicans into outrage and threats of retribution.

I am glad to see President Obama stepping up to lead. There is something Biblical in his leading from weakness -- always the best posture for leadership.

But I cannot bear the thought of watching the address live. I have less appetite for watching clueless opponents rip it to shreds.

The theater of modern politics is a bleak tragedy. It is the posturing of little-chaps, epitomized by the smirk of Ted Cruz. It is old white men clinging to power but then doing nothing with it except holding out a bag for lobbyist donations.

It is the party of Lincoln declaring its utter fealty to mega-wealth and active animosity to all others.

It is the party of Roosevelt and Truman led by the frightened and bland.

The theater of modern politics is filled with meanness, schoolyard vengeance plots, and decent people caving too quickly and too easily to those promising cash for votes.

I understand that "decisions are made by those who show up." But sitting at the passive end of a television connection isn't "showing up." It's "watching," as Peter Sellers put it in "Being There."

"Watching" isn't the guarantor of democracy. "Showing up" means writing, speaking, marching, voting, and helping to get out the vote.