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Here’s What The ‘153’ Pins Mean At The State Of The Union Address

Written by on 03/08/2024

In a wide-ranging address that lasted more than an hour, President Joe Biden used his 2024 State of the Union to launch his campaign for reelection. The speech covered everything from building infrastructure to the war in Ukraine, and there were various symbolic gestures made by those in attendance to advocate for one issue or another.

SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

What did 153 mean at the 2024 State of the Union?

153 stands for the number of days that hostages taken on Oct. 7, 2023, have been held in Gaza. It was the number of days since the attack on March 7, 2024, when President Biden delivered the speech. In this case, the symbol appears to have just been something like a nametag that had 153 hand-written on it, but it apparently sent the message well enough. Representative Brad Schneider was apparently behind the idea, and passed the tags out to several dozen Democrats.

Many of those Democrats apparently decided to wear the stickers, which is why they showed up on TV with such frequency. Of course, that was far from the only political gesture being made during the speech. Marjorie Taylor Greene showed up decked out head to toe in Make America Great Again gear, and many other Republicans wore pins designed to deride the president and his policies.

The war in Gaza has been a major lightning rod for President Biden.

President Biden waited until near the end of his speech to address the war in Gaza, which is the issue the stickers were referring to. The war has been a remarkably fraught issue for the president, in part because of Israel’s disproportionate response to the carnage of Oct. 7. Since then, more than 30,000 civilians have been killed in Palestine, many of them civilians who had nothing to do with Hamas’s initial attack.

As the stickers make clear, amid that carnage, Hamas still has many Israeli citizens as hostages, and Israel’s efforts to rescue the hostages through operations haven’t been successful.

That’s part of the reason that Biden has been pushing for a six-week ceasefire that would pause the fighting and allow hostages to be released. A ceasefire would also allow for increased military aid to Gaza, which is experiencing severe food shortages.

Biden’s strategy hasn’t been popular with voters, which is part of the reason some voted uncommitted for him in primaries across the country. Over the months before the election, Biden will have to work to win some of these voters back if he wants to win the general election. In Biden’s speech, he certainly spent plenty of time hammering his opponent in 2024. Biden’s hoping that at least some of those blows will land.