Donald Trump’s presidency began with a bang.
Leftists hated his words. And they will hate his actions even more.
Trump actually puts America First! – and the Left has gone bonkers. Leftists recoiled in reactionary horror.
Trump has tapped into a patriotic fervor which terrifies the Left and exposes its anti-American values and anti-democratic impulses.
Trump’s (First) Inaugural Address
Trump’s inaugural address was short, a mere 1,459 (powerful) words. The longest address, at 8,460 words, was given by William Henry Harrison, who died 31 days later from complications due to pneumonia. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth address was the shortest at a meager 559 words.
In his address, Trump drew a line in the sand – a demarcation line between patriotism and globalism, between national sovereignty and cosmopolitanism, between American exceptionalism and obeisance to a New World Order.
Trump posits American primacy and polity above international diplomacy and appeasement. And Americans love it!
Charlie Kirk observed, “Donald Trump’s speech used the word ‘we’ 45 times and the word ‘I’ three times,” suggesting Trump’s ego may succumb to his new role as Commander-in-Chief.
(Will Trump’s new position as President transform Trump into a better man as he seeks to Make America Great Again? Will he grow into a selfless leader for a higher purpose? We can hope and pray.)
The Hartford Sentinel highlighted these inaugural words: “Will (40), America (17), American (12), people (9), nation (9), country (9), again (9).”
Trump’s Dark, Dark, Dark Inaugural Address
Responses to Trump’s inaugural address varied: hysterical fear from the Left, jubilant enthusiasm from the #AmericaFirst crowd, and cautious optimism from formerly #NeverTrump.
Open borders enthusiasts like Forbes bemoaned “the most bellicose inaugural address ever given” with its “incendiary rhetoric,” “dark vision of America,” and “extraordinarily dark rhetoric.”
Hearkening back to the alleged “angry white males” of the Bill Clinton era, Forbes claimed: “Trump’s angry, determined, and take-no-prisoners speech was astonishingly dark in tone, matching his campaign speeches – and by far the darkest inaugural of the past half-century.”
(How would Leftists have responded if Forbes had used that very same dark language to describe any of Obama’s speeches?)
The Washington Post also lamented Trump’s dark choice of words, which included:
“sprawl, ignored, windswept, overseas, tombstones, rusted-out, trapped, neighborhoods, landscape, flush, carnage, unrealized, robbed, stolen, likes, listening, hardships, transferring, politicians, reaped, stops, subsidized, disagreements, bedrock, Islamic, reinforce, solidarity, unstoppable, brown, mysteries, arrives, politicians, hire, infrastructure, trillions, depletion, allowing, disrepair, redistributed, tunnels, stealing, ravages, issuing, bleed.”
Zero Hedge similarly grumbled about Trump’s word choice, providing its own list of words never before used in a presidential inaugural address:
Many deplored Trump’s use of “carnage,” a word wholly appropriate and accurate in describing the violence in America’s Democrat-run metropolitan areas.
Snowflakes want the whole world to be a safe space. Normal people in the real world want freedom.
(Quartz Media provides a database of every presidential inaugural, listing the most frequent words used in each one. Homework assignment: compare the inaugurals from Reagan to Trump.)
The most jarring moment for me was in Trump’s salutation: addressing and thanking, among others, the “people of the world.” That phrase, reminiscent of Obama’s “citizen of the world” rhetoric, ran counter to Trump’s America First! theme.
Trump’s appeal to the hearts of Americans – America First! –is neither unhealthy nor immoral.
Nevertheless, Leftists responded in typical fashion. Blue Virginia offered up an inaugural word cloud showing the predominance of America, American, country, and people in Trump’s speech.
Blue Virginia also condemned the substance of Trump’s message, writing: “Donald Trump’s inaugural address: will go down in history as the infamous, hyper-nationalist, chest-thumping ‘America First’ speech, I bet.”
Even Bill O’Reilly called Trump’s speech “militant.” But it’s only divisive or militant if you disagree with the content.
Trump’s America First! Agenda
What does “America First!” mean?
Is it a nefarious plot to create a racist authoritarian state? Does it inspire national hubris? Or is it a response to the anti-American ethos of so many of America’s political, cultural, and economic elites?
In reality, American First! is both populist and conservative.
It is populist in that it is popular with the average America-loving American who believes in American exceptionalism, American values, and American ideals.
And it is conservative in seeking to restore and preserve the best of what America was and can be.
How will Trump translate his words into actions?
Trump proclaimed patriotism, protectionism, and nationalism. Patriotism and healthy nationalism are good things. Protectionism is not.
Unfortunately, in being America First!, Trump misapplies some American principles. His protectionist instincts are counterproductive and contradict the very principle of liberty upon which America is based. Free markets deserve to be free. Liberty necessitates the free exchange of ideas and of products.
Moreover, America is not an island and must not become isolationist.
Evil was allowed to fill the vacuum left by Obama’s retreat from world affairs. Obama’s “leading from behind” failed abysmally. Absent an American presence of strength in the world, evil will continue to grow and thrive, inevitably becoming an ever clearer and more present danger to this nation.
Trump also must not ignore the reality that America needs her allies and other relationships which are mutually beneficial. To neglect or discourage them would be disastrous. Fortunately, Trump pledged, “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism.”
Trump appears to recognize that the United States is much more than an “I” – it’s also a “We.”
We, the People – with deep roots and relationships with our allies (e.g., Britain, Israel) and certain alliances (e.g., NATO). (In contrast, Trump is correct in diminishing – or abandoning – the United Nations, which is not an ally and is more often than not anti-American.)
Nevertheless, our new president’s prioritization of American interests at the head of the queue is both laudable and a necessary course correction from the previous administration and decades of progressive dominance in politics.
A Re-United States?
Michael Barone argues that Trump’s nationalism can ultimately reunite the American people, noting, “a healthy nationalism can bring people together.” Barone quotes Trump, who said, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”
For a strong America, we need to restore and strengthen the American identity, American values, American ideals, and American independence.
Trump concluded his address:
“Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America.”
As Captain Jean-Luc Picard was known to say: “Make it so.”
[A new book, #NeverTrump: Coulter’s Alt-Right Utopia, sheds some light on the #OnlyTrump movement and its Alt-Right constituency. It is now available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2fzA9Mr.]