For those listening to the parade of pundits pontificating over President Trumps inaugural address, the words most often heard were dark, dismal or even bleak. A few hearty leftest even associated it with Adolf Hitler. Even political insiders on the right seem to be taken back by the “pessimism” showed. The consensus across the board seem to be that it was a populist manifesto of sorts. While a bit populist, and not really conservative, it was certainly not bleak at all.
For those within the DC Beltway, the Obama years have been the best of times. For those in the hinterlands of America, it has been far from. With so many living in multi-generational households, and even more lost in a downward spiral of reduced affluence, Trump’s speech was one of hope, not despair. Like Bill Clinton’s famous I feel your pain, Trump reached out to those that DC simply didn’t understand. For the millions of Americans hurting after 8 years of Obama, the President’s acknowledgement of their tribulations comes as a soothing salve to wounds long laid bare. He let them know that not only did he feel their pain, he could put voice to it as well.
His speech wrapped up with words of hope and unity. Unlike the divisiveness of Obama, he talked of change for all Americans. He mentioned the plight of the inner cities that have long suffered the blight of crime, gangs, and failing schools. Subjects too taboo for other politicians to touch. Surprisingly, even the race baiting Jesse Jackson recognized the value in what he said. The truth is, the speech was the exact opposite of what the pundits have said.
In his call for American unity, the masses heard a voice of hope. His promises, although wrapped in hyperbole, let them know they had finally been heard. On the other hand, those whose lives have been untouched by the economic malaise, nor took to heart the regular brow beatings of the previous administration, the speech seemed strange. These are, after all, the same people who watch in passive acceptance the massacre of Christians, and the desecration of cultures. Things that broke the heart of most Americans. The purveyors calling the speech dark likely believe that the President’s words were a mischaracterization of the Obama years. To these disconnected souls, members of the Washington, media, and Hollywood elite, his words were dead as stone and as cold to the touch.
The Trump speech has shown, like nothing else, the disconnect between the heartland, and those who profess to lead the country. Those who heard darkness and foreboding in his words are most certainly living in a bubble. On the other hand, what most Americans heard was acknowledgement of pain long ignored and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Of course, some pundits went beyond being bubble blind. Those that liken the speech to Hitler, or called it somehow anti-Semitic (not noticing that a rabbi gave one of the benedictions), were the most bizarre. One could make the argument that, like Hitler, he spoke to people’s pain and unflinchingly laid out who to blame. There is of course a major difference, he did not dig up some boogeymen, or point fingers at a blameless group. Trump correctly called out those who had set policies and turned a blind eye to those who suffered under them.
There is much to criticize in the new president, but his speech was not one of them. Even on the right, some opined that he did not use the words “Freedom” or “Liberty” like previous Republicans. None of these mentioning that two of his three balls were named just that (Freedom and Liberty). The truth is, President Trump is a mixed bag. While his wild temperament might bring to mind Andrew Jackson, his policies echo those of progressive icon Teddy Roosevelt. Consequently, there are both things to applaud in the new president and to watch. Conservatives and libertarians should certainly cast a wary eye on his government expanding ways. Internationally, his continued insistence on exacting booty from adversaries is the same insanity that meant continued warfare in Europe for centuries. America is not a nation of pirates, nor should it be a pariah nation seeking to dominate and rape others (that role falls to Russia and China). Nonetheless, the liberal response to him is completely unglued. Insane is an appropriate adjective for how they are reacting, but, then again, they have never been all that stable to begin with.
Time will tell if President Trump will be able to accomplish half of what he has promised. One thing seems to be certain though, his ability to make liberal minds explode means there will be at least four years of unparalleled entertainment.
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