By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
On February 28th, 2017, a remarkable thing happened which will reverberate through America's history for many years to come. Donald Trump, adjudged by many to be an accidental president, and condemned by millions for his lack of presidential stature, strode to the plate that is the well of the House of Representatives and knocked the ball out of the park.
As he spoke, the media, who have judged him with often undue severity, sat back, relaxed, and watched an unexpected phenomenon taking place. This was not the Donald who astonished and embarrassed the nation with his vulgarity and incendiary remarks. This was not even the man of his inauguration as president, just a few weeks before. No indeed. Here we now have a president who delivered the finest State of the Union address not just of recent days, but back to Ronald Reagan's 1982 speech, which set the bar for what any president delivering the State of the Union address must say and do.
However let's be real clear about what I am saying. I am telling you, and if you are willing to heed my message, and not let your own preconceptions drag you to an unhealthy and biased conclusion, that here was a man doing what every president must do, that is grow to fit the public's expectations, and use the powers of this most powerful of offices to move a nation.
I imagine that most journalists who are expected to comment on the speech, both as it was delivered and when it was concluded, expected more of the same, for 99% of journalists who approach the subject, the man, his mission, thought, quite frankly, that he was not up to the job... that he had made too many mistakes in the first six weeks... that he had too many problems with his appointments and with his staff.
Every time he tripped, the expectations about the man fell. And you could see from the media covering the event that they were bored, for they knew absolutely everything about the man and his capabilities, and none of it was good.
Then something almost miraculous occurred. The man was not incompetent, as many have said. He was not a bigot, as so many have said. He was not a prime example of the Peter Principle either, namely:
"the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and 'managers rise to the level of their incompetence.'"
No, he was not an example of the Peter Principle. Instead, he was an example of the Trump Principle... that is to say that he would do whatever is necessary to solve each pressing problem, environment, immigration, healthcare, etc. This common sense approach plays to Trump's strengths. And so, each media source was forced to recognize, before the very eyes of the vast audience across the world who saw what was happening and were forced to acknowledge the vision and determination of a man they had despised just days before.
Hanging out in America's 8th most Democratic city.
I come from a city called Cambridge, Massachusetts. Perhaps you have heard of it. It delivered the 8th highest concentration of Democratic votes in the 2016 election. It is arguably the most vehemently liberal community in the nation. 88% of the voters voted for Hillary Clinton. About 6% voted for Trump, including me.
My colleagues, when they heard this news, treated me as a man whose vital senses had gone haywire... that I must have lost my marbles... that I couldn't possibly be serious about my choice... and that they would all come by in a kind of lamenting rotation to make sure my temperature and general mien were not worse, if that were even possible.
For some days after this event, even after we knew he became the president elect, I remained shut up, incommunicado, not available. It was not merely that I did not wish to hear their opinions, but I grieved for such intelligent people behaving as they were. They of course pitied my lapse in judgment, and sometimes used the hottest and most wounding of words.
The argument went something like this: Trump is not a team player. Trump's facts are often skewered and outright inaccurate. He shoots from the hip, which is his most prominent body part, save only his mouth. As these fetid comments and so many more circulated and recirculated around the globe, the great mass of liberal voters showed their true colors and allowed themselves the luxury which they would not allow for the president.
One night I had one of these vehement and uninformed specimens for a drink. For half an hour or so I listened as this man poured forth the vile of the American Left... that Trump was a fascist, that Trump was a neo-Nazi, that Trump hated Jews, that Trump hated blacks, that Trump hated gay people, that Trump despised women... but they never mentioned the most important point of all... that Trump loves America. Thus if your vision of America is not his, yet nonetheless he is the president and entitled to your respect, if nothing more.
I asked my visitor, "Has Donald J. Trump broken the Constitution? Has he deprived you of your right to even your most superficial and uninformed opinions? Has he given away himself to an avalanche of hatred, prejudice, or just plain bile? No, he has not." And that is appropriate, for I long to see how his vision of America grows and develops, the focus being always on the challenging, the bold, and on projects which are not easy, but are always necessary and essential.
I have stood in my Harvard Square home across the street from what bills itself grandiloquently as the World's Greatest University, and I have felt shame for the students, ragamuffins every one, who have taken to the streets to denounce policies and an administration which has broken no Constitutional subject, and which understands that changes cannot take place without great visions and unsurpassed energy and tenacity.
It has been clear to me for some time that most every student in America looks back to the bloody, scrambled days of 1968, where the classic model of liberal dissent was forged. That was living if you were on the Left.
You learned from these chaotic days that bathing wasn't necessary, that illegal drugs were mandatory, that insult always trumped rational argument, that you bore no responsibility for anything, for it was your God given right to raise mayhem without proof, and to gather in thoughtless mobs, the elements of your facile credo all that was necessary. This was not a political movement, it was the antechamber to any psychiatrist's office you care to name.
Every generation since those turbulent times of 1968 ensures that it too can rouse the scruffy and superficial to the level of mottos and epigrams, for only a few letters are needed to make a fatuous point. Thence, to raise your right hand in firm salute and scream “Say it loud! Say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!" or any other of the thousands of cursory sayings which passed for thoughtful study and considered opinion.
We are in an unhappy period of history in this great nation, where thought is deemed unnecessary by the thoughtless, where an opinion immediately stated by the "right person" is immediately right and never wrong, where to be of any other moral, political, or religious point than your own is unthinkable and is certain to generate arguments delivered on spittle, with violence and hostility.
For these people, Donald Trump is serving as the finest enemy one could ever imagine for the next four years at least. The Left will continue to disdain rational discussion in favor of laziness and sloth, with nary a common sense and proven principle necessary. Their goal is not to govern, it is to make all the functions of government grind to a halt because of their capricious thoughts and actions. Thus, this saying: "What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot through the ages."
But does this make any sense? Donald Trump bears the responsibility for maintaining and building a greater America. The unwashed will want nothing more than slogans without sense, and a nation that supports them in so many ways that they do not support at all.
Donald Trump is a builder, and I want to tell you something about what that means. In his State of the Union address, he gave numerous signals as to where his brain and heart are. He is a builder. My grandfather was a builder. My uncles were builders, too. Builders create for eternity. They do not bandy trivial points. Their goal is to take a place of promise, even one boarded up and shuttered, and turn it into a showcase where people can work, or live, or even read a book.
Donald Trump is such a man, as two examples prove. The first president that Trump cited in his speech was Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln, had the Civil War never taken place, still would have gone down in history as a significant figure. Why? Because of his support and leadership on the Morrill Acts of 1862. These acts, in brief, created a national network of colleges and universities dedicated to the practical arts of agriculture, science, military science, and engineering.
These institutions took young men principally from rural occupations to creating an infrastructure, providing education for the elite that built the nation.
The second president cited by Trump was Dwight David Eisenhower, not in his role as general and hero of Normandy, but for his adamant support for the great ribbon of highways that bound Americans together.
And so, Trump, in his telling speech, gave us a very clear idea of what he will do, and why he can become one of the greatest of all presidents. That's right, I said greatest of all presidents.
Now the cards have been dealt. Trump stands forthrightly for maintaining, improving, and fighting for a nation that works, not for some spineless assembly whose members cannot bear the thought that they were wrong, that they are wrong, and that they will continue to be wrong until they look at the facts squarely, without rancor, with integrity... a thing they have been unwilling to do... preferring their parlor games of destruction and division.
Of course, one speech does not an administration make. But this speech is a line in the sand. If he pursues the themes outlined on February 27th, 2017, you will see such a period of American prosperity as may be called the Golden Age. Wall Street, for one, has already declared its belief that such a period is coming, as one record close after another of the Dow Jones makes clear.
Already the selfish and foolish behaviors of Trump's knee jerk critics, which were page one news just short days ago, look like artifacts from a dim distant past. The idiom indeed has changed. Now, Trump, against all odds, is the person to beat not beat up; carping criticism of him looks not merely ungenerous, but a clear indication of how picayune and small minded the Left in America has become.
These are the beginnings of the great age of a greater America. Now, if you look squarely at the facts, we are beginning to see that Donald Trump, despite every flaw, defect, blemish, and imperfection, will lead us to a new and better place. This is the prediction almost no one would have been foolish enough to make just days ago, but which is now our exciting new national reality.
About the author
Harvard educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is well known internationally as the author of over 1,000 articles and over 60 books. To see all of his works go to www.drjeffreylant.com.