As part of my membership in the Watcher’s Council, I get the opportunity to contribute to the weekly council forum, the most recent of which concerned President Trump’s inaugural speech. I’ve written about the speech already (twice, actually), but I took yet another approach in the forum and would like to share it here. In addition to reading my take, I also strongly urge you to check out, not only this week’s forum, but all of the offerings at WOW! Magazine, which is a collaborative effort featuring some stunningly good conservative bloggers.
I thought the speech was masterful. It represented a return to founding principles contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Lincoln summarized the core principle in his Gettysburg Address: Unlike all other nations, now or in the past, America is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Trump opened by reminding the people that government has become a self-serving entity that has no regard for the people’s needs — and their needs are great. Trump promised to return government to the people: to make it smaller and more user-friendly, rather than a vast behemoth that serves a narrow Blue segment in Washington, D.C., and America’s more expensive enclaves.
The speech also put America first in a way that we should all understand. “America First” does not mean nationalistic world conquest. In fact, when America is coming first, it means the opposite.
Since WWII, America has born the responsibility for caring for the rest of the world. It willingly shouldered that burden, both because it was the last intact First World country standing after WWII and because it saw its responsibilities as part of its own battle against communism in the Cold War.
Sadly, in exchange for America’s blood and money, the rest of the world has responded with insults and attacks. Moreover, now that the Cold War has officially ended and America is engaged in a hot war with radical Islam, the rest of the world — except for Israel — is not only insulting America, it’s routinely aiding and abetting this existential enemy. Even worse, for the last eight years, our own president provided aid and succor to anti-American forces through the world.
It is time, therefore, for America, at least temporarily, to stop being the world’s banker, policeman, and nanny. America has exhausted its financial resources and good will on a singularly ungrateful world. America needs to see to its own needs. That is, it really must put itself first if it is to survive. Once America has regrouped — strengthened its economy, secured its borders, and increased its national security, including helping its few stalwart allies around the world — then, and only then, can it see whether its future wealth and security will benefit from venturing forth once again into the greater world.
One last thing: For all the accessible vocabulary and sentence structure — that is, this was not an academically complex and erudite speech — it’s worth noting that Trump managed to pack an amazing number of important principles into those 20 minutes. As I learned long ago reading Supreme Court opinions, the best ideas, principles, laws, and facts are the ones that can be expressed in the most straightforward terms. When a writer or speaker gets very complicated and starts spinning vast webs of words, that person is outright lying to you or at least hoping you’ll miss various sins of omission.
You can read here what other WOW! members had to say about the inaugural speech. They express a number of different viewpoints, but all of them give the inaugural speech positive reviews and are pleased with where our nation is heading.
UPDATE: I just realized that Trump actually harked back to the Founders in another way. This is from George Washington’s Farewell Address: