David Olliver via Donald Trump’s Congress speech
There are moments in the movies when everyone’s expectations for a character are turned completely upside-down.
Of course, when these scenes happen in the movies, they are by definition scripted–and they are often delivered wrapped up neatly in sickly-sweet little packages of “personal growth” festooned with ribbons of uplifting, motivational messages and life lessons that every sentient audience member above the age of six saw coming an hour before.
But when they happen in real life, when someone changes his or her tune so drastically as to cause mouths to fall agape and eyes to pop out, it is usually the people around that person who are learning the life lesson all of a sudden: perhaps, they think, our expectations for this guy were limiting. Perhaps we were incorrect about him; perhaps we were being short-sighted.
Such appears to be the case in the wake of President Donald Trump’s epic, historic speech delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives on the last day of February, 2017, some 40 days into his term.
Leading up to the event, the tension among the punditocracy was palpable. The mainstream media was practically salivating as they tossed out bold-faced conjecture as to what Trump might say, what wacky aside he might deliver off-the-cuff, what fact or figure he might get wrong in the heat of the moment offering them a chance to pounce.
However, as evidenced by the stunned reaction from the press, the stammering confusion from the Democratic establishment, and the visible relief on the faces of House and Senate Republicans in the hours and days following the speech, it is apparent that what Trump did was nothing short of hitting a home run.
But it’s easy to judge the historicity of this momentous speech–one that will surely go down as being among the greatest ever delivered by a President to the Congress and the people–through the shallow lens of style over substance. That is just what the media wants, that is just the level where the mainstream establishment in the press as well as the deep-state government wants to keep all discussion about President Trump.
And granted, the president is a showman by nature and by dint of his many, many years before the camera. He knows how to generate headlines, he knows how to garner attention from the baleful, unblinking eye of the media monster.
Despite this history, or perhaps because of it, it might behoove us to take a moment to do something crazy: maybe we should actually think about what he said.
What? Take the president’s words at face value and analyze them, giving him the benefit of the doubt for just a second that he might have meant what he said?
Sounds like crazy talk, especially if you are one of those who gets all their news from a mainstream source.
Still, let’s indulge ourselves, shall we? What did President Trump say about the problems facing America and the world, what solutions did he offer, and what implications might these proposals have? Here are a few of the main points at issue.
- Obamacare – The odious giveaway of hard-earned Americans’ dollars to the insurance companies known as the Affordable Care Act (or colloquially as Obamacare) may very well be on its last legs, if President Trump’s speech is any measure. He gave Congress a green light to deal with the “imploding Obamacare disaster” by lowering costs and improving benefits, but here’s hoping they find a way to start from scratch and create something more equitable that doesn’t pick the pocket of every American by presidential fiat under threat of penalty and funnel their hard-earned money into the already ballooning bank accounts of insurance company CEOs and board members.
- Immigration – The new Administration’s policy roll-out on immigration has not been without controversy. But the president was quick to defend the ramped-up deportations, beefed-up border patrols, and other increases in ICE activity. And he did so in an entirely reasonable manner, one which the mainstream press will have difficulty painting as unhinged or driven by cruelty or cynicism. Indeed, it was on the subject of immigration where many think President Trump sounded his most “presidential:” by tying the new deportations policy to the shifting sands under U.S.-Mexico relations as they pertain to NAFTA, Trump managed to point out what many have been missing in the debate over immigration reform all along: it is very much an economic issue. Even just by enforcing current immigration laws, the President said, we can “…raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions and billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone.”
- Economy – This is a big one, if not THE big one, so buckle up, buckaroos. The President did indeed “inherit a mess,” as he put it in his own inimitable way. But you wouldn’t know it to read the mainstream press. The media, beholden as they are to serving the needs of the calcified elites of both parties and maintaining the feel-good image that everything is and has been hunky-dory all through Obama’s tenure, love to cite certain figures. They say there has been nothing but unfettered economic growth since 2009; they say unemployment at the end of Obama’s second term was at 4.8 percent; they like to note that an average of 200,000 jobs were added to the economy every month for the past 76 months. But try telling that to the people living between the coasts. Heck, try telling that to the people who live ON the coasts–the ones who work two or three jobs as baristas and bike messengers and waiters, yet who pay $2500 a month to rent a closet and have student loan payments to boot–in other words the ones who are not invited to dine in trendy restaurants with blow-dried CNN and NBC poo-bahs. What they don’t tell you is that most of those new jobs added by Obama were low-paying, service industry, part-time jobs with no benefits. Or that the Labor Department has made a policy of cooking the books on employment figures for years, such that anyone who has given up on looking for full-time work after a year without a job is no longer counted as unemployed. But as has proven the case since the beginning of Trump’s historic and unlikely triumphal run, he has an ear to the ground when it comes to middle America, and those who have been most hurt by the “great” economy of the past eight years. President Trump’s inspirational call to “restart the engine of the economy” was no doubt met with applause and perhaps even a few tears of joy in what the elites refer to behind closed doors as “flyover country.” By implementing his plan that includes job-creating tax cuts, eliminating shady foreign trade deals like the TPP–already killed!–and reworking the details of NAFTA, and by firing up the domestic economy and employment with a much-needed trillion-dollar infrastructure program, President Trump offered more reason for economic hope in under an hour than his predecessor did in eight sluggish years.
- Tax reform – Going hand-in-glove with helping to pull the nation out of the morass of eight years of the Obama economic ennui is President Trump’s groundbreaking, innovative tax reform proposals. While the details are still being hammered out by the Trump team, the President did assure a financially struggling nation that he is working on “…historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone,” including a “big, big cut” and “massive tax relief for the middle class.”
- Education – Citing education as “…the civil rights issue of our time,” President Trump drew a strong line in the sand, issuing an edict to Congress to pass an education bill that would increase school choice dramatically. The appointment of well-known school reform crusader Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education is sure to shake up the bureaucracy, especially following Trump’s fiery rhetoric on the subject.
- Military – But in what was perhaps the most touching and poignant moment of the entire evening, Trump pointed out Caryn Owens, the widow of a former Navy Seal, William “Ryan” Owens. Mrs. Owens broke down in tears as the entire Congress applauded her husband for minutes on end, after President Trump praised him for doing valuable work when he was killed in the war to defend America against terror in Yemen. Trump’s pledge to increase the Pentagon’s budget by some $54 billion is also a godsend, desperately needed money for our common defense in a volatile time when the world is changing so rapidly that even the best-equipped military in the world has to scramble to keep up with the array of threats facing us.
Indeed, a historic sense of unfettered joy, hope, and the sense that a new dawn awaits the U.S. and world was palpable in the wake of this historic speech. Take for example lines like this:
“A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning,” Trump said. “A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.”
The power of such a message should not be underestimated, especially in such a dark and dangerous time for democracy and the world.
Domestically, Trump’s vision of reinvigorating moribund industry and reclaiming millions of good jobs that have been outsourced overseas is a pitch-perfect prescription for what ails middle America. The economic engine of the U.S. during the post-war boom wasn’t to be found in the plush board rooms of Wall Street; it came out of the hard-earned money spent by millions of ordinary Americans, spent to purchase products made by other Americans. By losing sight of this simple mathematical formula over the last 40 or so years, Democrats (and let’s face it, Republicans too) have led the masses into a blind gulch where there is no money to spend and no American products to spend it on. Thus the economy itself has been outsourced, much like all those industry jobs Trump plans to bring back.
As far as the international picture is concerned, Trump’s unwillingness to play go-along get-along with the Deep State’s madness of wreaking havoc all over the globe is a welcome relief. As the President stated in an earlier interview, “…wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?” Given that they have the nuclear capability to destroy all life on the planet several hundred times over, yes, it certainly would. A new dawn for foreign policy, one that is considerably less bellicose and looks inward rather than outward is also much appreciated, not only by those who would prefer not to live in a nuclear wasteland, but surely also by soldiers and families of soldiers who have fought for unclear and dubious purposes in the Middle East for nearly two decades now.
All told, it is difficult to overstate how well-received the speech was. Pundits across the political spectrum were fairly gushing with praise, not only at the change in tone from the President, but also at the promise of a new dawn on an American epoch that has long been denied. Some choice examples of praise for the President’s speech:
“Here is a word not often said about @realDonaldTrump: measured. The honest conclusion tonight is that he delivered a great speech.” — Michael Smerconish
“Time for Democrats to put their contempt for the new President aside and come together for the sake of America.” #JointAddress — Kayleigh McEnany
Indeed, given the effusive tone of the media response to the speech, it is entirely possible that this may be a turning point in the relations between the Trump Administration and the press. Again, how crazy is that, the idea that we and our servants in the Fourth Estate might actually give the duly-elected President of the United States a chance to make his case?
Which leads to the real question underlying all of this: What will it take to make America great again? That is of course an open-ended question, one that will offer as many different variations of a correct answer as patterns that can be seen in a kaleidoscope.
But one thing everyone seems ready to agree on, both left and right, is that with this speech and this new tone of seriousness and comity with the press, President Trump may well be on his way to remaking the nation in ways we can only imagine.