A Magnificent Speech

A Magnificent Speech, by Roger Kimball.

Looking back on the 2020 election, historians will say the Mt. Rushmore speech was the moment that Donald Trump won reelection. …

The president’s speech — perhaps his most forceful and eloquent to date — vibrated with the same energy and existential commitment that fired Lincoln in March 1861. …

Just as Lincoln spoke on the eve of civil war, so Donald Trump spoke in the midst of widespread and organized violence against the emblems and the spirit of the American promise. …

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this…”

The president was especially strong in challenging what is perhaps the most obnoxious manifestation of our petulant antinomianism—that species of politically correct intolerance that has come to be called “cancel culture.” In essence, cancel culture is the malignant inversion of liberalism’s defining virtues, openness and tolerance. It is born of historical ignorance and a stunning lack of empathy — an ironic fact, since one of the chief premises of cancel culture is its own supposed superior sensitivity. …

As the president noted, [cancel culture] is wielded as a weapon, “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.” In a word, cancel culture is “the very definition of totalitarianism” and is “completely alien to our culture and our values.” It should have “absolutely no place in the United States of America.” And here is where his speech took on a steely seriousness. “This attack on our liberty must be stopped,” he said, “and it will be stopped.”

In short, the president has promised to cancel cancel culture. …

“In our schools, our newsrooms—even our corporate boardrooms—there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished. Make no mistake: this left-wing Cultural Revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.” …

We know that all of our most pathological cities have been run as Democratic monopolies for decades. Donald Trump had the temerity to point this out. We know that our public schools are increasingly factories of left-wing, anti-American indoctrination. The president had the temerity to point that out as well. The narrative is that Trump is a crude and bumbling ignoramus, but can you imagine Joe Biden or any other Democrat in office today having the moral courage and clarity of mind to say this:

“The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities run by liberals, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country — and to believe that the men and women who built it, were not heroes, but villains. The radicals’ view of American History is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”

There were many other great moments in the Mt. Rushmore speech. I especially liked what the president had to say about that popular tool of moral blackmail, “social justice.”

“The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of Social Justice,” he said. “But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion.” …

Finally, I liked what he said about equality.

“We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God.” Again, can you imagine any Democrat saying that — any of it? It has often been pointed out that black lives do not matter to the Black Lives Matter movement, which is really just a gigantic machine for hoovering up money from left-wing donors and despoiling the institutions and emblems of our civilization. …

The gospel of the radicals assailing our society today is a gospel of self-abasement. The president preaches a different message: “We stand tall, we stand proud — and we only kneel to Almighty God.”

A turning point?

Looking back on the 2020 election, historians will say that last night’s speech was the moment that Donald Trump won reelection. It was a magnificent speech that will, I predict, take an honored place in the library of great American political addresses.

At the time, almost no one recognized Lincoln’s Gettysburg address for the landmark moment it later became.

via Tip of the Spear