Trump: An Essential Man

Trump: An Essential Man. By Bruce Bawer.

Once upon a time, there was a president called Ronald Reagan — a model of decency and probity, at once great and self-effacing, who, above all, was truly in love with America and saw it as his sacred mission to preserve and strengthen American freedom. During his eight-year tenure, he revitalized the U.S. economy, snapped us out of what his disastrous predecessor had referred to as “our malaise,” and helped bring down the Soviet Union.

Then he walked off into the sunset. And for the next seven presidential terms, we had to make do with mediocrity and self-dealing. Both parties were dominated by crime families — sorry, I mean political dynasties. The Bushes were uninspiring. The Clintons were pure slime.

The 1960s had introduced a toxic counterculture rooted in reflexive oikophobia. It had grown apace ever since. The Bushes did nothing to resist it; Clinton himself was very much a part of it. In a famous speech at the 1992 Republican convention, Pat Buchanan warned that America was in a “culture war” — a “war for the soul of America.”

He was right. But he identified the primary enemy as gays. In fact, the culture war had nothing to do with gays. It was about, among other things, professors who praised Marx and kids who wore Che t-shirts. After 9/11, it was also about people who, not knowing a thing about Islam, whitewashed it and claimed that America had deserved the jihadist attacks.

Buchanan’s speech was a great gift to the counterculturists: it enabled them to paint the GOP as a party not of freedom but of bigotry. He wasn’t alone. There were plenty of Republican politicians who, instead of being clear about the nature of the culture war, lazily played the anti-gay card.

Meanwhile the real enemy within grew apace, all but unopposed.

Then along came Barack Obama. He was the enemy within. His memoir Dreams from My Father suggested that he had far more affection for Kenya and Indonesia than for America. His mentor, Jeremiah Wright, was a virulent America-hater.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama posed as a healer of America’s oldest wounds. He turned out to be a divider. Soon after taking office, he ran off to Cairo to tell pretty lies about Islam.

In the years that followed, the enemy within cemented its control over large swathes of academia, big business, and the news media. Poisonous academic notions about group identity, victimhood, oppression, and white supremacy went mainstream.

And instead of using his unique position as America’s first black president to resist all this, Obama encouraged it.

Enter Trump:

All seemed lost. Then Donald Trump came down that shiny escalator, introducing a campaign with a simple slogan: “America First.” …

For the first time since Reagan, we saw a worthwhile alternative to cowardly careerist politicians with no convictions and no cojones — pols who were, at worst, aggressively pushing a divisive, anti-American agenda and, at best, quietly overseeing America’s managed decline. …

The Bushes and Clintons had gotten rich as “public servants”; Trump, a billionaire, stood only to lose money by throwing his hat in the ring. …

Trump’s first term:

Quite simply, over the course of the Trump years, what had once been the counterculture, became the dominant culture, and went mad. …  The culture war had finally come to a head. In George Floyd, the former counterculture had found its unworthy martyr. In Trump, law-abiding Americans had found their hero. And the enemies within had shed their mainstream masks and were doing everything they could to bring the president down.

During his presidency, Trump has seemed almost to be acting alone, with members of his own administration and party lined up against him. Except in the final days of Richard Nixon’s presidency, when have we ever seen a president so alone? When in recent American history, except during the New York mayoralty of Rudy Giuliani, had so positive a turnaround been so obviously attributable to a single individual? …

Never — and this assertion seems unarguable — have so many Americans loved their president so much, or trusted him so implicitly, or been so certain of his genuine concern for their welfare. Watching Trump rallies on TV, I’ve often found myself thinking: if only Adams or Jefferson or Franklin could see this! …

This was the real thing — a good thing — a democratically elected leader being applauded by ordinary citizens from every imaginable kind of background for keeping his promises and for serving his people.

Uniformly, the counterculture-bred “journalists” who “reported” on these peaceful patriotic events depicted the participants as scum. Then, toward the end of Trump’s term, cities around America erupted in violent riots by members of what once would have been called the counterculture, and the same “journalists” depicted those participants as heroes.

2020:

Finally, the ultimate culture war atrocity: a manifestly stolen election.

The theft was breathtaking in the insane lust for power, and the contempt for opponents, that made it possible. It was stunning in its brazenness. …

The whole scenario is quite clear. They’re just like schoolyard bullies. Because Trump supporters are honest, good-mannered, and peaceable, they take us for wimps.

And alas, some old-line Republican members of Congress, who at this point are perhaps all that’s standing between us and a Biden presidency, are wimps — prepared to roll over to maintain a factitious peace.

The majority of our Supreme Court justices — who, against all logic, denied that Texas has standing to challenge the presidential vote in another state — are wimps, too.

With allies like never-Trumpers and Rinos, who needs opponents?

hat-tip Charles