Trump's Inaugural: America for Americans!
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the patriotic pageantry of Inauguration Day gave way to the demonstrations of defiance Saturday, our new America came into view. We are two nations now, two peoples.
Though bracing, President Trump's inaugural address was rooted in cold truths, as he dispensed with the customary idealism of inaugurals that are forgotten within a fortnight of the president being sworn in.
Trump's inaugural was Jacksonian.
He was speaking to and for the forgotten Americans whose hopes he embodies, pledging to be their champion against those who abandon them in pursuit of higher, grander, nobler causes. Declared Trump:
Is this not true? American wages have stagnated as scores of thousands of factories were shut down or shipped abroad. Five of the six wealthiest counties in the U.S. today, measured by median household income, are the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Inaugurals should lift us up, wailed the media, this was "dark."
And Trump did paint a grim picture — of "mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash but which leaves our ... students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime and the gangs and the drugs..."
With America's political elite sitting behind him, Trump accused them of enriching "foreign industry," not ours, of subsidizing other countries' armies but neglecting our own, of defending other nation's borders while leaving America's borders unprotected.
Then, in the line that will give his address its name in history, he declared: "From this day forward it's going to be only America First."
Prediction: Trump's "America First" inaugural will be recalled as the most controversial, but will be among the most remembered.
What did Trump mean by "America First"?
"Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."
Ronald Reagan talked of America being a "shining city on a hill" for other nations to emulate.
John Quincy Adams declared:
"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled there will America's hearts, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher of the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
When the Hungarian patriot Louis Kossuth came to America seeking aid for the revolution of 1848, Henry Clay told him:
"Far better is it for ourselves, for Hungary, and for the cause of liberty, that ... avoiding the distant wars of Europe, we should keep our lamp burning brightly on the western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction among the ruins of fallen or falling republics in Europe."
What Trump was saying in his inaugural is that we will offer our free and independent republic as an example to other nations, but it is not our providential mission to reshape the world in our own image.
"We will reinforce old alliances" that are in our interests, Trump declared. But we are approaching the end of an era where we fought other nations' wars and paid other nations' bills.
We will no longer bleed and bankrupt our country for the benefit of others. Henceforth, America will be of, by, and for Americans.
Is that not what the nation voted for?
Copyright © 2017 by by Patrick J. Buchanan and Creators Syndicate. All rights reserved.
Patrick J. Buchanan is an American paleoconservative, political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior advisor to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. His latest book is The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
© 2017 Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation