After eight years of a presidency where the flag and anthem were seen as symbols of oppression and imperialism, the stance—yes, the stance of the incumbent is refreshing, if not wholly redeeming.
As some fold their arms in opposition to Donald Trump, one question ought to give them pause: Can thoughtful Conservatives imagine our beloved country with a different SCOTUS, an entrenched Obamacare, expanded Pro-Choice rules, stifled speech on campus and public spaces, strangled 2nd Amendment rights, and an aggressive America-Last foreign policy ten months into a Hillary Clinton administration?
The #NeverTrump crowd must find itself on an increasingly narrower edge of the political scape while their greatest allies are all to the left of them. Right side anti-Trumpers—and all of us—have had reasons to be disgusted with Donald Trump’s thoughtless Tweets, but none of us dare be caught with our philosophical noses in the air because of the trashy verbiage sometimes strewn around us.
Those with utter devotion to the Founders sometimes hear only their noble language defining our birth as a nation. Yet, the Founders, slavers many of them, religious bigots nearly all of them, and rights deniers to women universally, were imperfect men who launched our ship of state, tempest-tossed, to struggle for now, twenty-four decades, toward a more perfect Union. No one rejected Jefferson’s grasp of Louisiana because he was a slaveholding sexual predator. Few decried Jackson’s horrific acts toward Native Americans when our pioneers marched westward with civilization. The North did not spurn Lincoln as he sought to bind the Union, though he held that freed blacks should never be socialized with whites. Though Progressives would like to dynamite Mt. Rushmore, would we join them?
How well we know Mr. Trump’s imperfections, but a few notes about him tell us much. Morris Massey used to tell his audiences: What you Are is Where you were When. Donald Trump may have grown up with a silver spoon, to be sure, but on his was a crust of construction muck, as opposed to the polished, elegant silver borne of a name like Rockefeller or Vanderbilt. Not far back in his life are scars of the hard-scrabble, alley-fighting ethic that is the housing and construction business in New York City. As the wags note, in NYC, you are who you need to be at the moment to make the deal, and in a city where self-identified conservatives may seem somewhat liberal everywhere else, Donald Trump & Co. are the Gangs of New York in pressed suits.
While our sitting president makes no bones about the rough-and-tumble lingo of an excavation site where difficult bureaucrats and even more difficult unions block every move with costly, often silly obstacles, he has often failed to perceive that the language of his milieu has not transferred well within the limited characters of a tweet.
None of that is to excuse Mr. Trump for the basement manners he sometimes exhibits when hosting people in the parlor. Viewing him an unreconstructible, street-fighting bully, however, would be a mistake. Street-fighter though he is, his months in office show more and more he can be a quick-study when politesse is required, yet Never-Trumpers serve us well insisting he stay on his A-game when representing all of us in the parlors of the world.
This past Friday the 13th was more than lucky for him. Driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike toward Washington, DC, for a meeting of conservative thinkers, I heard his in-tune words before the Values Voters Summit, where he stood, four square, with principles dear to the hearts of anyone anywhere right of center. Vowing his administration “worships God, not government,” lovers of liberty had no doubt about their champion, and roared their approval.
Later, the president’s speech decertifying the so-called Iran deal was a master stroke at once signaling Iran and its surrogates, as well as Congressional hand-wringers and media gainsayers there is, once more, a real leader in the West. His recitation of a well-researched litany of Iranian transgressions against civilized behavior in the Middle East and around the world, left no doubt in any sensible listener’s ear that decertification, without renouncing the deal outright, was a sound decision. Of course, Spiro Agnew’s tone-deaf “nattering nabobs of negativism” at once leapt to their mics.
In those two efforts, while neither of them Reaganesque, Clintonian, or Obamian in elegant phrasing, his simple words added luster to the principles of liberty with every punctuation mark. While Mr. Trump must become more sure-footed along the political road less traveled, he was the only candidate who could and did reset the table with policies tastier to those of us on the right side of center.
As an America injured by two terms of Obamian fecklessness, should we refuse the outstretched hand of the Samaritan with a history we may have been taught to disdain? Should we fortress ourselves behind our own ethnic, racial, or religious biases, shunning an ally, however imperfect, against the Progressive onslaught on ordered liberty?
As Ed Feulner of The Heritage Foundation might say—though he may or may not have been referring to Mr. Trump when he said it Friday evening—and this is a paraphrase—“we conservatives should be grateful even if the ‘wrong’ people do the right thing, and never should we allow Perfect to be the enemy of Good.”
Just as birthing the republic was a messy, dirty business, no less will it be to keep it. So, when a prickly-edged Trump steps up to stem the Progressive tide, will the rest of us not roll up our sleeves and give him a hand?