This column appeared in the January 23, 2017 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
By: Scott Jennings
Forget everything you’ve heard about a divided, polarized nation.
Forget the policy differences between Republicans and Democrats.
Forget the rancor of the political campaigns that produce our leaders.
Remember one thing – we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known. The peaceful transition of power witnessed Friday portends the most valuable thing in politics – the promise of a new American presidency.
No other country holds within it the power to unleash the creativity of its people in the pursuit of improving the human condition. No other country has demonstrated, with some lapses, the commitment to human life and liberty the way the United States has since its founding.
And the security of no other nation is as important as that of the U.S., the freedom of which stands as a functional and symbolic message to the world’s evildoers that they will not prevail.
President Donald Trump is already making good on the promise of a new presidency. His inaugural address—derided as divisive by a mainstream media that still doesn’t get it—was a forceful call for national unity and patriotism, wrapped in the idea that a policy of America First is required after a period of globalization that benefited the world’s elites at the expense of America’s working people.
Some have criticized the way President Trump has taken office. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Trump’s cabinet “a disaster,” and others have attacked Trump’s senior staff for one reason or another. Dozens of Democratic congressmen boycotted Trump’s inaugural, and one said Trump is not a “legitimate” president.
The mindlessly partisan criticism of Trump reminds us that some politicians remain conformists to the old politics that paralyzed our nation and led to November’s election results. Even Trump’s mention of serious American problems—shuttered factories, drugs, gangs—drew criticism from elites who couldn’t believe he had the audacity to inject realism into his address. Barack Obama spent eight years formulating soaring rhetoric that, while lacking realistic underpinnings, thrilled the Beltway elites. Donald Trump’s audience, rather, is middle America, and they understand very clearly his inaugural message.
Like every president, some of Trump’s decisions will work out brilliantly and some will not. But for the critics who refuse to allow for the possibility of his success (shamefully rooting, therefore, against American success), they would do well to recall the words of President John F. Kennedy, who said: “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”
President Trump is not conforming to old ways as he builds his government and formulates policy, but his supporters did not elect him to be a caretaker of the status quo. They expect an upending of the established order in Washington D.C., a necessary political earthquake to get the attention of those who forgot the plight of working families. The people who pay their taxes and play by the rules wish not to be left behind any longer.
Those who root for the Trump Administration’s failure have not learned the lesson of this election—that Americans are tired of being divided into niche special interest groups, pitted against one another and force-fed the idea that one person’s success must have come at the expense of another.
Indeed, this attitude will be wiped away by President Trump and the Republican Congressional leadership. Redistribution of wealth is no longer the goal, but rather growth of the American economy that benefits all American workers.
Our national security demands a stronger economic condition. The threats we face will not abate because a new presidency has begun; in fact, it is likely we will face increased attacks from radical Islamic terrorists who wish to test the resolve of a new Commander-in-Chief.
As President Trump faces these terrorist threats and wages war in all its modern forms against the enemies of freedom, his economic policies will ultimately strengthen our national security. President Trump’s plans to change our taxation and regulatory regimes will unleash American growth and opportunity, which will, in turn, allow for the rebuilding of our military. If you value global stability, American military strength is non-negotiable.
It should be the fervent hope of all Americans—no matter your voting preference—that Donald J. Trump fulfills the promise a new presidency holds. Our children’s future depends on his success, as does our national security.
I think of my oldest son, Everett, born just a couple of months after Barack Obama took office in 2009. The Obama Presidency took him through his first seven and a half years, and a Trump Presidency could, if successful, carry him into high school. Like any parent, I wish for nothing more than for Everett to live in a safe place that provides him the freedom and opportunity to chase his dreams. I am sure President Obama and President Trump share that goal for their own children, and therein lies a fundamental tie that binds us all regardless of party.
Let us all pray for the new president and the promise that lies over a new horizon.