The presidential President Trump
In a speech to a Joint Session of Congress, our 45th president for the first time in his two-year political history found his presidential voice. Reading verbatim off the TelePrompTer, Donald Trump delivered a speech without outrageous histrionics, without extemporaneous accusations, without pugnacious challenges, which have been his usual style. Instead he spoke in lofty prose and promises as is befitting the president of our country.
Beyond surprising, considering the tenor of the inaugural, this one-hour performance showed a side of Trump never before seen. His tone was for the most part reasonable, although his stated ideology and plans have an inherent great degree of difficulty in practical implementation.
As someone who could not bring himself to vote for either major party candidate and ended up writing in a favored Republican primary challenger as his choice (a conscience vote), I have long waited for our nascent president to exhibit a mature persona. My wait was over with this speech.
All presidents when faced with a Joint Session speech, tend to orchestrate the aspiration latent goals of the near impossible, with an objective of evoking inspiration. Whether Trump accomplished this is a subjective judgment. What he did succeed in demonstrating is that he could wear the cloak of the presidential demeanor and wear it well.
Let us take time to examine the assertions of his address, their practicality, their accuracy of description and depiction and whether the president’s proposed solutions can come to fruition or are merely an attempt at high-flying hyperbole.
At the beginning of his speech, Donald Trump acknowledged the end of Black History Month and cited the national need for the end of bigotry. He mentioned the recent unfortunate incidents involving Jewish people and other minorities. “Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
Certainly, no reasonable person would disagree that the rancid legacy of prejudice in our nation is an abomination and corrosive to our liberties. However, when one considers that much of the president’s core zealous primary support was from the alt-right community who believe in white-oriented nationalism, the president’s new assertions were greatly welcome. Therefore, Trump’s admonishment of this sentiment is a great step in the right direction and may prove a justifiable alienation from him for some of his most stalwart supporters.
In a pontification of possibilities, Trump poetically envisioned a better America in regard to medical research achievement. “Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people. Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope.”
Of course, if this means the federal government will prioritize funding of research, including controversial stem cell and fetal cell investigatory paths, and increase university and research facility grants toward that end, then that particular excerpt from Trump’s speech could be groundbreaking.
Expectedly, the president continued on his ongoing theme that our country’s inner-cities are in a debilitating state of decrepitude and crime. “And our neglected inner-cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.” Although the general idea of a renewal of our urban areas is laudable, generational urban strife has been addressed by government on all levels for the last 50 years with little progress. How the president will create programs that will succeed where all others have failed is a mystery. He continued, “Millions lifted from welfare to work is not too much to expect. And streets where mothers are safe from fear-schools where children learn peace-and jobs where Americans prosper and grow-are not too much to ask.” And, “When we have all of this, we will make America greater than ever before, for all Americans.”
These passages were hopeful, lofty and surrealistic. No one can argue that the objectives stated were not noble as equally as they have been proven time and time again unattainable.
Similarly complex and frustrating is the illegal immigrant problem, which has been the corner piece of the Donald’s political life. Using the phraseology of a hardliner, Trump chose to call attention to the “Immigrant Crime Victims.” The president presented the idea that enforcement of current law would have a pronounced positive effect. “By finally enforcing our immigrant laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars and make communities safer for everyone.” Absolutely, the immigrant laws that have been violated should be enforced. What kind of system of laws and jurisprudence are we practicing as a nation if we allow those who reside in our country illegally to pick and choose what statutes they will follow and which ones they will not? Trump is correct here.
Furthermore, Trump compared our present system with those of our democratic allies who have merit based entrance requirements. “Nations around the world like Canada, Australia, and many others have a merit based immigration system.” He went further, “Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration and instead adopting a merit-based system will have many benefits.” I could not agree more.
As the speech progressed, the president spoke of another of his favorite subjects, trade. He quoted our 16th President, Abraham Lincol who said, “abandonment of the protective policy by the American government will produce want and pain among our people.” Trump risked being thought of in an anachronistic fashion considering Mr. Lincoln made that speech in the 1860s. Protectionism simply would not work in the modern day, because we are too intertwined with other countries some of whom own a lot of our national debt.
He went further, “We’ve lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA [North American Free Trade Act] was approved, and we’ve lost sixty thousand factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.” Rebuilding our manufacturing sector is a terrific goal and should be pursued. However, according to Forbes almost 80 percent of United States manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years have not been eliminated by low wage foreign labor but from robotic assembly. So if domestic factories were to experience a rebirth, the amount of workers re-employed would be significantly less. Barring a war with robots the administration will need to rethink its overall strategy.
In a similar vein, the president expressed his want of a sea-change in how we conduct business here at home. “We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency, imposing a new rule which mandates that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.” This statement has sent environmental activists and concerned others into a reactionary frenzy. Their objections are based on the notion that all regulations should be implemented upon merit and facility and not based on an arbitrary equation. The worriers have valid apprehensions.
Additionally, President Trump spoke of the repeal and replace of Affordable Care Act and the inevitability of its failure, in his words “Obamacare is collapsing.” This statement is conspicuously evident. The question is how to replace it. The president did state the need to retain the “pre-existing condition coverage requirement” in any new plan. On keeping this facet of health care, he is absolutely correct.
Trump also said he sought a trillion dollars from congress to rebuild America’s infrastructure. This should have bipartisan support. Although, where the congress will find the funding, with an ongoing budget deficit and an ever-engorging $20 trillion national debt is a quandary.
Donald Trump summed up his well-crafted speech with a stratospheric ideal. “The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dream that fills our hearts.”
Yes, no one can doubt that this was Donald Trump’s best speech since he has entered the world of politics. The words, the delivery of them, and the after effect of hopefulness are a diametric departure from every other angry and provocative appearance at the podium thus far. For the first time, he comported himself as a president. Whether or not his stated plans and aspirations become reality, I hope, wish, and pray he adopts the attitude displayed in this speech from hence forward.