New American Moment
Last night's State of the Union address was a Trump-strong speech. All the buzz was that the president would be conciliatory and reach out to Democrats. And he did on major policy issues -- an immigration deal, a big infrastructure program, lowering drug prices and paid family leave.
The rest of the speech largely revolved around ideas about America, heroes in America and the American dream. After highlighting successes of the past year, the president declared, "This is our New American Moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream."
All of which would have been uniting themes until recent years. But, as was sadly evident last night, far too many progressive politicians appear to despise traditional American values.
Below are some thoughts that came to mind as I watched the president's speech.
Honoring America's Heroes
The president brought an unusually large number of guests to honor during last night's address. Each story was moving. What struck me is that their stories made two powerful points.
First, there is a policy point. For example, you invite parents of children killed by MS-13 gang members because you want Congress to get serious about ending illegal immigration.
But Trump's guests made a bigger point that went right at the heart of left-wing identity politics. They were not there solely because of their ethnicity. They were there because of their American stories.
Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez, and Freddy Cuevas, who lost children to MS-13 thugs, are minorities because most MS-13 victims live in minority neighborhoods.
The Ohio entrepreneurs who were expanding their business, thanks to the Trump tax cuts, brought a black employee, Corey Adams, with them not because he was black, but because he was their best welder. Adams is now living the American dream, buying his first house.
Staff Sergeant Justin Peck, who rescued his brother in arms in Raqqa, was not there as an example of white supremacy or "how stupid our soldiers are." They certainly are not! He was there as an example of the tremendous courage of our young men and women in uniform.
Coast Guard technician Ashlee Leppert, who rescued dozens of people from raging waters, wasn't being honored because she was a woman. She was honored for her heroism.
What we saw last night was a living example of our national motto -- E Pluribus Unum -- not hyphenated Americanism.
The reaction to the president's remarks by politicians assembled in the House chamber was very telling. Donald Trump's address, once again, exposed the extremism of the left.
Many so-called "progressives" dressed in black and sat on their hands most of the night, as if they were at a funeral. As Trump ticked off one accomplishment after another, perhaps many liberals really did feel like they were at a funeral for their left-wing agenda.
One of the funniest reactions of the evening came from gameshow host Pat Sajak. Noting how few Democrats stood and applauded, he tweeted, "What a great prank! Somebody put glue on half of the seats at the State of the Union Address!"
Sadly, the left's lack of civility reflects a deep seated hostility to the values so many Americans cherish. Liberals didn't stand when Trump said we are one nation under God. Some left-wing members booed when he recognized parents who lost children to MS-13.
Even though the Senate voted unanimously to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, most liberals refused to stand and applaud Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Perhaps most bizarre of all, when Trump said that we love our flag and stand for our national anthem, many on the left . . . did not stand. Do progressive politicians really want to align themselves with the NFL protestors?
When Trump said the Capitol was a monument to the American people, conservatives began chanting, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" Again, liberals sat stone faced. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) stormed out of the room.
Sadly, many progressives can't applaud a call to stand for the anthem because that might offend the Black Lives Matter movement. They can't applaud our monuments because that might offend Antifa. They can't chant "U.S.A.!" because that's -- GASP! -- America First.
I couldn't help but think last night about the photo that came to light recently. It showed the Congressional Black Caucus and then-Senator Barack Obama secretly meeting with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
A number of Democrats refused to attend last night's State of the Union address. Sadly, a majority of them were members of the Congressional Black Caucus. They will hug and embrace the rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan but cannot stand to be in the same room with the elected president of the United States?
President Trump delivered many tremendous lines last night. But one of the president's best lines, if not the best line of the night, was when he boldly declared:
"My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream, because Americans are dreamers too!"
Wherever you stand on the DACA issue, it makes me furious that the children brought to this country illegally by their parents are always called "Dreamers" as if the rest of us who are American citizens don't have dreams of our own.
The coal miner in West Virginia dreams of sending his kids to college. The steel worker in Pennsylvania dreams of not having his job shipped to China. The inner city single mother dreams of a neighborhood free from MS-13 gangs and drug dealers. The border guard and police officer dreams of someone appreciating what he does to keep us safe.
Millions of us dream of an America that welcomes our unborn children. Most of us dream of a country that embraces Reverend King's dream that each of us will be judged based on the content of our character, not the color of our skin.
Every time the left calls illegal immigrants "Dreamers," while calling Middle Americans "deplorable," they insult the entire country.
The media and left are clearly in denial and out-of-touch. They saw a "divisive," "gloomy" and "sad" speech. The American people saw something very different.
CNN and CBS conducted snap polls after the president finished his address. Here's what they found:
- 75% approved of Trump's speech, including 43% of Democrats.
- 70% had a positive reaction to the speech.
- 65% said Trump's speech made them feel proud.
- 62% felt President Trump was moving the country in the right direction.
- 57% were confident President Trump could carry out his job.
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