A man of the People

We cannot spare this man. He fights.

Once upon a time, there was a president called Ronald Reagan—a model of decency and probity, at once great and self-effacing, who, above all, was truly in love with America and saw it as his sacred mission to preserve and strengthen American freedom. During his eight-year tenure, he revitalized the U.S. economy, snapped us out of what his disastrous predecessor had referred to as “our malaise,” and helped bring down the Soviet Union.

Then he walked off into the sunset. And for the next seven presidential terms, we had to make do with mediocrity and self-dealing. Both parties were dominated by crime families—sorry, I mean political dynasties. The Bushes were uninspiring. The Clintons were pure slime.

The 1960s had introduced a toxic counterculture rooted in reflexive oikophobia. It had grown apace ever since. The Bushes did nothing to resist it; Clinton himself was very much a part of it. In a famous speech at the 1992 Republican convention, Pat Buchanan warned that America was in a “culture war”—a “war for the soul of America.”

He was right. But he identified the primary enemy as gays. In fact, the culture war had nothing to do with gays. It was about, among other things, professors who praised Marx and kids who wore Che t-shirts. After 9/11, it was also about people who, not knowing a thing about Islam, whitewashed it and claimed that America had deserved the jihadist attacks.

Buchanan’s speech was a great gift to the counterculturists: it enabled them to paint the GOP as a party not of freedom but of bigotry. He wasn’t alone. There were plenty of Republican politicians who, instead of being clear about the nature of the culture war, lazily played the anti-gay card.

Meanwhile the real enemy within grew apace, all but unopposed.

Then along came Barack Obama. He was the enemy within. His memoir Dreams from My Father suggested that he had far more affection for Kenya and Indonesia than for America. His mentor, Jeremiah Wright, was a virulent America-hater. 

In the years that followed, the enemy within cemented its control over large swathes of academia, big business, and the news media. Poisonous academic notions about group identity, victimhood, oppression, and white supremacy went mainstream.

All seemed lost. Then Donald Trump came down that shiny escalator, introducing a campaign with a simple slogan: “America First.”

At first his candidacy looked like a stunt. But his performance in the primaries opened our eyes. For the first time since Reagan, we saw a worthwhile alternative to cowardly careerist politicians with no convictions and no cojones—pols who were, at worst, aggressively pushing a divisive, anti-American agenda and, at best, quietly overseeing America’s managed decline.

Media commentators, themselves products of the post-1960s counterculture, pronounced Trump a buffoon and a vulgarian; millions of Americans, however, looked at him and saw a potential savior—a real warrior who shared their love of America and who, it seemed, might just win the culture war.

On the contrary: I very much doubt all that many of us viewed him as a savior. In fact, quite a few of us, myself included, weren’t all that confident he’d be able to “win the culture war,” among other struggles. The war was too big—too many Enemy Within divisions occupying too many battlefields along too sprawling a front—for any realistic hope that one man might prevail.

We didn’t get behind Trump because we believed he’d win. We got behind him because we felt we could trust him to stand up and fight, that’s all. It seemed that, after decades of oleaginous GOPe grifters concealing their collaborationist con behind a smokescreen of empty promises and tough talk, Trump was serious about taking some swings. Perhaps he could even land a few solid blows here and there.

Real Americans finally had themselves a big-c Champion, a leader who was actually on their side for once, rather than just pretending to be. No, he wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. He occasionally did or said things many of us didn’t agree with. And so what? After all the frustration, all the transparent insincerity, all the betrayal, we’d found an obstreperous pug who fully understood our interests and concerns, shared them himself, and was willing to openly take a stand for them without shame, apology, or throat-clearing. That’s all we wanted. That’s all that matters.

Trump was—s’cuse me, IS—a big, upraised middle finger from Real America, with a heartfelt FUCK YOU tattooed on it, directed at the whole sordid Swampful of corrupt belly-crawlers.

The GOPe traitors, the NeverTrumpTard swine, the oh-so-dainty Conservative Inc™ pundits who recoil in dismay and revulsion at the crude, gauche Orange Man’s buffoonery—they just don’t get him, any more than they get us. Which is just fine with me. Personally, I hope they never do. They SHOULDN’T get us; we are and of right ought to be forever beyond the ken of their ilk. If they ever somehow did figure us out, it would amount to a sure-fire warning that we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere.

During his presidency, Trump has seemed almost to be acting alone, with members of his own administration and party lined up against him. Except in the final days of Richard Nixon’s presidency, when have we ever seen a president so alone? When in recent American history, except during the New York mayoralty of Rudy Giuliani, had so positive a turnaround been so obviously attributable to a single individual?

Yes, the idea of a country being saved by a single “great man” can be dangerous. In the last century, it led to the dictatorships of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and several others. But facts are facts: Trump, today, is America’s essential man. Though surrounded by enemies in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and all over Washington, he’s enjoyed an unprecedented level of public support.

Never—and this assertion seems unarguable—have so many Americans loved their president so much, or trusted him so implicitly, or been so certain of his genuine concern for their welfare. Watching Trump rallies on TV, I’ve often found myself thinking: if only Adams or Jefferson or Franklin could see this!

Because this wasn’t by any means a Communist-style cult of personality, with people feeling scared not to cheer. This was the real thing—a good thing—a democratically elected leader being applauded by ordinary citizens from every imaginable kind of background for keeping his promises and for serving his people. 

It’s another reason they hate him so desperately: both for having exposed their incompetent charade, and for having won the People’s undying loyalty and affection because he did.

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Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." — Daniel Webster

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - GK Chesterton

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved." - Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil." - Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork." - David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine." - Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” - Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it." - NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in." - Bill Whittle

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