Trump’s Priceless Gift to America
We note yesterday’s indictment of former United States president Donald John Trump.
The incident kindled in us a mood of reflection… as an old photograph may recall a man to the time in which it was captured.
Mr. Trump remains archvillain to some. He remains archangel to others.
He is neither to us. Nor was he ever.
We found the fellow’s tenure infinitely amusing. It was a dozen-ringed circus, a grand parade, a spectacle unsurpassed.
Yet we rarely took to his policies.
Far From Ideal
We found his economics badly informed, for example. In certain instances we found them atrocious.
His central policy accomplishment was the elevation of tariffs. We take a dim view of tariffs in general. That is because they often injure those they are intended to aid.
Meantime, we are heart and soul for deregulation, as we are heart and soul for tax cuts — provided tax cuts are chained to spending cuts.
If not they are the father of deficits.
Yet President Trump failed to furnish the fetters. He cut spending loose. Federal spending was up and away — prior even to the pandemic.
This we were against.
And yet — and yet — we might etch his likeness into Rushmore. Why?
Trump’s Greatest Legacy
Mr. Trump did the nation an inestimable good. It was a supreme magnificence for which it should be staggeringly grateful.
That is because he renewed a broad American distrust.
President Trump renewed American distrust, that is, of elites (noun, not adjective).
These are the elites that boss Americans, besiege them, hagride them, flog them daily.
Trump renewed American distrust — that is — of the “swamp.”
Like crooks smoked out by the lawman, the swamp monsters came flushing out of the murk… and exposed themselves to the public gaze.
Their disdain for the man was so vast, their aching to undo him so irrepressible, they could not resist the pull.
Trump drew them out.
How many Americans were familiar with the term “deep state” before President Trump?
A corporal’s guard perhaps. Yet it has now entered the popular vernacular.
Most Americans likely held the Federal Bureau of Investigation in very high regard prior to 2016.
But after the massively discredited Steele dossier? After“Russiagate”?
Today, many Americans would trust a dog with their dinner before they would trust the FBI with the truth.
Prior to the Trump reign, how many Americans disbelieved the Centers for Disease Control before… or the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases?
Very few we hazard. Yet how many Americans retain faith in these medical institutions today?
They have witnessed the triumph of politics over science. And they cannot forget what they have seen.
Does the mainstream media retain one tattered rag of credibility?
The Trump presidency revealed the media’s monomaniacal hatred for the man, a hatred that burned with the heat of 5,000 suns.
All standards of objective journalism went emptying into the hellbox. There they remain to this day.
Meantime, social media taped the mouths of Trump and legions of his enthusiasts — often for harmless and inoffensive blabberings that warred against official narratives.
Examples run and run. Add them one with the other… and the Trump tenure put the American people on their guard.
They began sniffing rodents where they previously had not.
It’s Not About Trump the Man
Is the 45th president a rascal and a scoundrel? Like most men seeking high office we believe he is.
Is the 45th president an honest and characterful fellow? Like most men seeking high office we believe he is not.
Is he a vain and boorish fellow… even a touch swinish at times? Perhaps he is. We will not argue that he is not.
Yet we are willing to turn our face from all of it.
That is because his term shook a snoozing American public — large portions of it at least — and alerted it to a mighty foe beneath their beds.
Hence our nomination for Mr. Trump’s Rushmore etching.
Trump Was Merely the Vehicle
The late Dr. Angelo Codevilla was the indomitable and implacable foe of America’s “ruling class.”
Codevilla dug his thumbs into their eyes, kicked their shins and yanked their whiskers.
Here he lists Americans’ extreme displeasure of them:
Donald Trump became the political vehicle for the American people’s resentment of an overweening, corrupt ruling class. Trump’s invaluable contribution to the Republic was to lead Americans publicly to disrespect that class. Americans elected Trump to preserve freedoms and prosperity against the encroachments of that class…
In 2015 and 2016, candidate Trump’s disrespectful, disdainful attitude toward the ruling class put him at the head of presidential preference polls… Throughout the campaign, he said little of substance — just enough to give the impression that he was on the side of conservatives on just about everything. His leitmotif was “I despise those whom you despise because they despise you. I’m on your side, America’s side.”
Trump promised to “make America great again,” but did not explain what had made it great in the first place nor how to restore it… He did not try to support his many accusations with facts. Millions who disagreed with him or who disliked him personally voted to make Trump president, and even more voted to reelect him.
It was not Trump the man then… but Trump the symbol… Trump the totem.
The Ruling Class’ True Target
Imagine a cart drawn by a horse. Trump was merely the cart. The public was the draft horse doing the pulling.
The horse would lack direction without tethered instructions from the cart. The cart would lack all transportation ability without the horse.
The ruling class set out to clip the reins that yoked the two together:
But whatever Trump might have thought, his voters knew that hatred for the ruling class — not Trump himself — was why they supported him. It was about themselves, not Trump. The ruling class knew it, too. That is why, for most of the past six years, it brayed so much disdain from every available venue on him personally, trying to convince at least some of his followers that he is unworthy of decent people’s allegiance…
Trump’s peculiarities made it possible for the oligarchy to give the impression that its campaign was about his person, his public flouting of conventional norms, rather than about the preservation of their own power and wealth. The principal consequence of the ruling class’ opposition to candidate Trump was to convince itself, and then its followers, that defeating him was so important that it legitimized, indeed dictated, setting aside all laws, and truth itself…
The ruling class showed that its real target could not have been one pudgy, orange-haired septuagenarian. No. Its target, its enemy, that they denigrated and wished to constrain if not destroy, was nothing less than the traditional America that they did not entirely control. Hence, by its efforts, the ruling class was making the case for Trump’s political persona more definitively than Trump himself could ever do.
To Gain Respect, Americans Must Disrespect the Deep State
To regain our respect, argued Codevilla, Americans must disrespect the institutions that disrespect them:
These government elites and government-certified experts have been disastrously wrong and corrupt…
Discrediting and negating [them] is essential to freeing republican Americans from the oligarchy’s grip. This most important post-Trump task begins with disrespecting the oligarchy’s every part. That means denying their claim to be exercising legitimate republican functions.
Truth is, the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department act as agents of an oligarchic regime at war with our Republic and with republican Americans. To respect them is to disrespect ourselves… To disrespect them all is to respect the truth…
Even if their expertise in everything from education to the military had turned out to be genuine, it would not negate the inalienable interest that the rest of us have in living our lives as we see fit — in our own freedom, in pursuing our own interests according to our own lights.
That is why the next generation of leaders must transcend Trump by debunking, defunding, and disempowering the establishment in education, medicine and public health, law enforcement, national security, on down the line.
And so today, we lift our modest hymn in praise of President Donald John Trump.
President Trump did not “drain the swamp,” it is true.
He peeled back the curtain on the “deep state”… and forced them to expose their mischiefs in full public view.
He turned a blinding spotlight upon their faces.
Could a worthier president ever adorn Rushmore?