June 6, 2020
Author: Chilton Williamson
With its demand that President Trump “bring us together” the progressive left reaches heights of moral fatuity unusual even for it. The only “leader” in modern history who ever came close to achieving popular unanimity in his country during peacetime was Adolf Hitler, though Churchill managed it for Great Britain during the Second World War (following which he was dumped by the electorate). It takes reciprocal generosity to accomplish such a feat; a spirit that is wholly nonexistent on the American left today and for decades before, though previously it tried to sham a degree of open-mindedness and tolerance. Does anyone really believe that Sanders, H. Clinton, Comey, Obama, Harris, Abrams, Strozk, De Blasio, et al. sincerely wish to see America reconciled with herself? National reconciliation would have to be mutual, and mutuality is something the left knows nothing of, never has, and doesn’t want to.
Donald Trump is doing what every “leader,” every head of state, is morally compelled to do, but almost never does. “Speak truth to power!” is a favorite political and moral injunction among leftists, who nevertheless omit its corollary: “Speak truth to everyone!” That is what the President has been trying to do for four years, and he has not been shy about it. He has not, that is, cloaked his statements and remarks in that sickly sweet aura of American niceness that Americans have grown accustomed to getting–and thus to expect– from their politicians in the 20thcentury. This niceness, largely of middle-class, Middle-Western provenance, has over the past century or so softened the speakers along with the listeners. It comes from, and further encourages, a weak-minded sentimentalism that softens and controls the moral and intellectual fiber on which democratic government and society depends. So this President continues to speak the hard truth to everyone, the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the smart and the stupid, the adult and the childish, alike. What else should a president be expected to do? Mix oil with water and then walk on them?
In any event, it would be a good thing for the country in its present horrible circumstances if the military brass (e.g. Generals Mattis and Kelly) would hold its tongue. What is its record of accomplishment in its own sphere, anyway? The American armed forces haven’t won a war in 75 years, yet they want a say in politics as well as military planning. As for the foreign policy planners—the “experts”–elected as well as appointed (e.g. John Bolton, in anticipation especially of his forthcoming book), they are the people who issued to the military chiefs the orders that resulted in a record of dismal failures in the field around the world, thus making a substantial contribution of their own to various crises on the home front.
Donald Trump is brilliant, though not credentialed and not an “intellectual;” a figure of the Establishment, though the financial establishment, not the public one; more plain-spoken than Harry Truman, though in a time that detests and fears plain speaking; a democrat, though not a liberal; so far more successful in his stint in the Oval Office than any of his predecessors going back to John Quincy Adams, except for Grover Cleveland; and an American, not a “citizen of the world.” And the alternative to him this year is Joseph Biden, at best—probably someone far worse.
No president will ever bring this country together because there is no country, only two halves of what was one once. The best that Trump and a sympathetic successor can possibly achieve is to ensure that the totalitarian-minded half does not enslave the free-minded one by decisively defeating it before it buries the other.