As if it needed to be made any clearer, Donald Trump’s inaugural address proved again that he doesn’t lack for guts. Standing in the heart of Washington, D.C. and staring into the eyes of the ruling class, Trump stood up and repudiated them all.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said. “Washington flourished, but the people not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”
“Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families across our land.”
Throughout his campaign Trump made it clear that he would battle against the forces conspiring against average Americans. An unholy alliance, which he described as, “big business, elite media and major donors,” were working together to “keep our rigged system in place.”
Trump quickly recognized that corruption has become normalized in Washington. Corporate interests were throwing millions at lobbyists and campaigns. Politicians were increasingly focused on the parochial interests of their donor base, rather than their voting constituency. And bureaucrats were assuming ever-more power as they sought to build a regulatory wall around the status quo.
Meanwhile average Americans were being forgotten.
Liberals attempted to be the mouthpiece for working- and middle-class voters, at least the half they didn’t lump into the “basket of deplorables.” They promised them government-funded jobs, and when there weren’t enough to go around, government-funded services. And yet all that taxpayer-funded, debt-financed money couldn’t paper over the problem. Companies fled from higher taxes, small business and entrepreneurs were crushed by bureaucratic cronyism, and Americans became poorer, more dependent and less confident than ever before.
“I have no patience for injustice, no tolerate for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens,” Trump said over the summer. And during his inauguration, Donald Trump did not hide from this bold call, nor did he soften his tone. Instead, he reiterated that he now stands ready to smash that phony notion of progress on behalf of Americans.
“That all changes – starting right here and right now, because this money is your moment: it belongs to you,” Trump proclaimed. “It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.”
Unsurprisingly, liberals disliked the speech. They settled on the idea that it was “dark,” in an attempt to undermine it’s message. But there is nothing dark about admitting that Washington has a problem, nor is there anything dark about saying that those problems can be fixed by a government returned to its people. Perhaps, as John Kass writes in the Chicago Tribune, the left finds themselves afraid of Trump’s ideas because they are afraid of Americans.
Predictably, the left hated his speech. They love the working-class hero in the abstract, unless working-class heroes dare to support Trump. Then the left mocks them. The culture clash between liberal commentators and Trump voters has gotten so petty that I’ve even seen Trump voters mocked as fools for spelling mistakes.
They’re not fools. They’re not deplorable. They’re hardworking Americans, people who sent their children to our wars, people who were pushed aside by our politics, slapped down by our economy and abused by Democrats, Republicans and the very elites who formed the establishment.
“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, here these words: You will never be ignored again,” Trump said. “Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny.”
While that idea may frighten the elites, or worry Washington’s old hands, it should hearten the millions of Americans who feel as though they’ve been left behind for a government that became neither for them, nor by them.