If you didn’t watch President Trump’s address to Congress, you missed a spectacular moment in American history. I don’t mean the speech. I mean the two-minute standing ovation for Ryan Owens, the Navy Seal killed Yemen in January. Everyone is crying for unity and decrying the fact that we don’t have any, but we had unity last night as we experienced that moment through the eyes and heart of his widow. There was nothing partisan about the empathy we felt in that moment. Some of us even felt awe.
Can you imagine your husband was killed only a month ago, he’s being acknowledged by the president of the United States in a historic speech, you’re surrounded by the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, and the applause goes on and on and on? What an incredible moment.
Then there was the speech itself. Unity, unity, where did you go? The man can’t win. He was the consummate presidential figure, so the criticism is that he might go back to the Twitter gutter. They want him to be presidential, he’s presidential, and they find a way to make him being presidential a problem.
The venerable Chuck Schumer has no idea what he said:
“So, you know, you can give a speech but what the American people want is action and his actions are totally, totally detached from the speech,” Schumer said. “The speech will go away today, and his actions will be there, that’s why he had such a rough 40 days… The next six months will be even more difficult than the past 40 days.”
I couldn’t agree more, only I would put it this way:
“So, you know, you can tweet at 3:00am but what the American people want is results and his results are totally, totally a surprise,” Schumer said. “The tweets will go away the next day, and his results will be there, that’s why he had such an amazing 40 days… The next six months will be even more refreshing than the past 40 days.”
Juan Williams, whom I must say I’m liking less and less, wanted to make sure everybody knew that the Navy Seal’s death was controversial, that there was no evidence the deadly mission had produced actionable intelligence, that the father refused to meet with President Trump when his son’s body was flown home. Really? Of all the things to start with. Why take away from that gossamer moment of unity? There was sooooooo much else to talk about.
President Trump was inspiring, compelling, and all over the place. So the criticism is that he didn’t have enough specifics. But you know if he’d had more negative specifics, the criticism would have been that he painted our country too pessimistically. If he’d had more positive specifics, the criticism would have been that he lied.
Lucky for us, he’s (now) a political machine that gets stronger the more he’s attacked. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: his learning curve is amazing. Darn right, he was presidential last night. And of course he’s going back to the Twitter gutter. Does a bird fly? Here’s the upside:
The first thing an opponent does is try to knock you off your game, make you weak, make you say stupid things, do stupid things, lose the respect of those around you. Well, that is Donald Trump’s game. And the more they knock him, the better he gets at it.
Knock away. God bless America.
And just because I have a secret fantasy of being a presidential speech-writer, here are a few lines I found especially powerful:
- We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross.
- It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.
- We want all Americans to succeed, but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos.
- To anyone in Congress who does not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?
- We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America, we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.
- Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved.
- My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.
- The time for small thinking is over.
- American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.
- We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same, great American flag. And we are all made by the same God.