STATE OF THE UNION: Trump Touts Populist Philosophy; a Refreshing Return to Sensibility

STATE OF THE UNION

Here are bits and pieces of his address, and the Respvblica response.

President Trump’s State of the Union speech resounded with populism and a refreshing bit of sane talk about the many dangers and possibilities confronting American society as we enter 2018.

Although the speech was panned by the regular cast of characters who wanted their own speeches to resound instead of the president’s, it worked in many ways and came across strong, I thought.

“Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it,” the president said.

This is not right wing rubbish. It is the truth about America for the past 3 centuries.

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.

“So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong,” Trump said.

Is there a problem with such rhetoric?

I don’t think so.

“The economy soaring — jobs — tax cut — lowest unemployment in 45 years,” he said.

The economy is different than it was until 2008 but just the same the economy is soaring, all our major cities expanding, our industries reaching new dimensions and our effect on the world as a superpower has never been more profound.

“We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.

“Together, we are rediscovering the American way,” he said.

There was a time when I was growing up when this kind of rhetoric soothed the soul. In today’s America there are many liberal people who believe this kind of rhetoric is folly or that we should somehow be ashamed of ourselves because we are Americans.

“All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said

Is there anything wrong with privileged Federal employees with the best health insurance, the highest pay, the most vacations and sick time and lifetime jobs and total security to be held to standards as those of us in the American workforce?

I liked this especially.

Rewards for those who thrive.

The end of their jobs for those who fail at them.

“We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world,” he said.

This is all true. I’m not a big coal fan unless it can be burned cleanly. Otherwise, coal is good as we have mountain ranges of it.

That we are an energy exporter to the world — the largest — what better thing for our nation who was held captive for three decades by Arab oil?

“One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down,” he promised.

If this happens, he is a true American hero as the people of our nation are made to pay three to four times as much for simple drugs as anyone else on this continent. It is an outrage, an unending outrage. Let’s see what he does about this.

“The era of economic surrender is over,” he said emphatically.

This bit of populist talk and pledge is about the best.

We have I believe surrendered for decades to failing fiscal policies and not very well thought out international trade agreements that have led to stagnation and failure and debts.

It is indeed a new day. Let’s improve everything by abandoning surrender and welcoming again success.

“America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?” he said.

Permitting in modern America is a crude and pathetic joke and reality. The president was absolutely right.

The Chinese can build a city of 150,000 in the time it takes us to file paperwork for a new project that won’t get off the ground for years.

And end to this inertia is an end to American failure to embrace common sense.

“Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one,” he said.

This is about jobs. Jobs. Jobs. And it is about rebuilding roads, bridges, energy delivery systems, transportation modalities… it is about rebuilding everything that meets the eye that will make America strong and to appear modern instead of crumbling.

On immigration he sounded sensible to me.

“The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States,” he said.

The he talked about the end of the visa lottery and sounded rather smart about it.

“The visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people must be changed. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country,” he said.

On terrorists and terrorism he was on the mark.

“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield — including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi,” he said.

On recognizing Jerusalem his words were sweet and bold for those of us who are Jews, and who understand that Israel is not the pariah state that Muslims paint it to be.

“Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

“That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.

“As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries,” he said.

I thought this was brilliant.

Why have we allowed ourselves to be punched in the stomach and the mouth by our adversaries who we bankroll with aid?

The ending of the speech was predictable but true.

“Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.

“As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

“As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.

“Our families will thrive.

“Our people will prosper.

“And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free,” he said.

Let me join in with the ultimate hosanna — God bless America!

 

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