The Election – Trump, A Man for this Season
One cannot help but suspect that the Democratic National Committee is using Biden as a Trojan horse to get Harris into the White House. Is the country ready for the radicalization of its economy and government? I think not. Is Mr. Trump a man for all seasons? I also think not. But I do believe he is the man for this season, for this time, which is why he will receive my vote on November 3.
"This suggests one way to frame the coming election: as a contest between a man, Trump who believes America is good and a man, Biden who is controlled by a movement that believes America is bad. I do not think it is any more complicated than that."
(Thomas Klingenstein - Chairman, Claremont Institute - Speech, October 13, 2020)
Robert Bolt's play A Man for all Seasons premiered in London on July 1, 1960. It was based on the life of Sir Thomas More, who is remembered for his fealty to his conscience at the cost of his life. More, as Lord High Chancellor of England, opposed the Protestant Reformation; so, when Henry VIII wanted his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, who failed to deliver him a son, annulled so he could marry Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More refused to grant the annulment. Bolt saw More as the ultimate man of conscience, a man who remained true to himself and his beliefs. The title of the play came from the writings of one of More's contemporaries, Robert Whittington, who described More as a "man of an angel's wit and singular learning...a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes...A man for all seasons."
Donald Trump is not a man "for all seasons," but he is, in my opinion, a man for this season, at this point in our history. We know his negatives: His character is faulty. He is an egoist, braggart and often vengeful. He is overly sensitive to insults and has little patience. His speech makes one wince. But Mr. Trump is an unabashed patriot who believes that, fundamentally, America is good, while his opponents are equally vocal, in emphasizing how America has been a force for evil. He, alone among Washington's smug political class, has had the fortitude to stand up to what has become Washington's "swamp," a quagmire that has lured those that want the security of a federally funded job, with an income above the national average and the influence and power that accompanies such jobs.
As well, too many elected officials have gone to Washington, not to serve the public's interest but to gain the notoriety to profit from a book or to make contacts that allow them to join a lobbyist firm upon retirement - in short, to become rich. Nobody wants a system where a poor person cannot run for political office, but the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. A Senator or Representative makes more than double the median household income in the Washington metropolitan area, which itself is 25% above the national average. The median net worth of a member of Congress is more than ten times the median net worth of the typical American. Healthcare and retirement benefits are substantially higher than those received by average Americans. And a compromised politician cannot serve the best interests of the American people.
Is it any wonder that Mr. Trump has raised the ire of so many whose livelihoods could be at risk? If Mr. Trump has his way some government agencies could be shut down and others moved out of the D. C. metropolitan area. Abroad, Mr. Trump achieved a rapprochement in the Middle East that had evaded professional policy experts for decades. He moved our embassy to Jerusalem, caused our NATO partners to up their share of defense spending and withdrew the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council, which "makes a mockery of human rights," as Ambassador Nikki Haley said. He took on China, imposed sanctions on Russian leaders, released the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear deal and removed the U.S. from the toothless and expensive Paris Accord. He came to Washington as a political outsider. Despite almost four years in the White House, he remains an outsider, which threatens those who see Washington as their own private feeding trough, a place where they can exercise political, economic and personal power. Donald Trump is like the little boy who saw that the emperor was naked, that corruption was rampant. The most recent example has been the Biden revelations - trading access for dollars. But Mr. Trump loves his country and he recognizes that its institutions of family, church, history and tradition are under attack. There are numerous issues over which reasonable people can disagree - the economy, COVID-19, the judiciary, education, taxes, regulation, national defense, healthcare, climate, the environment, immigration, foreign policy, guns, right-to-life - but we should be united on the issue of liberty, freedoms to speak, write and assemble, and of the right to live freely within the confines of a just society based on the rule of law. And, we should be able to trust those who run our government.
Democrats and others on the left have raised the specter of an imperial Trump Presidency. They have reported on his canoodling with dictators and tyrants, cited his waving from the balcony of the White House, upon his release from Walter Read Hospital. (Of course, no mention was made of the fact that every President has been photographed from that same spot.) Yet, as Mollie Hemingway recently wrote: "Donald Trump is one of the very few executives in the entire world who has not taken advantage of the latest global pandemic as an excuse to seize control." Mr. Trump, as a true federalist, left most decisions to the states. It has been governors, usually Democrat governors, who have violated Americans' Constitutional rights, in closing schools and businesses for weeks and months, banning family gatherings at weddings and funerals, inciting fear and destroying opportunities for those unable to work from home.
Every four years we are told that this election is the most critical of our lifetimes - "destined to change the shape of our nation," as Chris Wallace proclaims in an ad. This one, however, is unique: Intersectionality, identity politics, victimization, racial grievance, political correctness, multiculturalism and sanctuary cities have come to define the Democratic Party. They have encompassed the radical views of academics, TV talking heads and opinion writers, all of whom are removed, by their jobs and lifestyles, from the hardships of everyday life for middleclass Americans.
"Mr. Biden," as Daniel Henninger wrote in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, "has made a Faustian bargain with his party's activist left...putting the U.S. on a fast track toward income confiscation and 'distributive justice'." The Democratic Party has recruited wealthy, "woke" apologists from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall street. In so doing, they abandoned working people who had comprised their ranks, people with 'bourgeoise values' that do not comport with today's "wokeness." If black lives really mattered to Progressives, would not school choice be encouraged in inner cities? In an interview with Tunku Varadarajan of the Wall Street Journal a week ago, Fred Siegel of the Manhattan Institute said: "Wokeness is a force that undermines the middle class, and you couldn't have had wokeness without an elite contempt for values of the middle class."
On October 13, Thomas Klingenstein gave a speech at the Claremont Institute, titled "A Man versus A Movement." He explained why he believes this election to be the most consequential since 1860 and why President Trump is the man most uniquely suited to the moment. He spoke of how this is an election between a man who believes America to be inherently good and a movement based on the idea that America is intrinsically bad. It is the difference between those who believe our founding was in 1776 and those who place our founding in 1619. "Our way of life," spoke Mr. Klingenstein, "...is based on individual rights, the rule of law, and a shared understanding of the common good. This way of life values hard work, self-reliance, volunteerism, patriotism and so on. In this way of life there are no hyphenated Americans. We are all just Americans. Colorblindness is our aspiration." In dividing people between black and white, privileged and disadvantaged, oppressors and oppressed, those on the Left sound like Old Testament evangelists preaching that the iniquity of the fathers will be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.
To the extent that systemic racism exists, it is in those institutions, universities and workplaces that abide by actions that favor one group over another - Asian over Hispanic, Black over White, Hispanic over Black, Black over Asian or White over all others. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, in Parents v. Seattle School District 1: "The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." In his speech, Mr. Klingenstein added: "If Americans are systemically anything, it is a systemic commitment to freedom and equal rights for all."
The United States has not served as a beacon for the world's poor and oppressed because it is inherently evil. Anyone who has studied history knows that no nation has done more than the U.S. to spread freedom, give people hope and lift them from poverty. As well, the U.S. does not sit on its laurels; it constantly strives to improve itself. The history of the United States is one of a nation never satisfied, but it is one that honors its families, history and traditions. Differences of opinion are healthy. Debate and discussion help us move forward. When debate is stifled, as it has been in some of our colleges and universities, we suffer. When media only tells one side of the side of a story, we suffer. On January 27, 1838, Abraham Lincoln spoke before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois: "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot., we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Following his election victory in 2016, Donald Trump was not accorded respect by those he defeated. A few members of Congress boycotted his inaugural. Attempts were made to undermine his administration by way of an investigation into an alleged collusion with his campaign and Russia, a collusion that, in fact, originated in the Clinton Camp and was abetted by the Obama Administration, the FBI and the CIA. A three-year investigation by Robert Mueller found no collusion. The Speaker of the House tore up her State of the Union message on live TV. Mr. Trump was impeached for a phone call with the Ukrainian President when, in fact, the real corruption had been between the Biden family and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Opposing parties are healthy, but political corruption is a rot that must be eviscerated.
Suspicions that Joe Biden's son Hunter had leveraged his father's name gained credibility when Tony Bobulinski, a former Navy veteran, institutional investor and business partner of Hunter Biden, disclosed details of Sinohawk Holdings, a venture between the Biden family and CEFC China Energy, a Shanghai-based conglomerate, since gone bankrupt. Bobulinski had been hired as CEO of Sinohawk Holdings. Mr. Bobulinski, in a televised news conference last Thursday, said he had had an hour-long meeting with Mr. Biden on May 2, 2017, which is at odds with Joe Biden's claim he knew nothing of his son's business involvements. The FBI has brought Bobulinski in for questioning. Will they pressure him into not testifying before Senator Ron Johnson's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee?
Elections do not provide the voter a choice between the perfect and the imperfect, so voters seek the candidate and policies that best align with their opinions. Both candidates have character flaws - Trump, in ways we all know and that have been widely publicized by a media that detests him; Biden, in ways we have come to know more recently: the Biden family, leveraging access in exchange for financial gain, which could certainly affect foreign policy, and the gradual, but obvious, mental decline, which means his time in office may be shorter than that of William Henry Harrison. Mainstream media blames his periodic verbal incoherence on a childhood stutter, something not noticeable during his years in the Senate and as Vice President. Voters who pull the lever for Biden will actually be voting for Kamala Harris, who in 2019 had the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. One cannot help but suspect that the Democratic National Committee is using Biden as a Trojan Horse to get Harris into the White House. Is the country ready for the radicalization of its economy and government? I think not. Is Mr. Trump a man for all seasons? I also think not. But I do believe he is the man for this season, for this time, which is why he will receive my vote on November 3.
Sydney M. Williams
October 24, 2020