Wednesday, March 1, 2017
OMG–Donald Trump Did Not Self-Destruct Before Congress, So Liberals, Now What?
Like it or not, the President proposed a well-defined and purposeful agenda to Congress. Whether the wall will ever get built; whether he can ever convince corporate America that they are better off with high-wage American workers; and whether he can gin up a coalition of mercantilist partners in the private sector and representative government are for the moment irrelevant.
By an intelligent, coherent, thoughtful but passionate address to the House, he has shown his detractors that not only does he have a rabid and growing base of supporters; but that he means business. Democrats take notice. There are two Donald Trumps – the one who will continue to put on a great show in Miami and Vegas; and the one who will push for the most radical conservative agenda since Ronald Reagan. Both Trumps are hated by liberal Left, but both are at the leading edge of a populist juggernaut.
At least half of Americans love Trump’s braggadocio, supreme self-confidence, Miami-Las Vegas-Hollywood glitz, glamour, and arm candy machismo; they love his defiance of the self-important progressive coastal elites; and they adore his policies on immigration, abortion, defense, and entrepreneurial free enterprise. Conservative America loves both Donald Trumps.
Democrats are still licking their wounds. Worse, they are relying on liberal symbolism, marches and protests, impassioned speeches by party regulars and far-Left spokesmen to confront what is an inexorable tide.
Democratic Congresswomen dressed in white to invoke the spirit of old suffragettes. Young people marched in Washington in support of women, but the movement itself, fractured along parochial lines – abortion, climate change, the glass ceiling, income inequality, civil rights and many more progressive issues – was more a show of solidarity for liberal causes and a loose convention of ideas than a unified political movement.
There can be no hearkening back to the good old days of Samuel Gompers, trade unions, suffragettes, Adlai Stevenson, and George McGovern. Those days are over. The liberal shibboleth has been challenged, pushed, and toppled.
Progressives had hoped that Donald Trump would continue his vaudeville show in front of Congress. There was no way, they said, that a leopard could change his spots. The Trump seen at the West Florida airport, in press conferences, and on the campaign trail could never reform. He would continue his buffoonery and be unclothed and displayed for the charlatan he is.
Nothing of the sort, of course. The man is not stupid, nor mentally imbalanced, nor disturbed. He is an intelligent, canny, insightful man who gets it. He gets the zeitgeist of early 21st century America. He gets the disaffection, dissatisfaction, and resentment of his constituents. Many if not most Americans are concerned about a turn away from Biblical standards and injunctions; or are simply distressed about the details of homosexual sex, transgender bathrooms, or late-term abortions.
So what is the Left to do? They cannot continue their hammering on about Trump’s Neolithic attitudes towards women, his 19th century view of homosexuality, his Little House on the Prairie view of family values, and his racism. It hasn’t worked.
President Trump has neutered arguments with a temperate speech before Congress. He is for diversity and inclusivity within normative cultural bounds. He is not against Mexicans, Syrians, or Yemenis per se but against the potential threat of uncontrolled immigration from those countries whose immigration poses a threat to national security and economic progress.
So where will this progressive angst go? How will it be sublimated, marginalized, or even dismissed? Is there any way that a group of political believers can loose their
hold on idealism and personal, self-image-making postures and coalesce to form a loyal opposition?
The answer is ‘No’. The Left which has been auto-radicalized - i.e. Donald Trump has been cast as Lucifer and no compromise with the Devil can ever been possible – cannot possibly accommodate a man so personalized. For them he embodies and represents all the Dark Forces let loose in the world after Eden, and will never change.
The angst, pain, and wounded suffering still expressed on social media will eventually die down; and so will the opposition to the new President. But what next?
Nothing in Trump’s agenda is sacrosanct. There is plenty to say about his positions on immigration, the military, education and tax reform to mount a strenuous opposition. Yet the Left is still whingeing, still relying on iconic images (sufragettes), inchoate marches, and appeals to community, solidarity and social ideals, and still so out of touch with America-beyond-the-Beltway that any real accommodation with American ideals is impossible.
The socio-political divisions have already been demarcated; but it will be an unequal fight for territory. The phalanx of progressive warriors, armed only with ideals and tenets of human good, have no chance against armies of realpolitik, Nietzschean determinism, and historical imperative. The world is not headed in a positive direction. It is not headed anywhere. Trump’s agenda,finally, is in concordance with history.
So, what is the Left to do? Roll over? Accept defeat and humiliation?
A loyal opposition accepts defeat, mobilizes around common core principles, and confronts the opposition.
Nothing in the Democratic response to Donald Trump has suggested any such thing.
The integrity of the Republic depends on tolerance, cooperation, and collaboration. Unless Democrats accept their defeat –not just political but philosophical – can a reunification begin.