As you may recall if you’ve followed my social media accounts, I have never been a supporter of Donald Trump. He has behaved badly throughout his life and he’s been consistent to that standard in his personal behavior as President. While I have agreed with many of his policies, there are others—such as his apparent pull-back in Syria and Afghanistan—that I have fully opposed, and I have found his comments, tweets and self-aggrandizement to frequently be repulsive.
As such, I tuned into the State of the Union Tuesday fully expecting to be amused, alarmed, and embarrassed for the President, the Republican Party, and the body politic. I watched the entire speech and came away pleased—for the most part–-and even inspired. As one friend said: I just hope he doesn’t wreck it all in a night of tweets.
There was much made of uncomfortable Speaker Pelosi and her odd clap, grimaces, and large-print script; and of the legion of white; the new women of the Democratic caucus, uneasy with any expression of approval, even when faced with the most all-American red meat. They certainly weren’t going to applaud the cascade of great economic news orchestrated by their arch enemy!
But what shocked me was the conciliatory tone, which was rare and welcome, and in my view was not greatly diminished with the President’s return to his preferred policies and areas of concern. That’s to be expected from any passionate partisan.
Even more moving for me was President Trump’s denunciation of near-birth and even “fourth trimester” abortion, his call for legislation to ban late term abortions, and indeed his renouncing of the killing of babies at any stage because they are made in the image of God. I can’t recall a stronger statement in support of the life of the unborn from the bully pulpit.
Also tremendous was his slap down of socialism, which is clearly on the rise on the blue side of the aisle. And I loved his recognition of recently passed criminal justice reform and First Step program, which were driven by the Christian community, especially Prison Fellowship
His recognition of WWII veterans and the pairing of a victim and liberator of Dachau was particularly moving, as were the last several minutes of his speech (certainly a nod to great work by his speechwriters, but forever now the words of Trump). It was great American rhetoric!
When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war.
They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this Nation, and generations yet unborn.
Why did they do it? They did it for America — they did it for us.
Everything that has come since — our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice — all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.
Think of this Capitol — think of this very chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure civil rights, to face down an evil empire.
Here tonight, we have legislators from across this magnificent republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California. Together, we represent the most extraordinary Nation in all of history.
What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?
I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.
We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them.
We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance — or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.
This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.
This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.
No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.
We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny — that one Nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world!
Thank you. God Bless You, God Bless America, and good night!
Well done, Mr. President