[This short statement was published in the June-October issue of Impact, pp.11-13.]
TRUMP – WHY I’M FOR HIM
Here’s a brief summary of why I support Donald Trump:
1. His style. Although, as we see from the atmosphere at his rallies, millions of people love him, many others are turned off by his direct, aggressive personality. It is worth knowing that this is welcomed by those who see it as a refreshing departure from the artificiality that keeps leaders from talking directly to the average American in the language of everyday life. What seems most important to me about it, though, is something else. I see a rough-and-tumble, out-going, tough-skinned personality (mixed with times of graciousness, compassion and refinement) as essential to Trump’s staying afloat, much less succeeding, in the cauldron of today’s politics. As I review the issues here, we will see how intense the forces are that are arrayed against the movement he has chosen to lead. Trump is, in effect, a colossus besieged on all sides. Only a person of great strength can stand up to it. So what many see as failings, I see as virtues.
2. Our future as a people. The issue that first commanded the public’s attention about Trump was that he spoke out unabashedly about illegal immigration, saying what millions of Americans think but have so long been conditioned to repress. This is an issue that goes to the very existence of the American people as a people. Rather than a dispute over fact, this is a matter of values. Do we value the continuity of the American people, or do we accept the charge that it is “racist” to do so?
Enormous pressure groups insist that Americans surrender their identity. These include the activists for the incoming ethnicities, the business culture that wants cheap labor, and the media-academic-entertainment complex that has so long been preaching the virtues of “multiculturalism.”
3. The hollowing-out of our economy. For many years, industries and jobs have been flowing out of the United States to all parts of the world. This is consistent with the economic doctrine that efficiency is best served by everything’s being made by the world’s lowest-cost producers. That doctrine consciously disregards, however, any people’s national concern, not asking what best serves the interests of a given country from its own people’s point of view. Again, we face a question not of fact, but of values. In exchange for “global efficiency,” do we welcome the displacement of our industries and jobs, with a growing polarization of wealth and income as the middle class shrinks (transforming in the ugliest way the capitalism we have so long embraced)?
When Trump wants to bring those things back, he again runs afoul of powerful interests, which include the multinational corporations and everyone who profits from the out-sourcing, importing and off-shoring. Unfortunately, he also confronts the ideological fixations of those free market conservatives who do their own beliefs a disservice by sticking with an idea even after it has demonstrably failed the American people.
4. America’s serving as the social worker and policeman of the world. Somebody doesn’t have to be an “isolationist” to see that the desire – indulged in by both the Left and the Right and a great many well-meaning Americans. besides – to intervene in the affairs of all other nations and peoples to right the wrongs that exist within them and to bring them more in line with our own image is dangerous, presumptuous and, moreover, far beyond our means. Trump has said he wants us to leave it to other peoples to chart their own destinies, while we tend to our own needs as their friend but not as their well-intending master. When Trump says this, he recurs to the American tradition as voiced by John Quincy Adams that “we go not abroad seeking monsters to destroy”; but he can only hope that Americans who have long imbibed the spirit, on an international scale, of the “Social Gospel” will look seriously at the disconcerting realities that are called into play by our interventions.
5. The two-party “duopoly” that marries government and Big Money. The American people have correctly perceived that our politics and government have become dominated by an incestuous combination: lobbyists, big donors, legislators and administrators who play the game of musical chairs between government and private interests, and politicians in both parties who know their success lies with serving those interests. Trump shares that perception, and when he says “I’m self-funding,” he is explaining that his independent wealth allows him to become president without being beholden to anyone other than the American people at large.
It is easy to see how this independence incurs the wrath of the powerful forces that profit from the system. Trump supporters accordingly tend to expect and ignore the thousands of abundantly-funded attack ads run against Trump.
6. Bucking the Republican establishment. Trump has won his victories by going to the voters, circumventing the party organizations. The Republican organizations in the various states are not all the same, but in one way or another most serve ideas and interests that are not yet alive to the issues Trump is raising. They would rather have picked their own candidate. There is much talk of the need to “unify” with them, but that assumes that the issues are superficial – which they definitely are not – or that it is a matter of conflicting personalities who simply have to come together. If unification occurs, it will likely be because practical politicians decide to be part of a Trump administration. Unless they see their way clear to become part of the awakening of the “silent majority” that Trump is leading, they will continue to be torn between him and the ideas and interests they have adhered to until now.
Prominent voices within the defeated Republican old-guard are among those most ardently damning Trump.
7. Bucking the suffocating blanket of opinion control. The “establishments” against which Trump is campaigning are not just the ones I have mentioned. There is one that is far more pervasive and controlling, and which will take a profound cultural and intellectual revolution (albeit peaceful) to overturn. The blanket of “politically correct” (i.e., ideologically mandatory) opinion that lies over the American people and that is so militantly enforced by denunciation and ostracism came into being through more than a century’s efforts by an adversarial intellectual culture. The American people have for generations grown up in schools and universities that have been steeped in that outlook. Since the 1930s, the Left has talked of a “march through the institutions.” That march, and much that preceded it, has long held sway (with, of course, some exceptions) over the main media, academia, the professions, the corporate sector, the entertainment world, and the millions of Americans (many well-schooled) who unquestioningly accept what the opinion-makers say, at any given time, is respectable opinion. (I have coined the fanciful Dr. Seuss-type word “PeeWOCS” as a shorthand way of referring to this phenomenon. It means “People Whose Opinions Count.”) When Trump speaks repeatedly about “the dishonesty of the media” and that “we don’t have time to be politically correct,” and thinks in terms of leading a movement of the great middle majority of the American people, he is running directly counter to the mental control exercised by this massive blanket of mandated opinion. It remains to be seen whether he fully grasps how profoundly he is challenging the dominant force in American life. We need to understand, though, that so long as that force continues its rule nothing that Americans have cherished is safe. Our history is being rewritten, our heroes vilified, our holidays replaced, the Constitution is becoming ever-less recognizable; and I would warn evangelical Christians who have been reluctant to support Trump that they will have little future in this country unless the silent majority is at last given its voice. No one other than Trump has stood up as a leader in this fight.
It isn’t just the “special interests” who oppose Trump. The constant flow of media distortion with which we are hammered daily comes from the PeeWOC mass. Can the American people, and Trump as an individual, ignore the hammering and go on despite it? It remains to be seen.
Americans now have an historic opportunity. It is almost certainly our last if we don’t take it.
Dwight Murphey, retired Wichita State University professor, May 2016