The size of the audience in Washington aside, the vision of the inaugural speech of Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, was definitely small.
He may have had his hand on the Lincoln Bible, but there’s nothing Lincoln-esque about Trump 45.
Trump was actually more like King Donald, issuing what he called “a new decree.”
“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said. “From this moment, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and families.”
Far from the grandiose uplifting poetic oratory one expects in inaugural rhetoric, the Trump speech was plain and direct, with all the eloquence of a campaign sledge hammer.
From the man who lost the popular vote and enters office with the lowest approval ratings in 20 years, I’d expected to hear a far more gracious call for unity.
Instead we get what may be the only Trump there is, the campaign Trump, always running, fighting against challenges to his legitimacy.
It’s the ABC Trump, the Always Be Closing Trump, trying to make sure the blue states that turned red don’t revert back.
In the inaugural he spoke generally of the mothers and children in inner cities, and the workers from the “rusted-out factories;” and an education system which he described as “flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge.” He spoke of drugs and gangs, and things you don’t normally hear about in an inaugural.
It was the blunt setup for Trump the hero: “This American carnage stops right her and stops right now.”
Does he not realize how much better the U.S. is after 8 years of Obama, who got the country back on track after Republicans drove our economy to the worst recession since the Great Depression?
And what of the carnage that Trump has espoused during his campaign and transition?
More than grousing about the size of the crowds who came to his inaugural, here are the real numbers he should be concerned about:
How will America First solve those problems?
Even more disconcerting is how America will no longer view itself as a world leader.
“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” said Trump. “But we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
No wonder Putin loves Trump. Trump’s giving him the greenlight.
Trump appears ready to abdicate leadership on the UN, on NATO. It’s a scary prospect because since World War II the U.S. has been the moral leader of the free world. From the sound of it, Trump has no interest in being world cop, or world arbiter.
Because the focus of America is going away from global to the very small.
“The bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” Trump said. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
Linking patriotism as a way to fight discrimination, now that was interesting.
Now someone make sure the memo gets spread. Tell that to all Trump’s Neo-Nazi, white supremacists who take the president’s moral cues and see it as justification for their blatantly racist behavior toward those of us “not like them.”
I was really expecting Trump to spell it out more clearly.
Usually an address of this magnitude has a section I call the “diversity litany,” when the rhetoric lists all the different groups the speaker refers to under the term “all.”
Nearly all of President Obama’s major speeches included a mention of Whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ communities.
In Trump’s inaugural, we got none of that.
Instead we got this: “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.”
And what of the Asian Americans, who in the color scheme are often referred to as yellow?
And LGBTQ? Reports say that the White House web site has taken down not just the climate change page, but the LGBTQ page.
So much for the limited definition of diversity under Trump.
The man who has nominated a cabinet with zero Latinos, one Asian American, and one African American, just doesn’t seem to care.
So when he says, “You will never be ignored again,” he really was only talking to those whites who turned the blue states red.
The rest of us had our time under Obama when the vision of America was big.
And now it’s not. Originally, the GOP had a strategy for diversity and the new America before the campaign began.But lo and behold, Trump won. And that memo was ripped up.
And now we face the consequences.
Trump is making America small again.
Emil Guillermo is a veteran journalist and commentator who writes for the civil rights organization, AALDEF at http://www.aaldef.org/blog
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