Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration speech of President Trump

and here is a commentary by Rex Murphy in the National Post.

Donald Trump is not an orator. Rather he’s a man with a plain message, which he delivers plainly. 
Donald John Trump delivered the starkest Inaugural Address of modern times. It was so far out of the mode as to be unique: unembroidered, direct, with little flourish, one message and brief. The government belongs to the citizens was the message. 
It works for the citizens. It does not exist, is not for the benefit of, nor is it owned by those who practice politics, or who live off the administration, practices or management of politics.
He is in Washington, the dew-fresh president said, to serve Americans first. And most particularly those Americans who have not shared, to a just extent, in the benefits and wealth of 20th– and 21st-century technological and communicational advances. He calls them, rightly, the forgotten Americans. And pledges they will not be forgotten again.
Now it is a large question whether a pledge of this magnitude and emotional depth can really be fulfilled. In a very real way it is a larger promise, a larger summons than was ever made by Barack Obama, ringing so perfectly, as the orator he was, the chimes of Hope and Change. Trump’s promise is visceral not rhetorical; it is particular — it is reaching down to the jobless, to the gang- and murder-torn inner cities, to those in economic torment, and saying this is really going to change for all of you. 
This is a steel yardstick he has set for himself. 
For to the people listening for just that message, and by virtue of the emphatic, convicted tone he adopted in making it a fundamental pledge, he has made what I will call a real promise. Either the anxieties, the disenchantments, the woes of the many left behind and forgotten are, to some extent, dispelled in the next four years, or they will not be. His success will register unfailingly, or not.
Trump has no cloud of semantics or rhetorical overflight to hide behind. He has given himself no cover. This is not the famous blank slate of Barack Obama. Trump, in his bare 15 minutes or so made a commitment that reaches to the particular lives and welfare of individual Americans, and the measurement of that commitment is thereby in the hands and hearts of every American to whom he made it. Their lives will either be better in four years or not, and there is no pillar behind which Mr. Trump can hide, nor I suspect will he seek to hide, if he cannot keep it.
The brevity of the speech had one unintended obscurity, or rather acted to obscure how momentous the Trump ascendancy threatens or promises to be. Just how much of a radical shift, a convulsion, that the moment of its occasion represented. Trump has virtually cleared the table of politics as it has been practiced and played for over a generation. He has bulldozed the old verities of political practice. He has shattered the codes of party politics, routed the tired mages of the political panels, the think tanks and NGOs. And he has utterly bypassed the hollow practices of virtue signalling and the insidious tribalism of identity politics. And as for the claustrophobic thought-amputations of political correctness, he has, correctly, shown nothing but scorn and dismissal. This is a wholesale reworking of the mode and understanding of modern American politics.
Most heretically, he has fervently embraced that most basic and condign of civic emotions: patriotism. It has been the style of enervated liberalism to decry, even to shame, the principal virtue of any serious polity: faith and pride in one’s own country and fellow citizens. Trump is not ashamed to be American. He glories in it. For a whole great swath of American opinion, certainly for the enlightened swamis of Hollywood and academia, for all the stale, tired and wearisome activists and professional grievance farmers, this is a radical perspective. His address amounted to a noble, though forgotten, truism. The purpose of a government is to serve the people of that country whose government it is.
I should remark the incidental serendipity that — were you to subtract from Bernie Sanders his conspiracy theories of business and capitalism, and his Soviet honeymoons — Sanders could have given Trump’s speech. The emphasis on the ordinary citizen, on work, on the forgotten middle and lower class — these would have rolled with different rhythm but much the same emphasis from Hillary’s upstart socialist rival, as easily as they fell from the newly presidential tycoon. Bernie and the Donald have more in common than either might have guessed.
Donald Trump’s address was, finally, as I’ve said, less a speech in the grand vein, aiming for the quotation books, ripe with balanced antithesis and clever formulations, than a distilled declaration of serious intent. The slogan of a campaign, Make America Great Again, has become the guiding theme of the new administration. The new president will have the very fight of his life to bring into governance what he brought to his campaign. All the forces of condescension, comfort and high place are against him. But he has a connection to all those others who are not in that cocoon.
This will be a turbulent time, but it has its promise.

And another similarity noted.

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