In his inauguration speech Trump spelled out a vision of America that could only be set out by a man who knows nothing about what America is about. It is the type of speech that could only be given by a man who never gave anything to his country but only thought of making money by fair or foul means. As I have written before, the man is obsessed with money and nothing else.
His vision of America is totally wrong. We once tried to live by “buy American and hire American.” That slogan was popular during the ascendancy of the American Party that opposed Irish immigration and Catholics. We have not become what we are by being “only America first, America first.” We have long recognized that we are affected by what other nations do. We have been a nation that reaches out for and sacrifices for the purpose of keeping free people free.
Maybe some of you recall these words spoken by another American JFK to whom the idea of American first was quite alien. He said we are: “unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
Trump has no appreciation for such intangibles as liberty or freedom. He is going to represent a tight, narrow, insipid, fearful, crimped and cranky America telling us“a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens . . . .”
No, that is false. It is much more than that. Another person had a much different understanding of what America is about. He said: “To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, . . . To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge–to convert our good words into good deeds–in a new alliance for progress–to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. “
Ah, how sad it is listening to an uncultured man after having heard one with grace and class who truly understood what America is about. Who will stand up to tyranny in the world and protect the weak if America turns its eyes inward; who will protect the freedom of the seas if America withdraws back into its shores?
Trump judges everything by money: “we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America‘s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”
He is right we have done some of those things. It all began long ago with the Marshall Plan when we helped Europe recover from WWII. As we helped those countries get back on their feet we also helped our home industries who profited greatly as Europe rebuilt.
Yet it was not just putting Europe and Japan get back on their feet that was important; what we most recognized that these free democratic countries would bring about an era of peace as we became the strong center in assuring the “survival and success of liberty.”
With all his talk about money Trump does not figure in the value of peace upon which no price tag can be placed. Have you seen the pictures of Aleppo or Mozul? Compare them to Barcelona, Rome or Paris. Hasn’t our spending of money overseas been worth it to keep those latter cities free and peaceful?
Trump does not value this. Nor does he understand that by America spending some of its money by assuring that liberty exists in other countries we are also benefiting ourselves.