The theme of President Trump’s State of the Union is going to be “choosing greatness.”
Following on an election in which “Make America Great Again” was a primary theme – remember the campaign hats said MAGA, not Trump, there is a certain logic to President Trump emphasizing that Americans should move beyond vicious partisanship and “choose greatness” for their country.
This concept of American greatness has deep roots – from the Founding Fathers through Abraham Lincoln to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. In his historic August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, Reverend King repeatedly called on Americans to live up to the promise of America’s greatness and the commitment to equality under the law inherent in the Declaration of Independence. It, after all, proclaimed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Unlike the modern left, Reverend King was not challenging us to abandon the concept of America. He instead was challenging us to live up to the potential required, as he put it, “if America is to be a great nation.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice captured the challenge for all of us in living up to the American potential when she said, “always look upon the future with hope, not with fear -- as something we will shape, not something to which we will submit.”
When President Trump delivers the State of the Union Tuesday night, he will be building on his belief that it is possible to make America great again. He will be building on an astonishing run of economic growth, job creation, the lowest unemployment for African-Americans and Hispanics and Latinos historically recorded, rising real wages and real progress in trade negotiations.
President Trump will also be building on dramatic deregulation, freeing up job creation, a historic number of constitutional conservative judicial appointments and confirmations, a significant strengthening of NATO, and an enormous impact on issues from Iran to Syria to Venezuela to North Korea.
Normally, this record would be a great basis for a strong State of the Union and a positive framework for projecting an American commitment to greatness.
However, the anti-Trump media hostility (Media Research Center reported at least 90 percent of news coverage on nightly broadcast networks was negative in 2017 and 2018) and the seemingly endless hostility of the elites, create a mountain of resistance for Trump to climb that is far steeper than a normal president would face.
Monday, the day before the State of the Union, we have the latest example of the kind of artificial hostility that tries to clutter the Trump presidency and make it difficult for the president to build positive momentum.
Some despicable, disloyal person decided to leak the president’s schedule for the last three months. This schedule shows that President Trump protects a lot of his time for learning, thinking and talking with people.
The Washington Trump-haters have decided this is a horrifying example of inadequate work.
Of course, these same members of the Washington establishment disliked Ronald Reagan making frequent visits to his California ranch throughout his presidency.
They would have criticized Dwight Eisenhower’s practice of reading Western novels to clear his head.
They would have been horrified at Churchill’s habit of taking a long nap in the afternoon and then working late into the night. Churchill’s reputation for drinking would have scandalized them.
Finally, they would have challenged Lincoln’s habit of reading the Bible regularly. As good secular liberals they could not imagine why a war-time president would “waste” his time seeking wisdom and solace in the Bible.
I have concluded that President Trump has three groups of opponents.
First, there are the Never Trumpers who just hate the very idea that this non-politician businessman could win the presidency without having gone through the establishment rites of initiation. Whatever he does, they will criticize and oppose.
Second, there are the anti-American radicals who repudiate the message of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. These are members of the modern left who disdain traditional American principles and want to replace them. He wanted America to live up to the great promises it had made to all people. The radicals have instead concluded that America is inherently racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and misogynist, and it must be destroyed and replaced. They are for open borders because they want to drown traditional Americans in waves of people who are not assimilated and never learn what it means to be American.
I referred to these first two groups as members of the anti-Trump coalition in my New York Times best-seller "Trump’s America: The Truth About Our Nation’s Great Comeback."
However, there has emerged a third group: They are the “trivialists.” I really had not understood the concept of trivialists until I watched the coverage of various “scandals” and “leaks” under the Trump presidency. The hysteria that has been attached to some headlines and stories are examples of those who ignore the great accomplishments in favor of the trivial nonsense. Monday's coverage of the Trump schedule is a perfect example of the trivialists in action.
Tune in to the State of the Union Tuesday night. Listen to the president and then the Democrats’ response given by an open-border radical. Then watch the next 48 hours as the trivialists find minor things on which to fixate.
Then reread the “I Have a Dream” speech and ask yourself who is coming closer to the spirit and the idealism of Reverend King. The answer will likely shock your friends.