Government & Politics

America First — Trump's Inaugural Address

We hope his aspirations for a stronger and more prosperous America come to fruition.

Nate Jackson · Jan. 20, 2017

“America First” pretty much sums up the message from Donald Trump’s inaugural address. The speech was a profoundly bold and brash populist manifesto, and it was quintessential Trump. National Review’s Rich Lowry called it a “slightly more subdued version of his stump speech.” Trump lauded our country and promised, of course, to make it great again. He also set the bar high with promises, and many Americans are eager to see what he’ll do as the 45th president of the United States.

Trump began with confidence and promise. “We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people,” he said. “Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.”

“We.” That word showed up nearly 50 times in the speech, while “I” appeared just three times. That’s a change from Barack Obama’s self-centered speeches.

Then he set about painting a picture of the damage done to our great nation by eight years of Barack Obama. And that began with a pointed rebuke of his predecessor sitting just behind him.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

Trump spoke with righteous indignation — shared by millions of voters — of rampant inner city poverty, “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones” around the nation, and an education system “flush with cash” but failing our children. He lamented how we’ve allowed our military to suffer depletion and lost our wealth to the rest of the world. He decried rising crime, which he called “American carnage” — a phrase that sent most Leftmedia talkingheads to the fainting couch.

“But that is the past,” he declared. “And now we are looking only to the future. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.”

By that, he meant that we will make things and buy the things we make. We’ll restore alliances and build new ones, all while eradicating the threat of radical Islamic terrorism — yes, he was bold enough to utter those words.

Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, who spent last year traveling the country to learn what makes Trump supporters tick, put it this way: “He presented himself not as a Republican or a conservative but as a populist independent. The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.

Finally, he appealed to unity in a way that must have made Obama cringe:

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. …

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 whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

Unity is tough to come by these days, and we aren’t holding our breath for Obama to lead his fellow leftists in any kind of display of it. But Trump hit some important notes in his speech and we hope his aspirations for a stronger and more prosperous America come to fruition.


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