Rushmore and the Two-Faced Left
Given by any other man, it would have been considered one of the greatest speeches of our time. A triumph of American exceptionalism. But it was not any other man standing under the granite faces of Mount Rushmore on the night before July 4th. It was Donald Trump. So however inspired his words may have been, however sincere his call to remember the deep well of American goodness, however different his message might have been from all the others the media loves to criticize, he was never going to get a fair shake. The president’s detractors stopped listening a long time ago, missing the moment they would have realized this nation had been waiting for.
What happened Friday night, under the red, white, and blue bunting of a Fourth of July weekend, was defining — not just for this president, but for a hurting country. The scars of 2020 already run deep, with the last several weeks splitting wider old wounds. For most of us, it’s a time of uncertainty we’ve never experienced, a fear for our nation that’s never felt more real. It was with that backdrop that President Trump flew to South Dakota and spoke from the heart. He reminded us about the miraculous story of America, about the men and women of every race who bled and fought to make us the brightest light the world had ever seen. “No nation," he said, "has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America, and no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.”
There are so many great chapters of adventure, innovation, and courage waiting to be written, Trump wanted the country to know. But the other side isn’t interested. They don’t want to teach children to love their country, honor their history, and grab on to opportunity. They want to erase our history, he warned. But “their goal is not a better America. Their goal is to end America.” Undermining, the president explained, the very cause they claim to represent — the cause of abolitionists, of Martin Luther King, Jr., of civil rights visionaries the world over.
Passionate at times, eloquent at others, it was the speech of a man who realized it wasn’t just his presidency at stake — but his country. And yet, the same hypocritical voices who demand the very leadership President Trump displayed eviscerated him for it afterward. “Dark,” “divisive,” “traitorous,” and “combative," the media’s reaction was full of this ridiculous insistence that patriotism isn’t just partisan — it’s racist. "It would be difficult to get a more textbook expression of the American civic religion than the speech at Rushmore,” NRO’s Rich Lowry declared, “…or a more affirming account of the greatness of America and its meaning to the world. And, yet, the speech was tested and found wanting.”
Meanwhile, no one is quite sure what the mob’s solution to this crisis is (if they seek a solution at all). Their idea of justice divides. Their idea of equality silences. If we can’t unite around our common identity as Americans, what is there? And maybe for angry liberals, that’s the point. “Divisive?" the editors of the Wall Street Journal wrote in astonishment. "Mr. Trump’s speech was certainly direct, in his typical style. But it was only divisive if you haven’t been paying attention to the divisions now being stoked on the political left across American institutions.”
Never before, Lowry insisted, “has a speech extolling America’s virtues and the marvels or the nation’s heroes played to such poor — and completely dishonest — reviews.” You can say a lot of things, he argued, “that the speech was insincere, or that Trump’s tweets matter more than anything he reads from a Teleprompter… but you can’t say it was racially divisive.” What it was, Rich wrote, was a celebration of America’s “Founders, its ideals and freedom, its capacity for self-renewal, its astonishing variety of geniuses, adventurers, warriors, inventors, and great musicians and athletes.” If that’s an expression of “white supremacy,” Rich worries, then America is on dangerous ground.
And yet, the Left is so desperate to cancel President Trump that Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) couldn’t even get Democrats to pass a simple resolution condemning mob violence as the Senate left town last week. “[My proposal] was designed to be unifying. It avoided controversial subjects [and encouraged] basic dignity and civil respect. And apparently that’s too much to ask for today’s Democratic Party.” The only way they would consider it, he said on Monday’s “Washington Watch,” is if he inserted language blaming the president for creating this chaos. “I said, ‘Look, I’ll take the rest of [your] language, but… I’m not going to let you turn this into an anti-Trump rant…” And because of that, it failed.
This whole climate, Mike shook his head, “is not good for us as humans. It’s not good for our souls.” Civility, he urged, “ultimately centers on Jesus Christ’s teachings of love and respect. We can disagree with someone without being disagreeable. We can disagree with them even passionately while still loving them and treating them with decency and respect.” Let’s face it, he said, “This is the greatest civilization the world has ever known. And we’re great not because of who we are, but because of what we do, because we’ve chosen to be good and kind to each other.”
There are forces in this country who want to take that choice away. To make hate the only language Americans speak. We cannot let them. The time has come to rise up and defend what 244 years of freedom have already won — if not out of respect for the generations who came before us, then out of concern for the ones who come after.
Originally published here.
At Nike, Uyghur Lives Don’t Matter
If you want to know how sincere companies like Nike, Apple, Samsung, and others are about fighting injustice, look overseas. While these CEOs get on their moral high horse about all of America’s racial failings, it’s time for these businesses to take a long, hard look in the mirror. If they think slavery was a blight on U.S. history, then what are they doing supporting it in China today?
For Nike, black lives may matter, but Uyghur lives sure don’t. While the company commits millions of dollars to “social justice” here at home, the reality is, they’re contributing to China’s growing injustice in factories thousands of miles away. Countless Uyghurs, a group so persecuted that they’re being systematically sterilized, aborted, and locked away in concentration camps, are huddling over American shoes, stitching the familiar swoosh on the sides. “Everyone knows they didn’t come here of their own free will,” one of the area vendors tells the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield. “The Uyghurs had to come because they didn’t have an option. The government sent them here.”
Shipped to factories around the country, they’re sentenced to work as slaves for some of America’s most recognizable brands. Surrounded by barbed wire, prison guards, and security cameras, the persecuted minority is the dirty secret U.S. companies have been keeping. “Bought and sold” by local governments to work for Nike, Apple, and others, these woke CEOs are being implicated in one of the worst human rights atrocities in the world. And it’s time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists, to hold them accountable.
In an advisory to U.S. businesses, his team is warning CEOs to pull back from supply chains that engage in this kind of oppression, especially, the notice insisted, because of the “reputational, economic, and legal risks of involvement with such entities.” America, the secretary told me on Monday’s “Washington Watch,” would like to have a good relationship with China, but their treatment of the Uyghurs — and their recent crackdown on Hong Kong — is making that nearly impossible. “We now know the way authoritarian regimes treat their people all too often. And that’s what we’re seeing in China today.”
The cultural genocide, Pompeo agreed, “has only escalated, and we do all that we can diplomatically to call out this misbehavior. You mentioned the action that we took last week. It wasn’t just the State Department — it was other government agencies as well, making it clear that businesses that are connected to this activity, whether that is the forced sterilization or the forced abortions, these are the kind of things that you remember reading about from the worst times of the last century, businesses that are connected that will be held to account when they will be held responsible for their actions.”
How the administration does that, he explained, is still open for debate. “We want to put them on notice first. We want that each company to make its own decision. We watch American businesses claim that they are good stewards, working not only for profit, but for good outcomes and for the protection of human rights and decency.” But, he argued, “any business leader who says that they stand for those things that we all care about and who is engaged in activities that are connected to this Chinese Communist Party activity in Xinjiang, can’t hold those two thoughts in their head at the same time. And the United States isn’t going to permit them to continue.”
Of course, the irony is, 20 years ago, the argument for giving China permanent most favored nation status was because people thought that our economic partnership would bring about a greater appreciation for human rights and freedom. But unfortunately, as some of those businesses benefit from the human rights abuses, the forced labor in China, we realize it might have been the reverse. Sadly, many of these Fortune 500 international companies may have been more influenced by China than China has been influenced by them.
That experiment, Mike said, “just didn’t work… And that means the United States has to take a different path. President Trump’s laid that path out pretty clearly.” To both sides, he would argue, “This is not partisan. Republican and Democrat presidents before him allowed China to engage in trade relationship with United States, and it caused working people all across the United States to lose their jobs. And we can now see not only was there that economic damage done to the United States, but the people inside of China weren’t treated properly as well. Twin evils.”
There are other federal entities involved in the corporate advisory last week, including the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security. And they’re all, essentially, putting these businesses on notice that ignorance is no excuse. They will be held accountable if they’re benefiting from the atrocities that China is engaging in. Some CEOs, Pompeo pointed out, want to do what’s right. “A number of companies already have reached out to us and said, 'Hey, we’re not sure where [this is] in our supply chain.’ Sometimes it’s more complicated than one might think. So we try to help them figure their way through it… But many companies have come and said, ‘We want to comply. We want to get this right. We don’t want to have anything to do with this… Can you help us?’”
Others have been more difficult. And that’s where we come in. “Consumers make decisions about the companies they purchase products from,” the secretary urged. “They should they should all be aware that this kind of activity is taking place.” The goal, he said, is to raise awareness “all across the world, not just in the United States, but everywhere, that freedom-loving people simply want every human being to have the basic unalienable rights to which the Lord has entitled them.”
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.