Over the weekend, Donald Trump gave a speech at Mt. Rushmore. Unlike his failed rally two weeks prior in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which he delivered off-the-cuff remarks including a bizarre twenty minute tangent about his difficulty descending a ramp at West Point, this was a prepared speech delivered more or less as written, with minimal Trumpian improvisation.
The themes of both speeches were quite similar: America is under attack by mobs of “Radical Left” anarchists who seek to erase our history and destroy our way of life. And while we certainly do not endorse either speech on substance, it is worth noting that compared to the Tulsa train wreck, this past weekend’s address was better conceived, better devised, and better executed.
In Tulsa, Trump winged it with unrehearsed and uninspired jingoistic appeals to nostalgia and nationalism detached from the dire reality of the times. Even his 6,200 most loyal supporters, who were willing to crowd an arena during a pandemic to see their dear leader in action, weren’t feeling it; you could tell. Throughout most of the rally, there was just as much noise coming from the 12,000+ empty seats as there was from the underwhelmed audience itself.
His July 4th speech, however, connected a reverence for America’s past to the lived experience of Americans today who feel threatened by the cultural shifts happening beneath their feet. He invoked “cancel culture” in order to frame the modern Left as a totalitarian, anti-Constitutional movement that poses an existential threat to our country as we know it.
We feel (and fear) that there is a certain potency to this argument. Therefore, it must be countered effectively. In order to do this, the Left must come up with answers to questions of how to reckon with America’s morally suspect history, how to push for forward-thinking cultural reforms without eliminating culture altogether, and how to enact a robust agenda despite the uselessness of the liberal establishment.
To hear our discussion on these topics and more (including Kanye!), listen to our latest podcast “How Far is Too Far: A Monumental Question” below:
Photo: Jerry Jackson, Baltimore Sun
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