Living as I do overseas – and being somehow addicted to politics – this morning I looked online to see how the leader of the free world did on his first address to a joint house of congress. I went on RealClearPolitics like I always do – because they are “balanced”, in that they pick articles from both sides of the debate and run them side-by-side. And often from non-traditional media too. I opened first the Washington Post (for those who don’t know it – you can just think ‘Pravda on the Potomac’, a reputation she has earned especially well over the last year).
Under the banner “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is a nasty little article trying its best not to find anything to like with the new president. “An air of seriousness,” and “flashes of compassion” was the best they could do in a speech that they found “heavy on lofty prose” (lofty prose? Remember ‘oceans will recede‘?) and full of “bellicose language” as reaction to Trump’s description of the Islamic State as “lawless savages” (you’ll remember those guys, right? The crowd who sawed off the head of an American journalist with a dull knife?)
After wandering through the articles on the left and on the right, I turned my attention to listen to the speech itself. I was planning on visiting for only a few minutes – and found myself watching the entire thing. Because it was a remarkable speech – by far the best of his career. He took his inaugural address (which I also liked), a speech that described in detail our devastated nation, and used this his next public speech to America as his introduction into what he was going to do about it. It was disciplined, had specific goals and was heavy on – wait for it – what the American president felt was his responsibility, that is to say to try and make life for ordinary Americans better.
“We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America” (if the know-nothings disagree to this, they should visit Paris to know how that problem pans out). And “mandating every American to buy government-approved health care was never the right solution for our country.” Hear hear! And yes, even some ‘lofty prose’, “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing and hope.” He finished up with, “The time for small thinking is over. The times for trivial fights are through.”
I found myself hopeful, after so long thinking that the precipitous decline of our great republic was inevitable.
The best the Post could do? “At a moment when more Americans oppose him than support him, Trump sought to sell the country on his vision for transformational change.” Which, in itself, isn’t exactly true. ‘Right direction’ responses are trending upward, ‘optimism’ is at its highest in a decade and our President just delivered a home-run that, despite what Pravda on the Potomac says, will be shown to give our beleaguered nation the boost we need – at a time when we certainly do need some hope; coming as it does after eight years of despair.
“Democracy Dies in Darkness” says the Washington Post? Sigh. I know a thing or two about the death of democracies – in fact some might call me an expert – so let me ease your harried souls. All you are witnessing is a noble old republic that has started to rattle a little of late, and is at long last getting a much-needed tune-up.
Alas, the only thing that might be dead is objective journalism.