Tags: Donald Trump | Presidential History | Trump Administration | franklin | hamilton | jefferson | reagan

Trump No Threat to Nation, No Sense of Humor Is

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By Stephen B. Presser
Thursday, 06 Jul 2017 01:14 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There is always the temptation to declare that those with whom you disagree are crazy. It's nearly impossible for people to concede that their views might not accurately capture reality, thus it is much easier simply to conclude that anyone with a different worldview is insane. We are seeing this phenomenon played out since the election of Donald J. Trump, who views events through the prism of an extraordinarily successful businessman, and whose perspective is simply not that of the ivy-leaguers and bi-coastal elite who live in ivory towers of theory, abstraction, and Fabian socialism.

To those who, for eight years, ran Washington, D.C., ran the media, and who dominated the culture, Trump is a buffoon, a troglodyte, and a dangerous misogynist — an uncultured savage whose finger on the nuclear button threatens instant Armageddon.

Thus the group of self-appointed saviors, Democratic legislators, who want to use the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump on the grounds that he is incapacitated to govern, when they are simply incapable of understanding he may have an idea of governance that is, sadly, beyond them. His approach is Jacksonian, in that he has a talent — remarkable in a billionaire famed for his lavish lifestyle — for communicating directly with the common man. Instinctively he has embraced Twitter, with its short and pungent form of communication, and its nearly Haiku-like interjections.

His critics believe Mr. Trump is failing to uphold the dignity of the presidency, but Trump understands that dignity is over-rated. More important than dignity or virtue-signaling in our era of abandonment of classic American values such as the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the primacy of state and local governments, is overcoming the misdirection of the Obama years in which that abandonment was perpetrated.

Of more importance is defeating what Mr. Trump calls "the Swamp" and what academics refer to as the "deep" or "administrative" state — the federal leviathan that has come to occupy much too large a space in our lives.

Trump’s admittedly raw and jarring behavior is his way of letting those who supported him (enough Americans to give him the presidency, after all) understand that he is continuing to fight a cultural war that the progressive left, under President Obama, thought it had won.

The president’s tweets, and his more outrĂ© memes, such as the video with him vanquishing CNN, like his simple slogan of "Make America Great Again," are, at bottom, an endorsement of traditional American ideas such as family, patriotism, the free market, and (if you listen carefully to his speeches) religion. His critics paint the president as a dissembler, a liar, a ruffian, and an unscrupulous conspirator, but the real Donald Trump is none of those things, and, indeed, those who know him best actually stress his kindness and compassion.

Salena Zito’s wonderful observation that Trump’s critics in the press take him literally but not seriously and his supporters take him seriously but not literally was her way of appreciating that we now have a president who rivals Ronald Reagan as "The Great Communicator," a tycoon and television star who is capable of speaking in metaphor and is a master of comic timing and of wit so subtle that it all but eludes the punditry.

It’s true that the president dabbles in hyperbole, but so did Mark Twain, our greatest and most authentically American comic writer. If Huck Finn were to come to life today, he’d have a Twitter account, like the president’s, as would Andrew Jackson.

It is time for Trump’s critics to lighten up, to pause and consider that they might be wrong about the man, and, even more that they might be wrong about the right direction for the country. It is also time for those critics to develop a better sense of humor, irony, frivolity, and fun.

The current horrific danger to America does not come from Trump, but rather from those politically correct cultural police who seek to silence him and the people he represents because they do not share Trumpian values and traditional American variety and panache.

Mrs. Clinton’s lashing out at the "basket of deplorables," was after all, a sulfurous whiff of the attitude that George Orwell portrayed in his dystopian "1984," a society of bleak, rigid conformity, and merciless repression. Trump’s is the much richer and more humanistic heritage not only of Twain and Jackson, but, also of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. It was (and is) a heritage that understands not to take itself too seriously. It’s a culture that reaches for the stars, but is not above lowbrow, homespun and lighthearted pleasure.

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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StephenBPresser
The current horrific danger to America does not come from Trump, but rather from those politically correct cultural police who seek to silence him and the people he represents because they do not share Trumpian values and traditional American variety and panache.
franklin, hamilton, jefferson, reagan, twain
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2017-14-06
 

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