Tags: 2020 Elections | Donald Trump | Presidential History | Supreme Court | pelosi | schiff | shumer

Our Virtue Will Face Its Greatest Test in the Coming Weeks

news conference regarding nevada vote

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria (R) discusses ballot counting at a news conference at the Clark County Election Department on Nov.  6, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Tuesday, 17 November 2020 10:44 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In an odd cri de coeur on CNN.com, journalist Richard L. Eldredge laments the rift in his family caused by the fact that he loathes Donald Trump, and several of his cherished relatives, who will no longer speak to him, support the man.

Eldredge displays all the key symptoms of what has been called Trump Derangement Syndrome, as he maintains, in effect, that no reasonable person could tolerate being in the same room with Trump, let alone select him for the nation’s chief executive.

Eldredge offers a sort of olive branch to his estranged kin, but apparently only if they will first acknowledge that they were profoundly wrong ever to see merit in a person whom Eldredge believes that every sentient being ought to understand is a racist, a misogynist, and a Luddite.

This is hardly a basis for reconciliation, but this bile-filled perspective is far from unique. Much the same thing was recently said by former first lady Michelle Obama, who opined that those who voted for Trump did so "even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos, and division."

These are not recipes for ending personal, family, or political division, but have, rather, the effect of shutting down the speech of those who actually have persuasive policy reasons for pursuing goals that President Trump and Republicans have advocated for decades.

There is nothing racist or misogynist in believing that originalists and textualists should be appointed to the bench, but so blinded were the president’s political enemies in the U.S. Senate that they attacked Brett Kavanaugh as a would-be rapist and Amy Coney Barrett as a toady who might deliver the presidency to Donald Trump as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Donald Trump has, on occasion, fought his enemies with something of the vitriol they unleash on him, but it is not the right which has engaged in the destruction and looting and burning down of stores and cities in the last four years.

The man whom Mr. Eldredge and Michelle Obama loath strengthened the country’s military, while at the same time disengaging us from endless foreign wars, reduced anti-business federal regulations and onerous taxes, laid the groundwork for lasting Mideast Peace, had created the lowest unemployment rate in history for minorities and women, and made it possible for the accelerated discovery of a vaccine to deal with a novel and pernicious virus.

Oddly, the focus on Mr. Trump’s prickly personality renders his critics incapable of acknowledging his accomplishments.

Is it any wonder that those of us who recognize and support the president’s policies and achievements find disturbing the manufactured Russia collusion narrative and the absurd impeachment, and are willing to entertain the increasingly likely prospect that the 2020 election was compromised by the most blatant manipulation of the vote count?

Why, exactly, was it so impossible for the president’s critics to move beyond his personality to understand what he sought to accomplish, and that his love for the country and its people was genuine?

Many of his supporters recognized that his background as a businessman, as a real-estate deal maker and entertainer actually gave him the wherewithal successfully to triumph over opposition and achieve his agenda, and that, in our polarized environment, only a rough-edged Republican could succeed.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Chuck Schumer,  D-N.Y., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and many others who eschewed cooperation with this president lest he score political victories, and instead sought mendaciously to hobble his administration, have more to answer for than does Mr. Trump.

It seems to those of us on the right that the left’s cancel culture is engaged in shutting down our views because of their belief that the policies we advocate must spring from only base and unworthy motives. That breathtaking self-righteousness makes cooperation difficult, and dialogue nearly impossible.

When the Framers of the Constitution acknowledged that the maintenance of a republic would only be possible if there were sufficient virtue in the people, they were acknowledging the fact of passion in the populace but were trusting in providence in the manner Abraham Lincoln did to promote the "better angels of our nature."

The next few weeks, as we resolve the election disputes and finally acknowledge the leader whom the American people have chosen to guide us for the next four years, may be the greatest test of that virtue and those better angels. For the last four years, spleen, vituperation, and revenge have characterized Donald Trump’s critics.

If continued acrimony, civil disturbance or rhetorical or other forms of political gridlock or worse are to be avoided, and if whoever leads this nation for the next four years is to have any hope of governing all the people, cancel culture and the refusal to concede the possibility of good faith on the part of political opponents must end.

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). Presser was a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. Read Stephen B.Presser'sReports More Here.

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The next few weeks, as we resolve the election disputes and finally acknowledge the leader whom the American people have chosen to guide us for the next four years, may be the greatest test of that virtue and those better angels.
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Tuesday, 17 November 2020 10:44 AM
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