Trump's address is a call to greatness — will we answer it?

Trump's address is a call to greatness — will we answer it?
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE “Babe Ruthed it” again on Tuesday: He calmly stepped up to the podium, pointed at the wall, and then hit his State of the Union address right out of the park.

From the very beginning, Trump set the tone of greatness and unity in his speech. He called on Congress not to govern as two parties but to govern as one nation, asking its members to reject the ideas of revenge and resistance and to give way to compromise and the common good. What a unique concept.

ADVERTISEMENT
That’s been the message of Trump all along that people keep missing: Trump isn’t about Republicanism or Democratism but Americanism. As in, how do we have policies and a government that prioritizes and benefits, first and foremost, the American people, regardless of race or gender or party.

 

That is always to be the priority of the representatives of the American people, yet we’ve drifted from it over the years. More and more our government, our bureaucracy and our leaders of both parties have become detached from the American people and the singular goal of serving and protecting their interests. Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp that Trump is just proposing common sense? Granted, people get distracted and focus on his style, which is a shame, but it’s hard to argue with his substance.

How can one argue with all Americans benefiting from 157 million of us working right now, the most ever in our history? Or the fact that we have the lowest unemployment in 50 years? Or the fact that 58 percent of the new job openings last year were filled by women? Trump even got the white-clad brigade of progressive women in Congress to stand and applaud that fact.  

And isn’t it just common sense to have trade deals that benefit the American people? Why should we continue operating under trade deals that have bordered on theft of American wealth and jobs? Or foreign policies that benefit them and not this idea of perpetual, endless wars?

Of course, these ideas should be obvious ones but, in a town where common sense has been on life support for decades if not nonexistent, Trump has come to Washington and challenged,  questioned, the status quo with the singular goal of aligning everything towards the goal of benefitting the American people. 

There were, of course, some stoney stares from Democrats over Trump’s comments on immigration and abortion. Yet, no one can argue with a straight face that our broken immigration system and southern border benefit the American worker or taxpayer. From the additional strains (and significant annual costs to the taxpayer) on our various social-welfare systems, health providers and education systems, in addition to crimes and drugs, it’s impossible for honest people to argue against reform and real border security. 

And Trump was right to highlight the inhumanity and barbarism of late-term abortions. It’s time for Congress to take up the issue and pass legislation preventing abortions beyond 20 weeks. Do we really want to be in the company of China and North Korea and Vietnam on that issue? What does that say about us as a nation? On a common sense front, what country in its right mind would continue to kill its future citizens when that country is in a demographic winter, as the United States is currently in. 

Perhaps Trump’s greatest line last night was “If we want peace and legislation, we cannot have war and investigation.” But for legislation to happen, for Congress to actually govern and do the people's’ business, a certain amount of hyper-partisanship has to be left behind. A nation cannot be great if it is constantly at each other’s throats. So we have to decide if we’re going to choose greatness.

That was the overarching theme of Trump’s speech last night. We’d been informed in recent times that America was in decline and that all we could really do was manage that decline. But decline is a choice, and greatness is a choice. We can accept the reality of where we’ve been with our trade deals and immigration and foreign policy, even our economy and our jobs and wages.

Or we can choose another path.

That is one of Trump’s central messages, and why he won: We choose not to decline, we choose to be great. We have been a singular nation throughout the course of our history because of very distinct decisions. We’ve not been perfect but we have been one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen, because of those intentional choices.

I’m reminded of what my father once said in his pursuit of greatness in his running career: You achieve great things by doing the small things well. If, across the board on every domestic and foreign policy issue, we as a country can make the right, common sense decisions, realign our priorities, there’s no telling the heights to which we can climb as a nation.  

The question, of course, is whether this country and its leaders will make those right decisions moving forward.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for President George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority, which trains conservative political candidates and activists.