In celebration of one of America’s most important holidays, Independence Day, President Trump gave a presidency-defining speech in front of Mount Rushmore this weekend. It was an impassioned defence of America, the nation’s heroes, and its legacy.
Both Trump’s speech and the media’s angry reaction to it exposed the now-gaping political divide that has opened up around the western world in general, and America in particular. At the heart of this divide is a single, resounding question: is the West evil and in need of revolution, or is it fundamentally good and worth preserving?
“Kicking off the Independence Day Weekend, President Trump will be at Mount Rushmore, where he’ll be standing in front of a monument of two slave owners and on land wrestled away from Native Americans.”
She was, of course, referring to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the two most recognisable Founding Fathers of the United States, who are depicted along with Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln at the famous landmark.
In case you missed it, CNN — the nation’s best-known cable news network — is now dismissing America’s founders as “slaveowners” without so much as mentioning their names.
Like other aspects of America’s history, Mount Rushmore’s past has been long known and acknowledged, as have the sins of the nation’s founders. Yet this language was never used by the media when President Obama or Hilary Clinton made visits there during past presidential campaigns.
While Santiago spoke, the CNN banner displayed at the bottom of the screen read “Reexamining ‘Independence’ Day” — with the word “independence” in scare quotes. In other words, even to celebrate this national holiday is now considered suspect by the network once dubbed “the most trusted name in news”.
But the irony didn’t stop there. The reporter criticised Trump for standing against those who in recent weeks have sought to erase America’s history. Which is, in fact, what she and her network were at that very moment engaged in doing.
It is understandable that Trump’s speech offended CNN, the New York Times and many other media outlets, since it so accurately described them:
Today, we pay tribute to the exceptional lives and extraordinary legacies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. I am here as your President to proclaim before the country and before the world: This monument will never be desecrated—these heroes will never be defaced, their legacy will never, ever be destroyed, their achievements will never be forgotten, and Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.
We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations: July 4th, 1776. At those words, every American heart should swell with pride. Every American family should cheer with delight. And every American patriot should be filled with joy, because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world, and it will soon be greater than ever before…
Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.
And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure.
Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.
Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.
In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.
Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.
To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage…
The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions.
Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.
This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defile the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Today, we will set history and history’s record straight.
Channeling the Psalmists and Hebrews 11, President Trump went on to recount the faithful deeds of the four presidents etched into the mountainside. He called George Washington “the father of our country” and Thomas Jefferson “the author of American Freedom. Abraham Lincoln he described as “the saviour of our union”, while Theodore Roosevelt he characterised as “American freedom personified in full”.
He went on to draw clear battle-lines, and define the Judeo-Christian values that have made western nations like America so free, successful and generous:
No movement that seeks to dismantle these treasured American legacies can possibly have a love of America at its heart… No person who remains quiet at the destruction of this resplendent heritage can possibly lead us to a better future.
The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion…
We are proud of the fact — that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we understand — that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world.
We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life…
We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God.
This is who we are. This is what we believe. And these are the values that will guide us as we strive to build an even better and greater future.
Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America…
We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King, when he said that the Founders had signed “a promissory note” to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us — the founding ideals. He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage…
Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars…
Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the Internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American astronauts on the Moon — and one day very soon, we will plant our flag on Mars…
My fellow citizens: America’s destiny is in our sights. America’s heroes are embedded in our hearts. America’s future is in our hands. And ladies and gentlemen: the best is yet to come.
Media outlets have sought to characterise Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech as “dark and divisive” and accused him of defending Confederate statues. This despite the fact that he never mentioned Confederate monuments; he continually praised the abolition of slavery; and he named numerous black American heroes — from Jesse Owens to Harriet Tubman to Louis Armstrong and Mohammed Ali.
Donald Trump is still something of an enigma. With his tweets and the biting tone he wields against his enemies, he often lacks grace and does not evidence the Christian faith he claims adherence to.
And yet in the issues he is willing to take a clear stand on — gratitude, free speech, the family, the worth of the unborn, and faith in God, to name a few — he is more willing than many Christians to say it like it is and wear the consequences.
President Trump needs our prayers. He needs prayer for his own personal transformation. And he needs prayer for strength to keep defending the Judeo-Christian civilisation that so many want gone, and that so many Christians are unwilling to defend.
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