Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The Empire State Building was built in a year. During WW2, we built almost 100,000 aircraft in a year. The 1,700 mile Alaska Highway was completed in a year. Compare that to Obama’s California high speed train to nowhere which got its start in his stimulus plan in 2009 and whose deadline he had to extend to 2022. In the 19th century, railroad crews laid 10 miles of track in one day between sunrise and sunset.
It took a decade and billions of dollars for New York City to build a subway that runs 20 blocks.
But in a bold and courageous address, President Trump laid out a tremendous vision that runs from transforming our education and health care systems and rebuilding our military, to curing diseases, unleashing technological wonders and even, “American footprints on distant worlds.”
It is a vision of revitalized industries, rebuilt cities and thriving communities. It is the America that once was and might have been if history had taken a different turn on a cold fall night in Chicago.
And it can be ours again.
The President called for unleashing the potential of inner cities trapped under Democrat rule with school choice and gave a voice to the victims of illegal alien crime. He envisioned the rebuilding of our infrastructure and the end of ObamaCare. He defied the warnings of the appeasement lobby and spoke out firmly against Islamic terror. And he laid out a vision for making the nation great again.
"Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people," the President urged.
We haven’t thought big or built big. Money pours through our hands and disappears into the pockets of a corrupt establishment. The dollar tip of a waitress in a small town in Ohio goes into the Georgetown mansion of an environmental consultant. The tax hike that wipes out the annual profits of a small business in Michigan disappears into a three billion dollar accounting error in Washington D.C.
And even this thievery, the theft of the billions and trillions that vanished under Obama leaving us deeply indebted to China and Japan, is small, mean and petty. The Clintons had rented out the Lincoln Bedroom when they were in the White House. Then they ran for office by charging half the dictators and lobbyists of the world rent on the Lincoln Bedroom on the assumption that Hillary would get the keys.
There was no vision to the miserable thievery. Just vultures picking over the bones of a great nation.
But in the election, tens of millions of Americans drove off the vultures circling over the Washington Monument. The Clintons roam the Chappaqua woods while a national vision returns to D.C.
A vision that is uniquely American in its optimism and its confidence.
"A new chapter of American Greatness is now beginning," President Trump declared. "A new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.”
“What we are witnessing today is the Renewal of the American Spirit."
The greatness of a nation that could once build a railroad to span the land, but that now struggles through the San Joaquin Valley and a few blocks in Manhattan, that could once raise skyscrapers that reached for the sky, but that can now spend a decade on an environmental review, has dimmed.
Americans of every class and race have grown afraid. Their horizons have shrunk. There have been too many depressions and lost wars, industries that died and factories that failed, towns and counties that faded into the twilight of broken families and drugs while the government class got richer and richer.
Democrats offer more government dependency, but no purpose, meaning or renewal.
No vision and no greatness.
In his address, President Trump issued a call to national greatness, “Join me in dreaming big, and bold and daring things for our country.”
He asked a nation still struggling with the wounds of a bitter century of war and economic malaise to believe in its possibilities.
“The time for small thinking is over,” the President declared. “We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts. The bravery to express the hopes that stir our souls. And the confidence to turn those hopes and dreams to action.”
After eight years of an administration whose vision of progress was rigidly ideological, President Trump offered optimism grounded in the conviction that we can make the country better by making things happen. “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved,” he said.
That sense of optimism is uniquely American. It stands in sharp contrast to the dreadful years of Obama malaise that made economic and national progress dependent on social progress. Under Obama, national progress depended on atoning for our social sins through diversity and our environmental sins through alternative energy. We didn’t deserve success or happiness if we didn’t do these things.
And when we did them and didn’t succeed, that was also good. It reminded us that we were focusing on the wrong things, like having jobs or being able to afford the things we needed, instead of our privilege.
President Trump’s address is a call for us to succeed. It ends our economy’s social justice hostage crisis.
He declared war on everything from unfair trade deals to crime, but he also issued a call for national unity. He asked us to envision the potential of America in its 250th year and our own potential.
And he demanded that we rethink our priorities.
"We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children," the President warned. "We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross."
We had become so convinced that the road to national greatness lay through transforming the world that we followed the road built by Woodrow Wilson and FDR to nowhere abroad and the road laid by LBJ and Obama to nowhere at home. And now the bill is coming due.
But in defiance of that malaise and its vultures, President Trump dared to envision a brighter and better future. It is a vision that resonated during the election and beyond. It is a vision of jobs returning to a prosperous nation and the unleashed progress that can only truly be made by a free people. But it is also a vision of a world in which the Democrats put aside their ideological hostility and agendas, and work together to make this country great again.
“Believe in yourselves, believe in your future.”
That was President Trump’s call to all of us. America can be great again. If we believe in our potential to remake it into what it was, what it can be and what it should be.
Through the terrible darkness of the Obama years, the long journey into a national nightmare, down the unlit paths of a country that we no longer recognized, the light of a better tomorrow was still there.
"And when we fulfill this vision; when we celebrate our 250 years of glorious freedom, we will look back on tonight as when this new chapter of American Greatness began," the President said.
The future is not lost. It is waiting for us.