When President Trump walked down the staircase to the strains of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, followed by chants of, “USA, USA”, it was not only a callback to his famous escalator moment, no longer at Trump Tower, but at the White House, but a contrast between the parties.
“How can the Democratic party lead our country when they spend so much time tearing down our country?” President Trump asked.
Where the DNC had the feel of some long zoom session in a liberal suburb where everyone works from home and tries to keep up with the latest politically correct trends, the RNC was unapologetically physical and patriotic, its speakers embraced the great landmarks and trademarks of the nation, demonstrating that you can be diverse without destroying America.
The final night of the RNC wasn’t just a powerful antidote to the DNC, or even to the mainstream media alone, but to the hypocritical totalitarianism and the corporate buzzwords that we have been drowning in since the winter gave way to the spring, and to fear and violence.
President Trump and the array of speakers for the fourth night did not deny that we are a nation in crisis, instead they lit a torch to light the nation’s way out of the tyranny of terror and lies.
Introducing her father, Ivanka Trump had called him, the “people’s president”, and in his opening remarks, President Trump referred to the White House as the “people’s house”. In two brief sentences, he called out and dismissed the entire Democrat platform and its root leftist ideology.
“Our opponents say that redemption for you can only come from giving power to them,” he told the nation. “But in this country, we don’t look to career politicians for salvation. In America, we don’t turn to government to restore our souls – we put our faith in Almighty God.”
On the South Lawn, the gathered patriots sat hearing sirens in the background, the now commonplace noise of a nation under siege. Not far from the White House, the flag-burners and racists, the guillotine choppers and molotov cocktail hurlers, had gathered to call for an end to America. And the media and its pet experts had put the nation into a state of endless terror, dividing families, destroying jobs and businesses wholesale, and terrorizing countless millions.
Before Trump, they and the nation had heard from grieving mothers, fathers, and wives, from cops and war heroes, from leaders and workers about the struggles they had faced. And, even in the face of tragedy and terror, they had persevered, they had not given up fighting and living.
The most powerful speeches of the final night came from ordinary people telling their stories, not just because they were deeply heartfelt, but because these are the stories that could not be told. These were the stories that the media would not air and that most people had never heard.
The description of the White House as the “people’s house” was more than rhetoric. Like the State of the Union addresses, the president had made his platform into the people’s platform.
“They shot David in cold blood and then livestreamed his execution,” Ann Dorn told millions who knew George Floyd’s name and Jacob Blake’s name, but had never heard Captain David Dorn’s name. “I relive that horror in my mind every single day. My hope is that having you relive it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities.”
Even as Americans were watching scenes of the Democrat apocalypse from Kenosha, ordinary people, police officers, and leaders warned that the radical violence was coming to your town.
“The Democrats have walked away from us. They have walked away from police officers. And they’ve walked away from the innocent people we protect,” the PBA’s Pat Lynch warned, speaking on behalf of 50,000 NYPD officers. “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
“A vote for Biden brings the risk you will bring this lawlessness to your town, to your city, to your suburb,” former Mayor Rudy Giuliani warned. “Mr. President, make our nation safe again.”
Senator Tom Cotton laid out a case for President Trump’s military leadership, taking on China, while denouncing Biden’s role in allowing the Chinese fentanyl drug trade to flourish.
“We need a president who stands up for America, not one who takes a knee,” he declared.
That duality lay at the heart of President Trump’s acceptance speech, of the fourth night, and of the entire Republican campaign against Biden and the radicals using him as their puppet.
America can’t be made great, restored, repaired, and protected by a movement that hates her.
“The party had moved from liberal to radical,” Rep. Van Drew, a former Democrat, warned. “This new Democrat Party wasn’t just for higher taxes, now they were for open borders, against our police and against our God-given rights.”
Speaker after speaker laid out the case that Biden and the Democrats had abandoned America because they despised her and her people, that a newly radical party could only envision a relentless drumbeat of change that would utterly destroy everything we love and believe in.
“This is the most important election in the history of our country. At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas. This election will decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” President Trump told a watching nation.
Elsewhere in Washington D.C., and in embattled Democrat cities across the nation, a physical war was raging, a battle of bricks and tear gas, guns and lasers, shields and firebombs, but there in the illusory placidity of the South Lawn, President Trump had laid out the stakes.
The battle that so many were watching on television was coming for all of us.
The destruction in Kenosha was real, but it was also a metaphor. Kenosha was America. And it could be destroyed with fire and steel. But it could also be hamstrung, torn down, and broken with pieces of paper, with propaganda, and with the terror that had broken so many spirits.
“Many Americans, including me, have sadly lost friends and cherished loved ones to this horrible disease. As one nation, we mourn, we grieve, and we hold in our hearts forever the memories of all of those lives so that have been so tragically taken,” President Trump said, paying tribute to those who had died in the pandemic, as he had done for the Americans facing the wrath of the storm, and to those who had suffered from the Black Lives Matter riots.
Where the Republicans differed so fundamentally from Democrats lay in their answer.
As Ben Carson had asked earlier in the evening, “Do we believe in the power and wisdom of the people to self-govern?” It was the same question raised by two other presidents whom President Trump had invoked in his acceptance speech: Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt.
Can Americans solve their problems, heal racial conflicts, reform government,and stay safe, or do they need to be scolded, lectured, and locked up by a government that knows better?
A government empowered by the people can take the lead, as President Trump had done, in locating supplies, dispatching hospital ships, and providing guidance, but it isn’t the answer. And those who believe that government is the answer to everything don’t believe in America.
The triumphant conclusion of the convention in a blaze of fireworks, of upturned faces watching the sky, and seeing hope and optimism instead of burning buildings defined the Republican vision. In the same way that the charred rubble in Kenosha, the bleeding bodies and bullets had defined the Democrat vision of a nation eternally divided by radicals who thrive on division.
President Trump called for “a new spirit of unity that can only be realized through love for our country.” The Democrats promise unity through submission to their ideology. Their big tent has shrunk to a diversity of radicals who hate America differently, but for the same basic reasons.
Not only the Republican, but the American message, was embodied by President Trump’s conviction that, “what united generations past was an unshakable confidence in America’s destiny, and an unbreakable faith in the American People.” Without that belief, all else fails.
Or as Lee Greenwood put it much more simply, “Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.”
Democrats contend that America progresses and becomes greater by becoming less American, by feeling shame and guilt, by nurturing rage, fear, and doubt, and by abandoning our dreams.
Republicans believe that America progresses by becoming not less, but more American. What strengthens America isn’t fear, rage, or guilt, but our aspirations, our struggles, and our dreams.
As the fireworks rose in the air, so did hope and pride in a nation trembling on the edge.
Out of the fire and fury of a hellish year comes the peril of a Democrat damnation or the promise of a new Republican rebirth.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.