If you listen to the mainstream media, the left, the right, Republicans, Democrats, men, women, and any other group you can split, Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was the worst thing that’s happened to this country since 9/11 or the best thing that’s happened since George Washington. We’re going to run this country into the ground and we’re going to “Make America Great Again.”
So let’s analyze the speech piece by piece, and let’s see if it’s really as bad (or as good) as we’re being told it was.
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
This kind of language is what drives me crazy about Trump. It’s like it’s intentionally vague so that anything that works out can be “on message.” I’m not a fan of platitudes.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Again, what does that mean? I understand what he’s saying, but there needs to be more meat to statements like this. These are campaign slogans, not a vision for the future.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
This is undeniable. Obama, aside from his last minute “throw monkey-wrenches into every gear possible” stuff, has been rather gracious. Not surprising. He’s not the best President ever, and his intentions are always open to debate in my mind, but I think he does at least mostly respect the office itself.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
This section right here? 100% on message with his campaign messaging and promises. Washington is out of touch with the country, isolated, and living in a bubble. They benefit while the poor get poorer. There’s a lot of irony in what he’s doing here and the reactions to it.
Firstly, he’s playing to the Democrats’ assertions of “power” not being in the hands of the 99% (Bernie’s entire campaign was based on the evil of millionaires and billionaires), but he’s also reinforcing what got him elected: the perception that Washington’s bubble benefits them so much that they ignore the country and the plight of the working people.
Trump is smart to bring back his campaign messaging here because, after all, it’s what got him elected. He’s establishing, at least at this point, that all of that is going to change. Let’s move on to the next section.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
While everyone tried to debate whether or not Trump was a “real” Republican, I was gnashing my teeth pointing out that it didn’t matter. He was a populist. Just like Bernie Sanders. The reason both of them connected with the country and Hillary Clinton clearly did not was that they spoke to the things that these people cared about, but also said the things that people wanted to hear. Sanders’ and Trump’s campaign messaging could be boiled down to the same basics: “You’ve been wronged by the powerful, and we’re going to give the power back to you and punish them.”
That is the populist message. The only thing that changes is the target of the wrath. Now you’ll see him establish those ideas:
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
Yes, they are, and honestly, these are as much the ideals of the DNC as Trump, which is why their anger over the terms being co-opted makes so much sense. He’s stealing their message right out from under them.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
The people that voted for Trump feel all of the pain outlined here intensely. Donald Trump courted it. Hillary Clinton ignored it, assuming that people who thought these things would see her as an agent of change and him as out of touch; the polar opposite happened.
We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
Sorry to be a stickler, but no, it’s not. It’s an oath to defend the constitution. Period. That’s your only job.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
He’s not totally wrong here. We’ve made it advantageous, through onerous policies, for companies to move to other countries to produce goods, and we spend as much in other countries on defense as they do. But then he goes off the rails.
There is no depletion of our military, unless you consider deployment in places it shouldn’t be deployed in depletion. As far as money, the Pentagon is awash in cash, so the idea that there’s some great military budget crisis is laughable.
And I’m not sure if he’s saying we’ve spent tons of money on other nations’ infrastructure and not ours, or tons of money on wars instead of our own infrastructure, but either way both are correct.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
I completely disagree. One of the reasons we have the standard of living we do is because we’re all wealthier, as a country.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But the cost of things that make the middle class the middle class went way down. Yes, factories don’t think about why they’re leaving, they just leave, but at the same time while people in “factory jobs” were left unemployed, there was a major uptick in the living standard for those who didn’t have “factory jobs.” That’s tragic, but that’s life.
The “wealth of the middle class” myth is one of the things that demonstrate Trump’s economic illiteracy.
Let’s say we have a sample size of 100 people. 25 poor, 25 rich, 50 “middle class.”
Now 20 years later, 10 of the middle class are now poor, but 20 of the middle class are now rich, leaving 35 poor, 30 middle class, and 45 rich. You would be technically correct in saying “the middle class is shrinking.” You’d also be technically correct in saying that “the rich are growing.”
But you’d also be only telling a part of the story.
When the government measures growth and decline in income tiers, they don’t track the same people, just the number of people. The fact that person A may move between classes isn’t relevant to the government, only that the sizes changed, but even a cursory thought on this reveals that mobility, either up or down, is the true important measure. It says a lot more about the economy to say which direction the population is moving than just noting the fact that they are, in fact, moving.
Things like “the rich are growing” and “the middle class is shrinking” are empty campaign words. Nothing more.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
I do not have a problem with this. The idea that we should makes me laugh. Every country should put its own interests at the forefront. I’d argue that any country whose leaders don’t do that have leaders who are derelict in their duties. This will rankle the left (and it has) because they 100% believe in self-immolation, and they also believe that saying you put your own needs first is one step removed from being a Nazi.
It’s stupid, it’s laughable, it’s purile.
And it’s modern leftism in a nutshell.
Let’s move on.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
Uh oh. This is starting to turn now. I could get into huge discussions on comparative and competitive advantage, but something tells me none of that matters. Trump, here, is economically illiterate. Protectionism never leads to a higher standard of living or a better economy. Period. History literally demonstrates the polar opposite: prosperity is a product of a a global economy (not to be confused with globalism which includes global government and other terrible ideas).
I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
A: “Winning” is very vague for me. Sorry, it just is.
B: Saying you’ll never let us down is literally begging for failure.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
Not with your protectionist economic scheme we won’t. But we’ve already had that discussion.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the return of “shovel-ready jobs.”
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
Republicans love to say stuff like this, but I always wonder: what welfare recipient is going to go “Oh wait, the road-making company is hiring? Let me get my ass over there!” What makes Trump think that suddenly having jobs available means people will take them?
He’s literally talking about a big government “make work” program, akin to having 50 people dig holes and having 50 people fill them in. We already know this doesn’t work, and yet here’s a Republican doing what Repbulicans mocked Democrats for: using the government to grow the government.
Bad. Very bad.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
What kind of stupid theory is this? “Buy American” is bullshit protectionism with no economic reality accounted for. “Buy American” means, literally, that consumers will pay more for American products, thusly buying less, and lowering the overall standard of living for everyone just so someone in Topeka can work in their factory job for another 20 years because they never bothered to make an investment in their own human capital.
This is not a solution, this is just rhetoric.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
Nothing wrong with this. Every other country does this.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
This? I can get with this.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
Jeez. Where have I heard this before?
He literally triggered an SJW with that statement…
Settle down Laurie. Seriously.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
That line right there? That’s some scary stuff. I’m not loyal to my family and friends because we’re American. I have friends all over the world. I’m loyal to them because they’re my friends. I’m not going to be loyal to my neighbor because of the ground under our feet.
If that’s the core of the Trump Presidency, then he’s completely going in the wrong direction. This borders on jingoism and should scare everyone, Trump hater and supporter alike.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
Solidarity? No thank you. Individuality is what makes this country great. Not lock-step mindless drone follow the leader.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
We’re protected by God? Well if we are, then why do we need military and law enforcement at all? I’m sorry but when you combine solidarity and unity (from above) and God (from this section) then holy crap, you’ve now made this into a theocracy aiming its hatred at “them.” This is truly scary.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
Funny that in the midst of this part he says the time for empty talk is over, yet this whole section is nothing but empty talk.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
And that will not happen in an isolationist and protectionist economy. It just won’t. That doesn’t mean we cede our sovereignty to other countries or transnational corporations, but it does mean that we can’t protect ourselves to the exclusion of everyone else, run our economy into the ground, and then solve everything. A broke populace is not a thriving one.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.
Was this speech as terrible as some of his opponents say? No. Like most things Trump, it was hopelessly exaggerated in both directions, so let’s understand something important. There is a lot of talk in this speech that chills me. The talk of “unity” and “solidarity” and so on used to motivate me, but the more I see what our government is capable of doing to those that aren’t in lock step, the more I think that that’s terrifying. I may have ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) so I may not be your norm, but I do think there’s a lot to be concerned about in this speech. Protectionism, jingoism, economic illiteracy, the expansion of government… All of it warrants major concern.
At the same time, though, it wouldn’t be the first inauguration speech to amount to nothing, and it’s important to temper the fear and rhetoric with that knowledge. I don’t think this speech was terrible, I don’t think it was great. In the end the only measure of Trump should be what he does, not what he says, and for those things alone we should hold him to account.