I am not a Donald Trump fan. He doesn’t even finish in my top three candidates. (They are, in alphabetical order, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and Marco Rubio). Still, I am fascinated by Mr. Trump’s unerring ability to tap into the angst of many Americans. Just as fascinating is the predictable “Oh My God” chorus from the politicians, pundits and press who have had a near monopoly on telling us what to think and what is best for us. They feel increasingly threatened not by Donald Trump but by the fact that their attempts to bury an outsider have failed miserably thus far. Their raison d’être is being gutted.
The saddest part of this is that we have accorded these political elites not just a position of influence but one of wisdom too. In real life we would be hard pressed to hire any of them to sex our chickens.
On December 2, 2015, two Islamic terrorists entered the Inland Regional Center and, without provocation, murdered fourteen people and injured twenty-two others. Before the dead bodies were cool, three things began to occur almost simultaneously. First, Republicans politicians and conservative commentators began a steady stream of criticism of President Barack Obama on everything from his failure to engage decisively the current and primary Islamic terrorist group, the Islamic State to his decision to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. This was the political class on the Right. They reiterated that on an international basis Mr. Obama is not trusted by our friends and not feared by our enemies. In doing so, while they scored political points, they missed the very essence of the issue as it effects normal citizens.
Second, Democrats, led by Mr. Obama and amplified by the mainstream media, immediately seized upon the incident as another example of gun violence. They waited strangely mute in hopes that they could claim that this was workplace violence and to once again avoid acknowledgement of yet another Islamic terrorist attack on United States soil. This was the political class on the Left. Even as information became available that the killers were Muslims who had embraced the jihadist movement and committed themselves as adherents to the Islamic State, Mr. Obama chose to focus on gun control as if it would thwart future Islamic terrorists’ attacks on our homeland. In doing so, while they scored political points, they missed the very essence of the issue as it effects normal citizens.
And finally, in short course, police and federal agents were able to discover the names of the killers, their international travel to and from the hot spots of Islamic terrorists, how they acquired their weapons and from whom, the state of their arsenal including the number of rounds of ammunition and pipe bombs, how they financed their activities, the approximate time of their “radicalization”, their communications with other recognized Islamic terrorists and supporters, and their manipulation of the visa system to allow expedited entry into the United States by one of the killers. In doing so, the law enforcement officials were not trying to make a point, but, in fact, made the only relevant point, i.e. if we were able to discover all of this information in such short order after the terrorist attack, why didn’t we know any of it before the attack? Why didn’t all the vaunted “safeguards against terrorism” designed to detect prospectively the very things they found retrospectively work? Why weren’t these terrorists stopped months ago?
You see, people are afraid. No, they are not afraid of the Islamic State. They recognize that the finest military in the world could destroy the Islamic State in no more than sixty days if there was leadership in Washington. But they are afraid that a government whose first duty is to protect its citizens is distracted from that mission by political bickering and lack of decisive leadership. They are afraid that political correctness is a greater priority than national security. And they know they are vulnerable.
They know that the leadership in Washington is concentrating its anti-terrorism efforts on air traffic and our political and financial centers in New York and Washington, D.C. –yesterday’s targets – and yet they have seen one terrorist attack after another in Little Rock (AR), Boston (MA), Fort Hood (TX), Garland (TX), Merced (CA), and San Bernardino (CA) where nothing strategic is at risk. And they know they are vulnerable.
They know that despite over a decade of political rhetoric, America’s borders are as porous as ever and that in addition to illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, that thousands of people from Eastern Europe, the Baltics and the Middle East, including any number of jihadists, now use those same corridors in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to enter and slip away undetected into our populations centers. Nothing gets done except more talk and more finger pointing. And they know they are vulnerable.
They know that our system for accepting refugees into America is essentially flawed and worse yet they know that the Islamic terrorists know it and exploit it. They know that while there may be adequate procedures on paper, that in practice the people charged with enforcing them are overwhelmed by sheer numbers and underwhelmed by Administration politics that place a higher priority on meeting number targets for refugees than meeting safety and security standards. And just this week they have learned that the State Department under this Administration has banned asking refugees critical questions about communications with jihadist websites and terrorist organizations through social media or even the refugees’ own postings on social media. They know that a process that Mr. Obama has described as being so thorough that it can take two years of examination permitted one of the killers to enter almost overnight. And they know they are vulnerable.
They know that Mr. Obama has lied repeatedly about the status of the battle with the Islamic terrorist. All the way from “al Qaeda is decimated and on the run” to “ISIS is contained.” They know that he banned the military from attacking the oil transport trucks that delivered tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic State coffers for fear of injuring the drivers. That he banned the military from attacking the oil fields and refineries that contributed to those tens of millions of dollars for fear of environmental pollution. That he banned the military from destroying the Islamic State headquarters in Raqqa, Syria for fear of injuring any prisoners that might be held there. They know that Mr. Obama relaxed some of these prohibitions when the French and English joined in the bombing program in Iraq and Syria for fear of being embarrassed. And as a result they know they are vulnerable.
And they know that this Administration and a majority in Congress (Republicans and Democrats alike) are more concerned about offending some groups of people than they are in the efficient administration of national security.
And into this reality drops Donald J. Trump and announces on December 6 that he is calling for:
” . . . total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
And while the Oh My God chorus focused on the patently absurd banning of all Muslims, they ignored the point of concern to most Americans – “until our country’s representative can figure out what the hell is going on.” Because, as it stands now, our country’s representatives – from Mr. Obama to the do-nothing Congress – either don’t know or don’t care “what the hell is going on.” That is why people are afraid, why they feel vulnerable.
We entered an era some years ago in which our representatives have sought power not to fix things that are wrong but rather to use that power to preserve their power. They don’t fix anything. Not a soul crushing welfare system, nor a depleted military, nor an aging transportation system, nor a nearly bankrupt Social Security program, nor a burgeoning national debt, nor a tax code that remains undecipherable for most, nor a secure border, nor a corrupted immigration system, nor a financial regulatory system that encourages mergers instead of growth, nor anything else of substance that improves the commonweal.
So, as Mr. Trump continues to pick scabs off the open, running sores of our political class, the outrage of the political class grows – and so does Mr. Trump’s popularity. You see, while many of Mr. Trump’s proposals cannot realistically be enacted, simply by recognizing the concern of most Americans about the underlying problem, he has given them hope that he will, in fact, find a solution. Mr. Trump treats these problems in the same way a successful business person does – define the essence and priority of the problem and move swiftly towards a workable solution – not a ideological solution, not a politically correct solution, not a politically safe solution, but a practical solution. Mr. Trump, as a businessman, has a history of bold statements – almost always over-the-the-top statements – followed by a more moderate implementation achieving the initial goal. He sets a goal and relies upon the expertise of others for implementation.
If the political class and the Oh My God chorus want to shut Mr. Trump up, then do something other than criticize. Fix something – anything. As the old sayings go:
“If you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”
“Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.”