“Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players—every one of you, and you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it!”
Herb Brooks, Head Coach
United States Olympic Hockey Team
United States vs. Soviet Union – 1980
United States Olympic Hockey Team
United States vs. Soviet Union – 1980
In 1980 the United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team was deemed to be no match for the Soviet Union’s hockey machine. They were bigger, more experienced and considerably more ruthless. On the fateful night that they met, Coach Herb Brooks acknowledged the popular wisdom but also knew that in every team there is a reserve. You can call it patriotism, pride, or pay back but it exists. Even when triggered it doesn’t necessarily prove to be decisive, but it can be. And in this instance, in this game, with these men, it proved to the winning edge. Coach Brook’s call to greatness unleashed that reserve and the Americans went on to an astonishing defeat of the Russian bear. While the media described it as a David vs. Goliath moment it was, in reality, a call to ignore “the popular wisdom” and believe in yourself. Regardless it is one of the great moments in sports history and in personal achievement.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016 and the approaching general election for the Forty-fifth President of the United States. The popular wisdom was that Hillary Clinton – anointed by the political elites, including the mainstream media – would sail into the White House with only token opposition from outsider Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has been a perpetual drumbeater all of his life and he knew that setting the goal and encouraging achievement can be the winning edge. And thus was born the call to arms – Make America Great Again.
It was a reminder to Americans that a deep recession and eight years of mismanagement by President Barack Obama (D) had left America foundering. China was about to surpass America as the major economic power in the world. So sure were the elites of this that many had come to believe that the yen would supplant the dollar as the recognized medium of international commerce. And yet Mr. Obama sat paralyzed at the prospect of confronting China and allowed the trade deficit to grow annually from about $250 Billion in 2008 to nearly $500 Billion in 2016. The sucking sound your heard was money leaving the United States destined for China.
While international leaders “liked” Mr. Obama they did so mostly because he no longer mattered. He was a feckless leader and the international bullies realized in short order that they could push him around. His “red line” in Syria, his capitulation to Iran, his straddle of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots in the Middle East – fighting not to win but just enough to avoid blame for losing – left America reflecting in past glory but unable to sustain new glory.
And on the domestic front Mr. Obama presided over the most anemic economic recovery in the United States following a recession. We were told that high unemployment, high taxes and one-percent economic growth were the “new normal” – get use to it because the glory days were over. Racial strife and illegal immigration were on the rise, education was on the decline, and “climate change” was more important than employment, public safety and or national security.
The pride of Americans was also under attack. Individual success was scorned when Mr. Obama criticized those who built a successful business claiming that such success was really due to other people. The corollary was why bother to try. Middle America was criticized for their attachment to their Bibles and their guns. They were labeled as a “basket of deplorables” when they differed with the political elites. The welfare rolls increased dramatically. Success was equated with greed and those who succeeded were scorned and those who didn’t even try were elevated. Those who accomplished were replaced by those who just criticized. The popular wisdom was neither popular nor particularly wise. In fact the popular wisdom was a “beat down” – America should accept its fate as a fading experiment that would ultimately fail. Thus the popular wisdom that Ms. Clinton would win without any expectation that she would change the trajectory.
The people who made America great before were deemed irrelevant and their contributions were deemed unneeded. So depressing was the landscape that many began to worry about whether America’s time had passed – that the liberal/progressives were right and we should just throw in the towel.
Mr. Trump’s message to Make America Great Again struck a note. Mr. Trump knew that politicians couldn’t rebuild America’s might – after all politicians didn’t make anything, didn’t produce or manufacture anything, didn’t build anything. That could only be done by those in the private sector. He knew that the only thing the politicians could do was remove the impediments to growth and productivity and allow that magnificent economic machine that made America great before to do it again.
His solutions weren’t new. In fact his solutions had been tried before and they always succeeded. The wonder is not whether they would succeed but why they were abandoned in the first place.
Mr. Trump and the Republicans reduced taxes and thus freed up additional monies in the private sector for growth, innovation and investment. The liberal/progressives continue to whine that the tax cuts have resulted in higher deficits – they have not. The tax reductions have resulted in greater prosperity and more people working and paying taxes. Tax revenues are higher than they have ever been. The tax cuts did not result in higher deficits – increased spending resulted in higher deficits.
Mr. Trump reduced regulations that were choking the opportunity for growth. Please think about this. It was the government who imposed the regulations. It was the government that refused to attend to the economic consequences. It was the government that worked for eight straight years at cross-purposes with the very people they expected to pay for those regulations. A government that was supposed to serve the people was deliberately choking the people. The end of those regulations meant that the new money generated by tax cuts could be put to work quicker, with more efficiency and with better and quicker results.
The result has been reborn economic growth despite the assurances of the liberal/progressives that it could never happen. It has resulted in unbridled job creation. The lowest unemployment in decades has spread across the spectrum of workers and lifted all of those willing to work. There are more jobs, less unemployment, and higher percentage of work-eligible persons actually working. And yet the liberal/progressives continue to fan the flames of division, of class envy and racial strife. The concept of “equal opportunity” has been replaced by a demand for “equal outcomes.”
What made America great once – that stretch to do better – has returned and America is great again. Not because Mr. Trump did it, but because Mr. Trump worked to make sure that we all had that opportunity to do it again. There is something unique about America and we should celebrate it. It is the American spirit. To paraphrase what Coach Brooks said:
America. Others have said your time has passed. And it may have for others but not for you – not now, not ever. This is your time. This time we compete again. This time we win again because we can. Because we are the greatest economic might the world has ever known. Because we work harder, smarter and faster than anyone else. Today we stay with them. Today we shut them down. Today we are winners. You were born to be winners and nobody – nobody – can take that from you. Screw ‘em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.
And thank you to the millions of Americans who have taken up Mr. Trump’s challenge. It is you who have Made America Great Again.