President Obama spent eight years making a mockery of the ideals of our nation’s founding and progressives enabled him. Regardless of the sad outcomes of some of his utopian policy implementations, objections to them were “obstructive”, naysayers were ignorant and “on the wrong side of history”, and Republicans who delayed or refused to vote yes to the Obama Doctrine were “not doing their jobs”. Any pushback to the President made you un-American and you were a threat to democracy– how ironic.
Now that the progressive freight trains of the east and west coasts have derailed, we are being treated to some delightful back-peddling from the left’s media mouthpieces as they attempt to distance President-elect Trump from the idea that he could possibly represent America and its founding ideals- two things that those same Obama supporters have been shunning since the Bush years. Steve Pincus’ op-ed on CNN, though moderate in tone and professional, alludes to the alarmist notion that Trump’s proposals and stances on foreign policy defeat two of our founding ideals of international engagement and easy immigration. Pincus goes so far as to cite Abraham Lincoln in his opening verse; a quote that in essence tells us that we should hold no political opinion on anything without it being in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. It’s not that the Lincoln quote is extreme, or even wrong– it’s that liberals are actually saying things like this now, and it’s only been a month since Election Day.
Trump, still nearly two months out from his inauguration, is managing to force liberals into saying patriotic things.
The entire liberal playbook requires one to lift pieces of history and to drop them in the present without sparing even a moment for the consideration of their context. Yes, the Founding Fathers knew that American survival was dependent upon engagement with the Old World. Yes, the Founding Fathers were most certainly in the right for their support of easy immigration to the New World. Both of these Pincus explains as being essential to American exceptionalism, and he’s right, but pretending that domestic and international environments are static is the epitome of progressive idealism.
Donald’s Trumps tough-talk on trade does not mean we will shut down the lines of international commerce and isolate ourselves. It means that we won’t be stepped on and bullied when it comes to trade negotiations and deals. Trump’s positions on illegals does not mean that we won’t continue to promote immigration to the United States. No country on this earth is as welcoming to immigrants as the United States, and no nation will ever even come close. That does not mean that we must turn a blind eye to the troubles posed by illegal immigration, and the inherent dangers of porous borders. Nothing Donald Trump has uttered over the last year should lead one to believe that we are going to barricade ourselves from the world, or that we won’t continue to facilitate the legal immigration of those seeking better lives for themselves and their families.
We simply do not have the luxuries that the Founders had in the 1700s, however.
We might rely on international trade for various goods, but we aren’t as reliant as we were in the 18th century. Should we continue to trade in the global market?– of course, but at what expense? The United States could be an energy independent nation, but we continue to import oil from nations that have often caused us great harm. Tapping global markets is a fine practice if and only if it helps us, and if we cannot provide the service/commodity for ourselves at a comparable quality. Alas, Trump’s detractors will tell you that his southern border wall will actually encompass the whole nation, cutting off trade that has benefited us in many ways for centuries.
We have historically relied on immigration as a means of importing talent and we continue to encourage it, but resources aren’t infinite. When people live in the States “in the shadows”, localities are unable to do more than make estimates with regard to their logistical needs. Beyond the obvious negative of crime at the hands of illegals, providing for those who are desperate and in need is much more difficult when it is impossible to determine what is required to do so. This trickles down to the tax-paying populations funding the effort and results in waste. Everyone loses. With overpopulation already becoming an issue in some areas, it is unwise to look the other way when people are flooding cities, illegally, by the thousands. We are not in the midst of a world war or some kind of extinction event where taking in a few million people would not only be easy, but necessary to our survival. To some, Trump’s signaling of this problem amounts to him being anti-immigrant, when in fact immigrants and illegals are two entirely different things.
Pincus wraps up with John Adams, who in 1776 explained that no expenses should be spared when it came to the betterment of the youth, and all aspects of American industry. The spirit of an independent America is found within Adams’ words, but it ignores the realities of wastefulness and our habit of throwing money at things that do not create returns on investment. Of course, Adams could not know in 1776 just how irresponsible we would become in the 21st century. Sometimes “sparing no expense” quite literally involves cutting the flow of money from one failed venture and reassigning it to another that will hopefully be more successful (or saving that money entirely!). The realms of global trade and illegal immigration are examples of places where we have undoubtedly not spared any expense, and this practice has had a tendency to exponentially increase problems and debt. And not for nothing, when Adams proclaimed that the New World should get used to writing blank checks in support of everything, America wasn’t on the doorstep of a $20 trillion deficit.
Context matters in all things, and our founding ideals don’t change because of it. What does change is how we seek to uphold those ideals and govern at the same time in a world that looks nothing like it did in the middle of the 18th century. Supporting Trump’s goals does not mean you have turned your back on the nation’s founders, it means that you respect their hard work enough to understand that we have permitted government to really screw things up, and that we owe it to our Founding Fathers to fix them.