Win or lose in 2020, President Donald Trump’s July 4th warning against the left’s cultural revolution in his Mount Rushmore Address will forever be remembered as one of the most important speeches of his presidency.
In it, President Trump provided an unapologetic defense of American culture, history, freedom and values that stands in stark contrast to what he called “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”
While rioters continue to burn American cities and a wave of violence continues following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, the cultural revolutionaries of today make no distinction between racial injustice in America and those who historically have stood against those injustices, targeting even statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Union generals from the Civil War like Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln and proponents of abolishing slavery including Frederick Douglass.
Just on Jefferson alone, the author of the Declaration of Independence who proclaimed “all men are created equal” — which was the inspiration for Abraham Lincoln in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that eventually drove Lincoln’s ascension to the presidency in 1860. Without the Declaration, and Lincoln’s use of the founding ideal as being antithetical to slavery, and he might have never become a national political figure instrumental in winning the Civil War and abolishing slavery in the America.
But that’s not good enough, apparently, to the radicals.
The revolutionaries therefore are not merely targeting symbols of racial injustice in America, but of even America’s efforts to stand up for civil rights against those injustices. It is an attack on our history itself that denies all the progress we have made as a nation in classic revisionist fashion.
As Trump noted, “Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”
In that sense, it is a war on patriotism and love of country very generally. Can a nation long endure that hates itself? The radicals don’t think so as they target our human nature to view things generationally, that these historical grudges endure and exceed our bonds as countrymen and must be avenged, even today.
The most important warning to the American people from the speech itself was against what the President called “cancel culture” as Americans have become afraid to express their politics and love of country in many cases, for fear of professional and personal repercussions.
Trump explained, “One of their political weapons is ‘Cancel Culture’ — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.”
Now, while President Trump declared that “it has absolutely no place” in America, cancel culture has become pervasive in today’s political, economic and cultural environments.
As Trump noted, “In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. It’s not going to happen to us. Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.”
So, what gives?
On one hand, it might be easy to call cancel culture a bubble of outrage, centered on the Trump presidency that might fade this later year or in 2024 when his job is coming to a close depending on the outcome in November.
But students of history paying attention to the long game know better. After all, the radicals are waging a war on history itself and it is not one that the public can somehow appease with a single electoral outcome. Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are not even good enough for this mob.
If Trump loses in November, we’ll find out very quickly if the struggle was merely on one president — or all of his supporters, too. I tend to think the latter.
This is no high-minded attempt to elevate discourse here. It is an widespread attempt to stifle it and to suppress dissent against this growing cultural revolution. The radicals want the country. It is a battle for hearts and minds. In the immediate sense, that makes the election itself the battlefield, but it won’t be the end there, win or lose for Trump.
For the future of our country, this is a struggle that if we lose, it is America as a whole that will lose.
The question may be whether there is enough good sense left in the nation to heed Trump’s warning and reject this new brand of radicalism that is tearing away at the very fabric of our nation. We face a collectivist nightmare of social tyranny, censorship and thought police. Free people should speak up now — before it is too late.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.