Much of America remains stunned by Donald Trump’s rise to victory. Many Democrats, Conservatives, and even those of Trump’s own backers never expected to see the most unlikely candidate for the Republican Party clinch the presidency.
I am no great expert or student of politics. I am simply a citizen that has been involved as I have been able. I am an Evangelical Conservative who has looked for some glimmer of hope for our country in this election cycle, and who has found little.
I really do not know what protocol is for acceptance speeches. I have heard many over the years. As one who did not support Trump or Clinton, I was perplexed by Trump’s acceptance speech in the early hours of this morning. His speech struck me, who considers himself an “Average Joe Citizen,” observer, as unusual. It seemed very interesting to me, to say the least, what Donald Trump spoke about, and what he did not speak about, given his candidacy.
What Trump Mentions in His Acceptance Speech
As expected in an acceptance speech, Trump spoke briefly about unity. He encouraged all Republicans, Democrats and Independents to come together. He promised to be a president for all Americans, including “those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few.” (This makes me chuckle nervously, and wonder how Trump sees things. By last look, Trump defeated Hillary by less than 1% of the popular vote, and there was the largest 3rd party presence in recent history. A majority of people voted for someone other than Trump.)
Trump gave one additional sentence to add to his idea of unity. He spoke of his “movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs.” I was glad for that brief comment that hopefully indicates some relief from the active encroachment of government on freedom in many ways. He connected that statement with the idea that these people “expect our government to serve the people – and serve the people it will.” At best, this is cryptic by means of its brevity. A government that serves the people can either mean in attitude and function, or in its size and service. I certainly hope that it is the former. Our government is already massively outgrown its intended purpose.
Trump then spoke of “rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream.” Without any details, he talked of bringing America to its full potential, and that “every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential.” I was left with no idea as to how he planned to accomplish this promise that is way beyond promises of past politicians such as “a turkey in every pot.”
One statement indicated Trump’s possible direction, which I found to be disturbing: “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” If this is his idea of giving everyone the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential, we are heading for bigger government and much higher taxes. All of this is short-term, government-funded (read “taxes” or “debt”) growth that disappears when the funding goes away. It demands more of what we have been doing wrong in the first place – growing our dependency on government.
Trump then mentioned that we “will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal.” Being a veteran myself, I was not sure what he was referring to here. Is he speaking primarily of health care for those that need it? That would be my guess, and with no details, all we can do is guess.
Trump mentions again what seems to be economics, where he will “harness the creative talents of our people, and we will call upon the best and the brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all” to accomplish “a project of national growth and renewal.” Again, no details are given.
Following this, he mentions that he has a “great economic plan” that will “double our growth” and give us “the strongest economy anywhere in the world.” Though this great plan may have existed, I have heard nothing of this until now. We have only a promise here, and no hint of how he might carry this out.
Trump seems to direct his attention vaguely towards foreign policy. He states that while we are growing our economy to be the greatest in the world, we will “get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships.” He also spoke of dealing “fairly with everyone,” seeking “partnership, not conflict,” while always putting American interests first. This is certainly a bit of fresh air.
Trump thanks a multitude of people, beginning with his (deceased) parents and his family. He highlights a great number of his staff. One that I found extremely puzzling is how much time he spent praising the chair of the RNC, Reince Priebus. As one who has touted himself as the anti-establishment candidate, this action by Trump seemed to be wholly counter-intuitive to me. Trump is anti-establishment, but all establishment just seems to be oxymoronic. As a conservative Republican voter who is part of a large contingency pushed way by the GOP, this did not sit well at all.
Trump gives a brief hat-tip to the Secret Service and the NYC law enforcement. I guess you could loosely count that as a loose mention of law enforcement.
What Trump Does Not Mention in His Acceptance Speech
In addition to what Trump said, I found it even more perplexing what the new president-elect did not mention, given the topics of emphasis of his candidacy which seemed to bring him his success. I also found it unusual that, apart from economic focuses, he did not address any real problems that truly plague our nation.
Trump did not address the rampant corruption in our nation’s government, which Hillary represents in a very real way. I can understand why in an acceptance speech he did not directly address Hillary’s corruption. However, a general statement would have been very welcome that suggests the acknowledgment of the rule of law. I do wonder if this will change greatly, since by his own mouth he has been part of the (what I would call) legal corruption of donating to candidates to get his way as a businessman.
Trump did not hint at the glaring tragedy of abortion or the related issue of the funding of Planned Parenthood. We cannot ignore the murder of over 3,000 unborn children a day as if it did not matter. Life is paramount to all other freedoms.
Trump did not mention immigration or his famous wall. To be fair (and I am trying to be so), he continually referred to “Americans” earlier in his speech, which may suggest his commitment to such. However, to be fair, he said nothing overt that would indicate his commitment to following through with all his rhetoric about immigration, whether from those fleeing the Middle East or coming in from our South.
Trump left out any suggestion of addressing our massive debt. In fact, as I have mentioned, his solution for economic growth seems to indicate greatly adding to our debt. We are committing economic suicide as a nation. Unless our next president does something drastic to intervene, we cannot continue in any sense of prosperity. We will have to pay the piper.
Close to the previous point, Trump did not indicate any direction for encouraging the private sector. Government programs and projects are temporary, grow government and dependency upon government. The only truly prosperous nation is one that earns its own way through private commerce. I have heard him mention on other occasions of bringing jobs back to the US. Maybe Trump has a plan to do that, but he did not reference it in this speech.
I was surprised that Trump did not address the military directly. He mentioned veterans (which can include those presently serving in the military), generals, and medal of honor winners. However, our current president has wholly undermined and weakened the military with his broad policy changes and drastic budget cuts. If we do not rebuild our military quickly and fix what has been broken and undermined, our fighting capabilities which allow us to protect and defend our country are questionable at best. Caring for veterans is good; having a strong military is the bigger picture.
Trump made no mention of the Supreme Court nominees. Many conservative friends who supported Trump used this as the key argument for supporting a man that went against so much of what they believed. I was really amazed that this was not mentioned first. It was not mentioned at all.
Trump made no mention of Obamacare. I find this incredulous as well, as the non-political observer. This bane has been another of his key focuses. This program has done more to destroy our nation’s economy than any other single action. It deserved air time and attention in his speech.
Two more topics absent from Trump’s acceptance speech bother me as one of many conservative Christians who live in this land. Trump did not reach out in any way to conservatives, many of whom did support him. In his stated goal of unifying the nation under his leadership, he has made no gesture that indicates he in any way cares for their presence.
Along that same vein, apart from his vague comment about Americans of all “beliefs,” Trump did not hint at addressing the issue of religious freedom and the harsh treatment many have faced already by desiring to live by one’s conscience. This concerns me greatly. People increasingly have lost jobs and businesses because of conscience. People of different “beliefs” need to have the freedom to live by those beliefs.
Lastly, I found it profound (but not surprising) that Trump did not refer to God once in his entire acceptance speech. Whether praising the parents or family he was “lucky” to have, or addressing the problems of our nation (which he did little of apart from economics), or in his closing, Trump ignored God altogether. Even his nemesis Hillary would give lip-service to this Foundational Idea under which our nation began and under which we have thrived. I found that indicative of the man Trump – his view of life and self is a view without God. We shall see how that plays out, but morality, including the keeping of one’s promises, is usually tied to belief in One who expects such from us.
Donald Trump is the president-elect. I will honor him and respect him as our president, as is my Christian duty. He is now center stage, and it is his opportunity to lead as he has promised.
Donald Trump has won. Time will only reveal if America has won.