We have entered uncharted territory in the era of the 45th President of the United States. I have never seen such scorn and venom directed toward the occupant of the world’s most powerful office – largely driven by fellow American citizens posing as journalists.
I use the term “posing” deliberately, as the lessons I learned in journalism class are from a forgotten era, an era in which impartial objectivity toward the subject matter covered has been replaced by those more interested in expressing their facts and opinions rather than where dogged investigations may have taken them.
No, I’m not referring to the breathless coverage of whether Donald Trump Jr. committed treason by meeting with “a Russian” while he was a private citizen (he didn’t, please consult your Constitution), but rather President Trump’s extraordinary speech from Warsaw, Poland last week. During this remarkable address delivered in Victory Square where Pope John Paul II delivered Mass to more than one million Poles in 1979, President Trump extolled the importance of Western values and Western civilization – and was immediately accused of being racist.
At this juncture of the 21st Century where critical thinking has given way to political correctness and the creation of safe spaces, I found this line of unfounded analysis to be particularly insipid. Trump’s offense? He referred to “The West” 10 times and “our civilization” 5 times.
Based on coverage in the media of late, one would think the president evoked words spoken by Bull Connor during the darkest days of Jim Crow. Jamelle Bouie wrote a piece in Slate discussing Trump’s Warsaw address with this inauspicious beginning:
“To the extent that he does have an ideology, it’s a white American chauvinism and its attendant nativism and racism.”
In Bouie’s mind, President Trump evoked racist dog whistles by posing the following series of questions during his remarks:
Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
In Bouie’s view, these questions are code phrases for Trump’s dangerous anti-Muslim policies as well as his aversion to Hispanic immigrants coming to America. I would laugh at this simplistic analysis if the stakes involved weren’t as serious to the battle for the survival of Western Civilization we find ourselves in today. To be clear, elements of militant Islamic extremists have been at war with the West long before our Embassy in Tehran was seized in 1979 and our brave Americans were held for 444 days.
The attack on our Marine barracks in 1983, subsequent attacks on American diplomatic facilities in the 1990s and the largest attack on American soil on September 11, 2001 demonstrate that while we may not have been at war with Islamic extremists, they were at war with our Western values of democracy, equal treatment of women and the freedoms enshrined in the West.
The deterioration of stability in the Middle East has led to more than a million migrants fleeing to the European Continent where the notion of assimilation is fleeting and the preservation of Sharia is vibrant in many communities. Where Mr. Bouie and his supporters find racism and xenophobia, I see America and our Western allies at a critical crossroads: are we willing to defend the beacons of freedom and democracy that we hold so dear? Are we willing to preserve the integrity of our borders to ensure those who seek to migrate to our shores will embrace our values with open arms rather than a closed fist or worse?
I’m all in favor of musings in the safety and comfort of the faculty lounge or the liberal newsroom – that’s why we have the freedoms of speech and expression. But branding President Trump’s eloquent remarks in Warsaw last week where he extolled the importance of standing up for the fabric of democracy as racist and xenophobic is both wrong and misguided, given the threats radical Islamic terrorists pose to our Western values and culture.