The Greatest Lesson From Trump’s Congressional Address
I admit, I’d written some point-for-point notes on Donald Trump’s first State Of The Union*. But as the night went on, something happened—something big that our president did, and he did it more than once. It was important—it was, to be blunt, essential for him to do this, especially in the case of allegedly controversial policies like, say, a strong border.
See, I’m not necessarily talking about Carryn Owens, the widow of a fallen warrior, whom The Don centered on in a wonderful moment. I will say, though, that links to my main point. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, dear readers, Trump gave his tough stances on illegal immigration a face. And that’s more than a stroke of genius—it’s a vital example of what should be common sense. Alas, our side so often fails to realize that.
One man who does is the great Bill Whittle—and three years ago, he explained just how important “a face” really is. Here’s the video, an episode of his old PJTV series Afterburner. Appropriately enough, he used the annual Hollywood awards season as a jumping-off point:
To reiterate his key point—take a hard look at how we approached the Obamacare issue, versus how the Left did. As Whitte put it:
“Conservatives would cite studies and cost-benefit analyses, and they’d tell horrific [general] stories from the National Health Service in Britain, etc.—(YAWN!)
“But…Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, stands clothed in glory on the podium of the House of Representatives. And then, he points to a little old lady, sitting up in the balcony. And he explains how he was turned down for a pre-existing condition—how she spend her life savings, and that of her war veteran husband, now sadly deceased. He says that without this new law, Mrs. Dorothy Abigail Johnson would have died by now—but, she’s still alive, thanks to the wonders of this new law.
“And then she smiles, and then the House bursts into applause—and the bill passes.
“Who wants that little old lady to die—I sure don’t! Because it’s personal now—it’s not a policy anymore, it’s a story about a tragedy! The millions of people who will die as a result of this single-payer national healthcare system—the number of people who’ll lose their insurance—the number of people hit with higher taxes and higher premiums—that’s just a statistic! [Mrs. Johnson’s] a story.”
That’s been a terribly pathetic problem on our side, for so long. Ronald Reagan was a master of storytelling, and making major issues personal. So why haven’t we followed this example for so long? How often have we dished out argument after argument after argument, with an endless number of think tanks and websites laying out the case for how our policies are better? Fact after fact, argument after argument—statistic after statistic.
Well, we’ve done a great job making sure our arguments are foolproof, airtight, and ironclad. And yet Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney, even though all the exit polls made it clear the American people knew darn well that our side was correct. They agreed with us, but they voted for Obama—and why?
“Because he cares about me!”
Or more accurately…because he came across like he cared. And how did he do that?
He gave his policies a face.
And this is why Donald Trump is winning—why he is successfully turning the debate on illegal immigration in our favor, at long last.
For so long, what did we do? We’ve talked and we’ve talked about Border Security, and given arguments on Law & Order, and provided economic statistics on how super-cheap illegal labor brings down wages, and…
The Left…the Left points to a poor, hardworking father, who came here with his family to Seek A Better Life, to do The Jobs Americans Just Won’t Do…and who, by the way, has a new baby on the way, who’s born after they cross over. And then the Left says, “If we deport this poor family, it’ll mean tearing them away from their new baby! How dare you support such a cruel act?! Let them stay! Let them all stay—and let’s prove that we’re The Land of Opportunity!”
Round of applause, with tears in the eyes of the audience.
Our response is to point to the fact that the family could have taken the time to go through the (admittedly complicated) legal process, and even that aside, no one’s talking about taking the babies away from the families—but by then it’s too late. We may have won the argument…but they have won the audience. Because the Left told a story. They made it personal. They made it emotional. And that, dear readers, is why they’ve won for so long.
I should point out, by the way, that we have told stories about one issue—abortion. We point to innocent babies who didn’t do anything to anybody, and therefore shouldn’t be murdered. And so, ironically, it’s the Left that’s reduced to looking dry at best, and cruel at worst. We’ve even driven many of them to calling babies “punishments”—or worst, “parasites”! Those poor, sweet, adorable little babies—how dare you call them “punishments” and “parasites”! How can you Lefties be so cruel?! How dare you wish they were dead?!
We gave the abortion issue a face. And thusly, a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life. Sad, isn’t it—we’ve an ironclad success story on that issue, but we don’t at least try to apply that method to all the others?
Well…that’s what Donald Trump has done, for border security. On Tuesday night, he pointed to specific faces up on the balcony—family members of the victims of violent criminals who just happened to be illegals—illegals who could have been deported and in some cases had been deported! Had we enjoyed a secure border, the husbands of Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver would still be alive…and Jamiel Shaw Sr. would not have lost his teenage son. But Donald Trump will give these family members a VOICE. (Great name for a program, by the way, don’t you think?) And justice will be served! We will Build The Wall—the border will be secure, and innocent families will not fall victim to such tragedy again.
Cue the applause.
The funny thing is, the Democrats had intended to bring their “face” of the “Dreamers” to the speech. They probably intended for the cameras of the “mainstream” media to keep cutting to them or something. Alas, Trump saw it coming, and one-upped them.
This is something else: The Left’s storytelling ability’s been compromised—seriously. They bring a bunch of folks in white coats—cue all the clever snark from our side about the Klan leaving their hoods behind! And the most humiliating blunder of all: The tweet of the Clinton campaign volunteer Dan Grilo, trashing Mrs. Owens—the wife of the late hero—for “standing there and clapping like an idiot”.
He later apologized for the “wording”. Yes.
Now, this jerk got fired from his job for that little outburst. However, the attitude behind it colored the reactions of such big-time Lefties as Bill Maher and Michael Moore, who accused the widow of being a “prop” for Trump.
After all, it’s not like the Left’s ever used poor innocent people to promote their agenda—oh, wait! Wind the clocks back to…Obamacare…!
(Incidentally, as a colleague points out, Van Jones made sure to take the high road among his side, and give a nod to the president for looking…presidential. Van Jones! It’s a sad state of affairs for the Left, when Van Jones looks like the moderate one.)
But that’s beside the point. The issue is: Lefties en masse are flipping their lids, for the simple reason that they can’t stand that Donald Trump has seized one of their most powerful weapons away from them: crafting an issue into a story—giving it a face. And they—can’t—take it.
At long last, dear readers, we look like the caring, compassionate good guys. They look like unstable, petulant, hyper-partisan, cruel-hearted jerks.
Which, of course, they are.
*(Yes, I know they don’t call it that, the first year—for heaven’s sake, what’s the difference?! “The President’s First Address Before A Joint Session Of Congress”. Bit of a mouthful, don’t you think?)
Image source: Wikimedia Commons / Office of the Speaker
License: Public domain
Eric was raised by Conservative Christian parents, but first became especially passionate about politics in high school, through reading up on economic theory. He also first read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around this time, for the ARI's essay contests. He now owns a great deal of Ayn Rand's work. Also included in his library are the collected works of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, etc.
Eric is no stranger to writing commentary, as the writer of the Conservative Considerations column on CampCampaign.com, and as a film critic and commentator on FlickRev.com. He has also carried on the Conservative tradition of talk radio commentary, as the host of "Avengers of America" for the USF student radio station, Bulls Radio. In the meantime, he is practicing what he preaches: Striving to enter the professional realm of Hollywood, he has already written and directed short films for the Campus MovieFest, which can be found on his YouTube channel, Hard Boiled Entertainment.