What a festive July 4th we just saw – and most of us enjoyed, worries notwithstanding! From Maine to South Dakota, a quick survey suggests we saw more fireworks, and had more passion than in many years. Americans love freedom and celebrated! Rightly so. Our freedoms are hard-won and precious.
Still, every rose has its thorns. Critics scratch at confidence, sniff at love of country, demean hope, and deride our president. These days, if not toppling history – leaders like Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Francis Scott Key, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson – they populate our media.
They might as well be dubbed anti-patriots. They tend to be historically uninformed, deconstructionist, unapologetically anti-American, and big on socialism. With much of the Democratic Party, they disparage America’s past and trumpet socialism. No coincidentally, they hate the President.
On July 4th, President Trump pulled out all stops. He delivered a rousing, patriotic speech, asking Americans to remember, appreciate, and defend hard-won liberties. His speech was punctuated by the Blue Angels and delivered at Mount Rushmore. As Americans smiled, national media spit vinegar.
The Washington Post said Trump’s concern for socialism, leftist ideology, and radical violence “exploits social divisions,” a “dark speech.” One wonders where that newspaper was when dozens of cities were torn apart, hundreds of minority businesses destroyed, historic churches burned, and more than 700 police injured in putatively “peaceful protests.” That would seem a “dark” moment. See: https://nypost.com/2020/06/08/more-than-700-officers-injured-in-george-floyd-protests-across-us/.
Already in 2020, 116 police officers have died “in the line of duty” – a 41 percent jump from last year. If one wants to speak of “new divisions,” statistical changes that reflect a need to restore “rule of law” and avoid “dark” events – that might be a better place to begin.
Lest anyone suggest Trump triggered socialism with increased police killings, history is clear – the exact opposite. As police deaths have mounted, the number of deaths attributed to police – during an average 60 million encounters annually – has fallen from highs under Obama to lows under Trump.
Deaths attributed to police under Obama were 608 in 2012, 344 in 2013, 634 in 2014, and 848 in 2015, with 201 in 2016. Under Trump, they fell to 139, 403, and 246 in three years, 327 this dystopian year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_the_United_States.
To make sense of those numbers, think of it this way. Annual fatalities from police under Obama averaged 527, under Trump 279. Rule of law has been more peaceably enforced under Trump than under Obama. That new darkness – rise of violent socialism – was not from Trump’s policing policies.
What else did the media have to say about the President’s patriotic speech? CNN called his backdrop, Mount Rushmore, a “monument to two slaveowners” put on property “wrestled away from Native Americans.” No doubt, they were thinking of Elizabeth Warren’s distant relatives.
One can imagine CNN cheering destruction of Mount Rushmore, the way Taliban terrorists cheered destruction of Buddhas carved into Afghan mountains. Britain’s Guardian decried that as, “erasing all traces of a rich pre-Islamic past.” How soon we forget revulsion with those who destroy history.
Another media trick is to conflate facts or blur lines – like calling Americans “anti-immigrant” who distinguish legal from illegal. After Trump’s speech defending liberty, warning against violence, the Associated Press said he railed against “protestors who have pushed for racial justice.” He did not.
The fault is triple. They accuse Trump of opposing peaceful protests, which he did not. They fail to validate what bothers many Americans – a rise of radical socialist violence. And they fail to report penetration of the former by the latter, confirmed by law enforcement. In short, they accuse Trump of racism, while ignoring anti-American socialist and anarchist violence.
Meantime, “activist reporters” at the New York Times – who forced out an editor for publishing Senator Cotton’s defense of law enforcement and legal use of the military –reported: “Trump Uses Mount Rushmore to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message.” Where does one begin? Perhaps history.
Mount Rushmore celebrates unifying Americans – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Pointing out opposition to radical socialism is not divisive – in a free republic, premised on peaceful dispute resolution.
Finally, Trump did not author cultural divisions. He inherited them. He aims to restore free speech on campuses and Internet, free exercise of religion and conscience in community, business, school, military, and the public square. He supports historic rights to assemble, keep and bear arms, avoid unreasonable searches and seizures. As Democrats push to federalize everything, he honors 10th Amendment rights “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” And he inherited the travesty of justice called the Obama Justice Department.
In the end, we have much to celebrate – freedoms to hold dear, with those who gave them. The irony is the modern media’s blindness. They do not see that the freedom they enjoy comes from people they dismiss, disparage, defame, and want to destroy.
Here is my bet: Not one reporter in 100 could name any of the 50,000 American casualties from the Revolutionary War, Bunker Hill to Yorktown. Nor any of 20,000 in The War of 1812, about which Theodore Roosevelt wrote a definitive naval history.
Those who dismiss us as rubes could not tell you 655,000 fell in the Civil War, including 49,000 Blacks in the Union Army. They could not tell you what Joshua Chamberlain did at Gettysburg (held line by bayonet at Little Roundtop, saving the Union), or about Lincoln’s famous letter to Lydia Bixby (who lost five sons), or where Grant split the confederacy (Vicksburg, 1863).
Two-to-one, they could not name three WWI battlefields, or recall US casualties in that war (320,000). They are unlikely to recall that 16 million Americans defended freedom in WWII – or that America saved the world again, defeating fascism with one million US casualties, 405,000 dead.
Nor could they detail the Berlin blockade, Korean or Vietnam Wars, first Gulf War, conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Most barely know Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, brought the Soviet killing machine to its knees, and in the process freed 400,000,000 human souls.
All this matters, because it offers the real backdrop, bigger even than Mount Rushmore. Freedom is not free, nor easy to secure. It never has been. That is why we celebrate Independence Day, and those who made it possible. That is why the President reminded us to be vigilant, recommit ourselves to freedom. What we have is hard-won and precious. May we never forget it.