Day 2: Exceptionalism


Courtesy of Laurie Shaull Donald Trump loves America. No, really, he loves America. He made sure this was apparent on Friday, when the newly minted president used his inauguration speech to declare the return of American Exceptionalism.

Trump’s speeches typically read like a meandering litany of hashtags and catchphrases. They tend to go off-task and powerfully rally his supporters into an energetic fervor.

His inauguration speech was different. Trump spent the first half of his address depressingly bemoaning what he believes to be the desecration of traditional America, using phrases like “American carnage”, and likening abandoned factories to “tombstones.” He stated that “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no more,” and promised the American people that “I will never ever let you down.”

As Trump’s speech progressed, it transformed into a declaration of hope (at least, for his supporters), with Trump proclaiming to the sparse crowd of supporters that “When America is united, America is totally unstoppable,” and offering to govern by a simple credo; “We will follow two simple rules: buy American, and hire American.” Evidently, his speechwriters made sure to stick to simple concepts that even Trump, himself, could understand.

Later in the day, one of Trump’s first actions further cemented his love for his country; he signed a decree that enacted an ill-defined National Day of Patriotism.

Donald Trump loves America. But does America love Donald Trump? That was certainly in question on inauguration day, when swaths of protests turned violent all over the country.

Trump’s inauguration, inaugural concert, and inaugural parade, were all far less attended than his predecessor’s.

It’s not hard to see why. Trump seems to have a vision for America that differs from that of many of his constituents. Hours into his presidency, Trump scrapped two vital documents from the web: the White House study on climate change, and the Department of Labor report on LGBT people in the workplace. By symbolically erasing long-accepted truths about LGBT rights and about slowing climate change, the Trump administration seems to be sending America back a decade or two quicker than expected. (Certainly not adhering to that “beginning on Monday” concept.)

The intent of these actions remains to be seen, but the President must remember that there is more to America than absurd nationalism.