What Do You Have To Lose, Trump?

Whatever we didn’t know about the depth of corruption in our institutions before 2021, we are fast learning its true scope and, most importantly, its intent. The real pandemic of our lifetime is not the man-made virus or its variants—lurking conveniently everywhere we go and peaking at certain times of the year, say, before an election. No. It is rather the obscene hubris of a clique of pseudo-somethings who think their time to rule has finally come. Fancying themselves demigods, they are making moves to wield control over the lives of millions they deem unfit for freedom and, if necessary, life itself. It is cynical, all-encompassing, evil.

If you don’t believe me, check out what’s happening in Australia. The former penal colony has become a national prison once again practically overnight, and its people—now inmates—are taking it on the chin. The knee. The face. The soul. This is what awaits us. Australia is the prototype, the first foray into a Brave New World. But it’s also a warning; do not look away.

Like that weaponized virus, this, too, is not novel. Men, and one infamously rogue angel, have long sought the mantle of the divine. And the totalitarian nature and breakneck speed at which these events are unfolding threaten to overwhelm our senses and therefore our resistance. We feel surrounded, and in many ways we are. These are not merely interesting times to be alive. They are diabolical. 

And yet we have all been chosen for such a time as this either to bear witness, to speak out, or to reverse the breakage and somehow make it whole again. An American Renaissance is MAGA, but how many of us really knew what it would take to get there? I know I didn’t. 

I once read, “To see things as they are is to drink from an endless cup.” I used to think that meant that clarity was a gift to the seer, lighthearted, signifying peace and abundance. But now I know it’s something much grittier. To see clearly is a blessing but also a heavy burden.

There are reasons to hope, however, or at least to not let despair hold sway. It is found in the parents opposing the critical race theory being foisted upon their children, removing them, if necessary, and homeschooling instead. It is found in the people protesting with their wallets, their voices, and their presence. It is found in the people who are unwilling to wear a mask or put one on their children. It is found in the lawsuits against vaccine mandates filed by college students, health care workers, and government employees. It is found in the unprecedented demand for homesteading supplies, seeds, and poultry.

The power of these choices to not comply—magnified and multiplied by millions of individuals—is a force so frightening to the clique that they have, for years, resorted to importing into the homeland millions of illegal aliens from across our southern border and, most recently, thousands of potential terrorists from Afghanistan—leaving behind actual Americans, billions of dollars in weapons and equipment, and even military dogs.

We are not merely deplorable to these villains; we are disposable. We should never forget the cruelty implied in the slavish homages to “essential” workers. If you have such a sign in your possession, burn it.

Trump On the Move

The archetypal target of the America Last agenda is of course Donald Trump. Removed from high office through old-fashioned fraud and election chicanery, he has thankfully not stayed silent. By the looks of it, Trump has soft-launched his reelection campaign, endorsing candidates, conducting interviews, releasing hard-hitting ads, and holding rallies.

On August 22, in Cullman, Alabama, Trump spoke at length and on a variety of topics to a massive crowd, upwards of 50,000 people. With his usual rhetorical flare, Trump took us on a journey with glimpses into his presidency, the present crisis, and future possibilities. It says something special about a man who captures the attention of thousands of people in an open arena, telling heartrending stories about grieving Gold Star families. It says something special about the audience who listened in rapt, respectful silence to his every word. You could have heard the proverbial pin had it dared to drop.

There were other memorable moments that night. Vintage Trump. No-holds-barred. Self-congratulatory. At times, poetic. Meme-worthy content virtually created in real time. The best was his riff on the pathetic weakness of certain U.S. generals: 

You know what “woke” means? It means you’re a loser.

He continues, building on the thought as only Trump can do: 

Everything woke, everything woke . . . It’s true. 

Here comes the zinger we’re now primed for:

Everything woke turns to shit. 

The crowd goes wild. I, too, was cheering and pumping my fists into the air, hundreds of miles away. The bond between Trump and millions of Americans is real and remains palpable, but there is something that threatens to strain that bond, and we saw it that night in Alabama. When lauding his administration’s efforts to create a vaccine in record time, Trump said:

I believe totally in your freedoms, I do. But you got to do what you have to do, but I recommend, take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines, but you got . . .

The crowd boos loudly. He hears it and continues:

No, that’s okay. That’s all right. You got your freedoms. But I happened to take the vaccine. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know, okay. I’ll call up Alabama and say, “Hey, you know what?” But it is working. But you do have your freedoms.

He made a joke, reconnected with the crowd, and moved on. Okay fine, but this recommendation of his is something to pay attention to. How Trump makes use of his time in Mar-a-Lago is to be determined. It’s still early days. Will he learn from his mistakes—the godawful people he hired, nominated, and trusted? If he listens to authentic America Firsters and tempers the part of his ego that weds him to Operation Warp Speed, he could have a second term more successful than he or any of us could possibly imagine.

Listen to Alabama, Mr. President. What do you have to lose? 

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About Samantha Strayer

Samantha Strayer writes and edits for Hillsdale College by day and freelances by night. She is a Claremont Institute Lincoln fellow (class of 2017), and graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. Samantha is active in local politics, serving as precinct delegate for the Republican Party in the state of Michigan.

Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images