AN AGENDA FOR AMERICA’S RENEWAL – By Ward Connerly
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 @ 3:12PM
AN AGENDA FOR AMERICA’S RENEWAL
By Ward Connerly
Traditionally, political campaigns are waged between the 40-yard lines of the political football field. As a candidate for president in 2016, Donald J. Trump dramatically changed this tradition and expanded the field of play from the 40 yard lines to goal post to goal post. Hardly anything was out-of-bounds with candidate Trump, and given the fact that he seemed to view politics as a form of entertainment, we should have expected that the marriage between politics and stand-up comedy would engender profound consequences for the world of politics.
With the nomination of Trump as the Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton as the Democrat candidate, the stage was set for a predicted landslide for Clinton: she was a female with the argument of history on her side, had much of an all-too-willing GOP establishment aligned with her to trash Trump, enjoyed the support of a popular incumbent president who was prepared to bludgeon her opponent for her, had demographics and a ton of money weighing in her favor, and she had the advantage of relevant experience.
On November 8, 2016, the American electorate handed Trump a decisive electoral college victory. Rather than gracefully acknowledging his victory and handing him the spoils, Trump’s opponents began to mobilize out of a sense of immense disappointment, embarrassment, anger and panic.
The disappointment should be obvious, as Team Clinton had thought for four years that this election was in the bag. Members of that campaign, senate and congressional candidates and countless others were preparing for positions within the new Clinton administration. The power and influence of the national Democrat Party machine was positioned to remain intact by simply handing off the baton from Obama to Clinton.
Embarrassment resulted on the part of Clinton and her campaign staff for losing an election that many thought they should have won. Anger was directed to a host of individuals. Many mega-donors, a significant slice of the federal civil service based in Washington D.C., virtually the entire Hollywood acting community, the traditional media, and countless others who stood to benefit from continuation of a Democrat power structure in Washington D.C were confused and became angry about this turn of events.
Panic took control as Obama and others realized that not only was the Obama “legacy” in grave danger, but also the transformation of America into a permanently progressive nation had been dealt a lethal blow by Trump and his ”basket of deplorables.” It would be bad enough to lose Obamacare and to have an untold number of regulatory executive orders wiped out, but panic turned into horror with the growing realization that Trump was a political force that had been very badly underestimated and had to be stopped by any means necessary. Delegitimizing the Trump presidency by blocking appointments and his proposed policy initiatives became the first goal, but the 2018 midterm election became a matter of immediate concern.
As a result of all this, America is now caught in the grip of what amounts to a civil war, with the central question being what will be the framework and content of American culture. At other times, it would be tempting to believe that “this too shall pass.” This time, however, the divisions in our nation are so substantial that we cannot move forward without consciously debating and resolving certain issues.
We Americans pride ourselves on being freedom-loving people. In truth, it seems that we are increasingly willing to compromise our freedom for any number of reasons. It is essential that we reaffirm our dedication to this most fundamental value that defines who we are as a people. While it is accurate to say that there is no such thing as “absolute” privacy, as our FBI Director reminds us, this acknowledgment should not deter us from always striving to expand freedom. It is not part of our national DNA to be content with diminished freedom.
Universities are crucial to the success of a free and democratic society. What makes that so is the fact that universities are intended to be laboratories for the consideration of ideas. As such, respect for free speech is vital. Ironically, the institutional sector that spews most of the mindless blather about “diversity” is the one that seems to be the least tolerant of diverse points of view. Perhaps, it is time for the donor community, and that includes federal and state governments, to deny funding to those universities that betray their responsibility to be guardians of free speech. Just as funding may be withheld from any university that engages in racial discrimination, failure to defend free speech may also be established as grounds for loss of funding.
A major factor that, until now, has distinguished America from many other nations is our respect for the rule of law. More than ever, Americans need to reignite our respect for the laws of the land. The national debate about illegal immigration that is being driven by President Trump clearly addresses this problem.
There is hardly anything that is more apparent than the fact that immigration to the United States should occur only by legal means. Nonetheless, betrayal of the laws regarding immigration has been occurring for decades in America. Those who oppose our having any borders at all even attempt to define the problem away through the use of rhetoric. For example, they reject the term “illegal immigrant,” using instead the term “undocumented” immigrant.
The betrayal of the law runs so deep on this issue that an exhaustive list of cities, counties and states pride themselves on being “sanctuary” jurisdictions. These entities openly obstruct the enforcement of immigration laws. In doing so, they have fundamentally altered our nation, to such an extent that we don’t even know how many illegal immigrants actually reside in America.
Equal rights for every American “without regard to their race or color” is a value that is central to who we are as a people. This principle is also codified in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It is the law of the land. Yet, discrimination against applicants of Asian descent is widespread – a fact that is commonly acknowledged.
Nations don’t emerge out of thin air; they don’t just happen. Nations are created based on a set of principles and objectives. The principles that are central to the creation or founding of the specific nation occasionally change over time. In America, change is occurring at a cataclysmic pace, largely because of the nation’s inability to assimilate unbridled immigration. Because of the demographic changes produced by this phenomenon, and the politics that attach to this matter, the nation is rapidly departing from some of its most significant founding principles. This is occurring at a time when public support for founding principles such as freedom, rule of law, equality for every individual and free speech is eroding rapidly.
As President Trump puts forward his agenda to make “America great again,” no American can sit on the sidelines and merely watch the very intense debate that is
ongoing in our nation. Whether we agree with the slogan or not, there is little disagreement that most Americans believe that our nation has been moving in the wrong direction. Trump is trying to remake America by reducing government regulations, reducing the tax burden, returning the nation to its traditional values, strengthening our military, confronting the issue of illegal immigration and reducing the size of government.
The Trump agenda is a bold one that embodies many of the objectives that some of us have pursued for decades. For this reason, our optimism for this agenda is not unwarranted!
Ward Connerly is president of the American Civil Rights Institute, a former Regent of the University of California and author of “Lessons from my Uncle James”.