Written by James E. Miller
Two summers ago, I wrote a laudatory piece for the Press And Journal on Donald Trump and his then-ascendant campaign. I praised his tenacity to speak directly to the everyman, infuriating media elites who discourse in meaningless verbiage.
The D.C. class needed a good reminder that the rest of America doesn’t think, talk or act like them. Trump was that outlandish reminder.
Fifteen months later, I never thought he would be the Republican nominee. He’s less than 30 days from winning the presidency. Hillary Clinton, who I predicted would win the election hands down, is no longer a guarantee.
Come Election Day, I plan on voting for Donald Trump. I know what you’re thinking: How in the world can you vote for that vulgar monster for president? Don’t you think he’ll run his gums and start World War III?
Well, the truth is that I do fear missteps in a Donald Trump administration. I’d rather him not embarrass us on the world stage. I’d prefer his temper not flare while negotiating with world leaders. I’d really like for him to not screw over his supporters the way he’s filtched from his creditors over the years.
All that said, I’m under no illusion: I’m prepared to be disappointed in a President Trump. Any president will sooner or later let you down (see the fall in millennial support of President Barack Obama). The Donald, despite his boasts, will not follow through on his dreamy, superlative-filled promises.
But I still back Trump, not so much for what he says but what he represents. He’s a blowhard businessman whose avarice is only rivaled by his opponent’s insatiable opportunism. He wouldn’t know the Constitution if it was gold-flecked and began with “Me, Donald Trump, of my United States, in Order to form…”
However, any apprehension I had about Trump’s ability to execute the duties of commander-in-chief have been softened by one thing: His penchant for protecting that which is close.
I doubt Trump knew what he was getting into when he launched his campaign way back in June of last year. His infamous announcement speech is remembered most for implying that many illegal Mexicans are criminals (definitionally, all illegal immigrants are criminals) and rapists.
But he said much more. Channeling conservative columnist Pat Buchanan’s populist presidential runs from the 1990s, Trump came off as fiercely inward looking. He raged against international trade deals, the downscaling of the U.S. military, our porous border with Mexico, and proposals to gut Medicare and Social Security.
Trump’s platform wasn’t ideological. Heck, it was barely Republican. Trump shot from the hip at whom he perceived as corrupt politicians driving the country down the road to ruin. And he never apologized for it.
This was made all the more clear when Trump, after routing 16 opponents in the long and bloody primary war, accepted the GOP nomination. With his amateur campaign polished by professionals, the Manhattan billionaire took things up a notch in his acceptance speech, attacking Hillary Clinton’s cosmopolitan views. “The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents,” Trump boomed, “is that our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”
It was once understood that nation-states exist to advance the prosperity of their citizens. That outdated belief is at odds with the “global-mindedness” of today’s elites, who see national borders and patriotism as limits on spreading the liberal gospel to the far reaches of the world.
Hillary Clinton is unquestionably the elitists’ choice this election. And her neoliberalism is based on a few assumptions, the prime one being the interchangeability of human beings. For Hillary and her globalist ilk, we are nothing by biological automatons that react to pleasure and pain. Blood, kin and roots are only the product of colorful imagination. They aren’t real like gross domestic product. They don’t provide meaning like biweekly dole checks.
Of course, Hillary, being the canny pol she is, utilizes identity politics to rile up her base. She uses feelings of racial and sexual solidarity to boost her numbers. But that’s only a political ploy. Her heart is with the universalized idealism of the TED talk crowd.
Trump’s the opposite. He wants to bring money spent on democracy-building home to repair our broken infrastructure. He castigates companies that leave the United States to set up shop in cheaper countries. He wants to preserve America’s unique character by securing the border. He doesn’t want to just defeat ISIS — he wants to take their oil reserves for American use.
Trump’s focus is here, on our country and our people. His message resonates with those who don’t long to see the world, and are comfortable right where they are. A new poll from The Atlantic shows that “40 percent of Donald Trump’s likely voters live in the community where they spent their youth, compared with just 29 percent of Hillary Clinton voters.” Not only that, but 60 percent of Hillary supporters live more than two hours away from their hometown. (For the record, I live in Northern Virginia, which is slightly over two hours away from Middletown).
In a recent NPR interview, Bruce Springsteen, reminiscing about his hardscrabble years in Asbury Park, New Jersey, divided people into two camps: “(T)here’s folks that stay and there’s folks that go.” Trump is the voice of folks who stay — stay in their family, their hometown, and their country. Hillary is the voice of those who leave — who break the bonds of their birth and embrace their will-to-power self.
This 21st century America needs a good dose of staying put. Trump is the medicine. No matter the taste, I plan on taking it on Nov. 8.
James E. Miller, a native of Middletown, works as a digital marketer in Northern Virginia.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 16:23
A proposal to allow 32,000 more senior citizens to enroll in the state’s PACENET prescription drug assistance program cleared the House this summer, and is now in the state Senate for consideration. This would be the first expansion of the program since 2002.
House Bill 2069, which I supported, would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program to $31,000 for a single person and to $41,000 for a married couple. Current maximum income requirements for the PACENET program, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, are $23,500 for a single individual and $31,500 for a married couple annually.
An adjustment in the reimbursement formula would allow the program expansion without additional costs on enrollees or additional funds from the Pennsylvania Lottery or taxpayers.
The PACE and PACENET programs provide low-cost prescription drugs to nearly 282,000 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older.
Both programs are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery. For more information on the programs, visit RepPayne.com, and click on the “PA-At Your Service” icon.
Small business grants
The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting manufacturers, retailers, service providers, agricultural businesses and other small businesses to apply for Small Business Advantage Grants to finance pollution prevention and energy-efficiency projects.
The grants provide funding to projects that include auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks, HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems and waste recycling systems.
The grant program is funded by the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, which is financed by the state Capital Stock and Franchise Tax and Act 13 impact fees, as well as hazardous waste transportation and management fees, and hazardous sites cost recovery.
Applicants will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted until fiscal year 2016-17 funds are exhausted or April 17, 2017, whichever occurs first.
For eligibility requirements and more details, visit RepPayne.com, and click on “PA-At Your Service.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:12
I was startled when I heard Donald Trump call for an ideological certification and extreme vetting for people entering the United States.
The whole concept of an ideology — a coherent system of beliefs and values that motivate individuals and groups — is something that is foreign to the American experience. I expected a headline the next day in The New York Times recognizing the strangeness of this proposal. There was hardly a mention and certainly not the outcry I expected.
For most political or economic theorists, ideology is a morally and analytically neutral term that expresses the existing ethos of a group or civilization or, in fact, any comprehensive normative vision. For most of the average American middle class, ideology is a 75 cent word of little practical use.
For the people who think about it, ideology is what we live by. However, a pejorative aroma lingers about the term which, especially for Americans, implies a rigidity and mindless conformity to some abstract rule or goal. “He is an ideologue,” is not a compliment.
The governing “Elite” are supposed to protect and maintain an ideology as a system that all of the people are expected to know and support for the common good. Except that is not the way Americans see it.
Americans have a problem. It is doubtful that America has an ideology that “all of the people are expected to know and support.” In fact, polarization across the spectrum of potential ideologies raises serious doubts about that mythical philosophical point.
To put it simplistically, the American ideology begins with democratic socialism on the left and runs to the right through alt-right. In addition, lots of people put themselves outside that spectrum but they still consider themselves full-fledged Americans. Who belongs to or is deserving of the American dream, if I can use that term, has to be chosen after “extreme vetting.” And someone has to get very specific about that ideology when in reality the ideology is as vague and amorphous as the values that make up the American dream.
The present ever deepening polarization in America’s economics and politics is a disagreements about our values. The Great Moderation of the 1950s and early 1960s witnessed a consensus about our value system. The political, sociological and economic changes in our society during those years were not reflected in the society around them.
The power centers held on to the status quo. The educational system, health care and manufacturing establishmentsfor instance, had not adjusted to the new reality and when they did in the late 1960s it was violent with riots in the streets and assassinations.
Then the society tried to catch up and did it with startling speed. The society embraced civil rights, changes in sexual mores, feminism and gay marriage.
Because these changes were sociological, the people could institute the change practically by themselves. What took money or political power, did not get done and will not get done until the power structure of the previous ideology ceases to stand in the way. In the meantime, the middle class is losing its place and it’s faith in what is left of the economic and political value system that they counted on.
Other areas such as global warming, tax reform, economic adjustment and political structures lagged because they require money, lots of it. Now consensual ideology exists to guide these changes.
Likewise, there was no agreement on who would pay and the 1 percent were not about to give up the money they had skimmed over the past 40 years. The polarization and strife represented by the rise of Donald Trump will not conclude just because he loses this coming election, if he does lose! The ideological base is going to have to be created and that is not yet in sight.
Nothing is more un-American or exclusionary than the idea of people being certified as ideologically correct and therefore worthy of entrance into the United States. That sounds more like Hitler or Stalin. In the meantime we have to ask what would a Trump administration certify to as a basis for allowing immigrants to enter the United States.
No one in his right mind would presume to know just where Donald Trump would go on that ideological spectrum. No one I know would presume to draft a certificate of worthiness.
Paul A. Heise, of Mount Gretna, is a professor emeritus of economics at Lebanon Valley College, Annville, and a former economist for the federal government.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2016 16:10