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One of the best things I have heard on talk radio is this sentiment by Dennis Prager: “a guiding principle of my show is that I prefer clarity to agreement.” Clarity is a wonderful thing, seeing clearly, for one who has not been able to do so is a profound gift.
This summer, my eyesight began to fail. It was slow at first, so slow I didn’t notice it. My reading glasses just slowly quit supporting me to read. By the time I went to the doctor, I had moved from +1.25 for reading and nothing for driving to +5 for reading and +2 for driving, though I am better now. It acted as a step function; but, thinking back on it I could remember how I noticed things starting to get blurry, but discounted it.
Clarity allows you to see the distinct differences between things you may not have noticed before. Winemakers (before fine filtration) used to use clarifying agents to clear up their wine. Some homemade winemakers do so now.
In my lifetime I have been blessed to witness two spectacular Republican Presidents, Ronald Reagan (The Great Communicator) and Donald Trump (The Great Clarifier).
Ronald Reagan was coined The Great Communicator in a 1976 New York Times article by Russell Baker. This is before he was elected President and his various speeches throughout his two terms gave weight to the title. Russell Baker (1925-2019) once wrote about the lack of imagination in TV sobriquets, lamenting in the same article about being told things by a “Turkey Biologist” or a “Resigned Commuter” then a “Victim’s Mother” and then topping his television watching with a Reagan news conference and anticipating “Great Communicator” to scroll across his screen. You get the impression that he wasn’t proud of bestowing the title.
Reagan himself, in his farewell address, said,
“In all of that time I won a nickname, ‘The Great Communicator.’ But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries.”
Don’t let him fool you. Reagan was a genius. His words were simple and true. The Soviet Union was indeed the “Evil Empire”. His plan for the cold war, “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.” Came true just after his 2nd term expired. Try this one, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” One of my favorites, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
These things didn’t come from his speechwriters; our own Peter Robinson is quoted as saying,
”We were not creating Reagan. We were stealing from him.”
Peggy Noonan (another Reagan speechwriter) once put it this way,
“He was often moving, but he was moving not because of the way he said things, he was moving because of what he said. He didn’t say things in a big way, he said big things. Writers, reporters and historians were in a quandary in the Reagan years. ‘The People,’ as they put it, were obviously impressed by much of what Reagan said; this could not be completely dismissed.”
In 2016, the people were obviously impressed with what President Trump said, and although most of the professorial class dismissed it, those of us who were willing to look beyond the Persimmon-Hued Persona and to the heart of what he said were given clarity.
This gift of clarity is not associated with President Trump’s words. His manner of speaking requires that we interpret his language through a prism of New Yorker braggadocio and keep track of the changes when he shifts gears in mid-paragraph. It’s like Marty McFly in front of the Starlighters, “All right, guys, listen. This is a blues riff in B. Watch me for the changes, and try and keep up, okay?”
The WaPo had it this way,
“Great people.” “Believe me.” “Not good.”
These two-word expressions are among some of the staples of the 45th president of the United States’ vocabulary. Although President Trump’s political career is just a few years old, he has already become associated with several simple phrases — “make America great again,” “build the wall” — and even single words — “win,” “sad,” “great.”
Trump is a “unique” politician because he doesn’t speak like one, according to Jennifer Sclafani, an associate teaching professor in Georgetown University’s Department of Linguistics.
“He is interesting to me linguistically because he speaks like everybody else,” said Sclafani, who has studied Trump’s language for the past two years. “And we’re not used to hearing that from a president. We’re used to hearing somebody speak who sounds much more educated, much smarter, much more refined than your everyday American.”
Eventually, those of us looking to understand him had to do the following, take him seriously, not literally.
We got this from Peter Thiel,
I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. … I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally, so when they hear things like the Muslim comment or the wall comment, their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ or, you know, ‘How exactly are you going to enforce these tests?’ What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.
President Trump is the Great Clarifier because we learn who is right or wrong empirically. Just by watching their opposition to him or his opposition to them.
Easy example: President Trump vs President Obama.
President Obama –
“U.S. oil production is essential. It cannot, though, shield us from global price and supply shocks that we can’t control. We can’t drill our way out of this. ”
President Trump –
“Hold my diet coke”.
It turns out that we can, in fact, “drill our way out of this.”
The Nevers insisted that President Trump is unfit or un-presidential. He is just so icky, they say.
President Trump has shattered my notions of how Presidents behave. But not because he has done things that are ‘un-presidential’. In fact, whenever I am told that President has done something untoward, I just go look and find examples of so-called Presidential Presidents doing that very thing or worse.
Johnson, showing his, er, johnson to people or dropping trou in the Rose Garden. Donald Trump is hopped up on steroids, they say and I have Kennedy with
“codeine, Demerol and methadone for pain; Ritalin, a stimulant; meprobamate and librium for anxiety; barbiturates for sleep; thyroid hormone; and injections of a blood derivative, gamma globulin, a medicine that combats infections.”
During the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile crisis no less.
The news media, “we are not biased” and this past Thursday we have Savannah Guthrie doing a lion taming routine with President Trump while George Snuffelupagus acted as Joe Biden’s masseuse and nanny at the same time. George only forgot to give Joe a glass of warm milk and a blankie before he sent him home.
As President Trump says, “Fake news is the enemy of the people” – Clarity.
How about tariffs – “Tariffs are bad” say all right-thinking people, echoing the lessons they learned about the Smoot Hawley Tariff in 7th-grade history.
President Trump thinks they are tools in negotiations.
In May 2019, President Trump placed tariffs against Mexico (and suspended them 7 days later) as Mexico deployed troops to guard the southern border of the US, as well as the southern border of Mexico.
Tariffs are tools – Clarity.
We can go on, but I’ll give you some of the clarity I have been willing to glean over the past 3 years.
Long story short, our treasured institutions follows Robert Conquest’s 2nd law “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.”
The following is true, with few, but notable, exceptions. We have President Trump, the Great Clarifier, to thank.
The FBI is corrupt.
The Intelligence Community – corrupt.
The News Media – corrupt.
Hollywood – Corrupt and full of pedophiles (QAnon says this about the Democrat Party – according to Ms Guthrie – but it is true about Hollywood).
Democrat Run Cities – Corrupt, full of communists and other totalitarians.
Big Tech – nothing but Stasi at heart.
Never Trumpers – willfully ignorant and/or corrupt. I lean toward ‘and’.
Academia – Communist and corrupt, but I repeat myself.
As Reagan said, “How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
The people who preach Communism after understanding it – evil.
Thank you, President Trump.
I would like another 4 years of clarity.Published in