Trump de­fends val­ues of his base in the cul­ture war

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - OPINION - Pat Buchanan

To at­tend the In­di­anapo­lis Colts game where the num­ber of the leg­endary Pey­ton Man­ning was to be re­tired, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, a for­mer gover­nor of In­di­ana, flew back from Las Ve­gas.

With him in the sta­dium was wife Karen. In honor of Man­ning, she wore a No. 18 jersey as “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner” be­gan.

The Pences stood, hands over hearts. A dozen San Fran­cisco 49ers took a knee. When the na­tional an­them ended, Pence walked out. His limou­sine took him back to the air­port to fly to LA.

“A stunt! That plane trip cost tax­pay­ers $250,000,” wailed a me­dia that was rarely crit­i­cal of Michelle Obama’s mil­lion-dol­lar jun­kets with Sasha and Malia.

The pres­i­dent took credit for Pence’s walk­out, tweet­ing, “I asked @VP Pence to leave sta­dium if any play­ers kneeled.”

As Pence had left his press pool in the mo­tor­cade, and said he might not be too long, the walk­out may not have been en­tirely spon­ta­neous. But the game had been on Pence’s cal­en­dar for weeks.

In the cul­ture wars, Trump has re­jected com­pro­mise or ca­pit­u­la­tion and de­cided to de­fend the ground on which his most loyal folks stand.

Ex­am­ple: While The Wash­ing­ton Post was re­port­ing Mon­day that Austin, Seat­tle, San Fran­cisco and Den­ver had now joined Los An­ge­les in re­plac­ing Colum­bus Day with Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Day, Trump is­sued a Colum­bus Day procla­ma­tion of bristling de­fi­ance.

“Five hun­dred and twenty-five years ago, Christo­pher Colum­bus com­pleted an am­bi­tious and dar­ing voy­age across the At­lantic Ocean to the Amer­i­cas.”

Colum­bus, said Trump, was a “skilled nav­i­ga­tor and man of faith, whose coura­geous feat brought to­gether con­ti­nents and has in­spired count­less oth­ers to pur­sue their dreams and con­vic­tions.”

His procla­ma­tion failed to men­tion indige­nous peo­ples.

How did CNN re­ceive it? Not at all well.

“Trump’s Praise of Colum­bus Omits Dark His­tory,” ran the CNN head­line.

Trump’s procla­ma­tion closed a week in which he rolled back the Obamacare man­date re­quir­ing em­ploy­ers and in­sti­tu­tions, against their re­li­gious be­liefs, to pro­vide con­tra­cep­tives to em­ploy­ees.

And Amer­i­cans are com­ing to ac­cept our new re­al­ity: On the essen­tials of na­tion­hood — an­ces­try, moral­ity, faith, cul­ture, his­tory, he­roes — we re­ally are no longer one na­tion and one peo­ple.

All week­end, view­ers of ca­ble TV were treated to self-right­eous wail­ing from the acolytes of Colin Kaeper­nick, pa­tron saint of the 49ers, that “tak­ing the knee” to protest racism and racist cops is a most ad­mirable ex­er­cise of the First Amend­ment right to protest.

What Trump’s folks are say­ing in re­sponse is this:

“You may have a First Amend­ment right to dis­re­spect our flag, or even to burn it, but you have no right to make us lis­ten to you, or re­spect you, or buy tick­ets to your games, or watch you on Sun­day.”

Call them “de­plorables” if you will, but Trump does seem to rel­ish go­ing out to de­fend the views, val­ues and be­liefs of the peo­ple who put him where he is.

Peo­ple who stand by you in a fight are not all that com­mon in pol­i­tics. When Trump ex­hibits this qual­ity, he re­ceives in rec­i­proc­ity the kind of loy­alty even his en­e­mies con­cede he has.

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