Shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Dennis Kucinich, a well known progressive liberal Democrat, posted to his Facebook and Twitter accounts “Great inauguration speech!” with some additional words of praise, support, and congratulations for Donald Trump – but no further explanation.
Thousands of angry (now former) Kucinich supporters immediately reacted with harsh responses and by deleting Kucinich as a friend. Others held on, speculating and hoping that his account had been hacked.
A day went by, and the Kucinich social media accounts remained silent with no response or explanation regarding the somewhat odd statements of praise coming form someone who it would seem is the antithesis of Donald Trump.
In the absence of any clarification from Dennis Kucinich, the following day I wrote an article offering my interpretation of what was going on: Dennis Kucinich: “GREAT Inauguration Speech!
In that article, I wrote that Dennis Kucinich had probably heard the inauguration speech from the viewpoint of a progressive, and I highlighted the sections of the inaugural speech that could be considered to convey a progressive viewpoint and agenda.
I wrote a separate supporting article “Donald Trump Gave Several Inauguration Speeches. Which one did you hear?” to explain that people tend to hear what they want to hear in a speech.
Sunday evening, Kucinich broke his silence and posted his analysis of the inauguration speech which paralleled my assessment from the day before. I mention this to illustrate that other progressives may have independently arrived at the same conclusions as Kucinich. Having met Kucinich on several occasions, and campaigned for him in our area, it wasn’t too much of stretch for me to guess at the basis for his comments about the inauguration.
Although controversial and widely criticized by progressives, Kucinich’s comments are important because they illustrate a trend among a small number of progressives to identify some common ground with Trump. The majority opinion among progressives seems to be a strategy of 100% resistance for four years while preparing to replace Trump in 2020.
Kucinich’s response is provided here and below that the full inaugural speech as I had previously annotated it to highlight certain passages.
Kucinich Inaugural Commentary
The Trump Inaugural Address – A Progressive Review – Dennis Kucinich 22 JAN 2017 @ 8:25 PM CT
There was much to object to in the Trump campaign statements, yet the 45th President, in his Inaugural Address, indicated an awareness of economic and policy concerns which needed to be said, and must be addressed.
As I reserve the right to disagree with the new President, and I will, so too do I reserve the right to agree with him.
None of the forgoing from the Trump Inaugural Address has been parsed in search of something, anything, upon which to agree for agreement’s sake.
Whether or not we believe he will deliver, the following excerpts from his Inaugural echo things I worked for, continue to work for, or stated as a Mayor, Congressman, and a presidential candidate, through the decades:
1. “Rebuild our country”
We have over $3 trillion dollars of infrastructure needs unmet. This is limiting America’s ability to grow the economy.
2. “Transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”
Washington has aggregated tremendous power through the shift of national tax resources away from states and cities and to Washington. This is what enables the redistribution of wealth upwards.
3. “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. Political parties have failed America.”
4. “Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.”
Education, safe neighborhoods and good jobs are practical aspirations of all Americans.
5. “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation… “
Inner cities are generally ignored in federal policy. Closed factories are the direct result of trade policies which ignored the interests of US workers.
6. “Crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”
Those who live in the inner cities, in rural areas and in some suburbs have been inundated with drugs and crime.
7. “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry”
NAFTA, GATT, China Trade and other agreements have moved millions of good paying jobs out of America, weakened unions, reduced wages, cut benefits and shifted America’s wealth out of the country.
8. “Subsidized the armies of other countries ….”
Our foreign military aid sends billions abroad. America subsidizes NATO, another layer of military which includes 28 member nations, then NATO keeps seeking conflict to justify its existence.
9. “And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.”
The long term cost of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries will cost America at least $6 trillion, adding to the deficit and depriving our country of resources needed to rebuild America.
10 “…Factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.”
There has been no serious discussion in the White House for years concerning trade policies which left millions unemployed, and have seriously damaged our economy, in particular, the Midwest.
11. “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.”
The middle class standard of life was linked to American predominance in steel, automotive, aerospace, shipping, machine shops, specialty metals, and hi-tech and as that has declined, so has the middle class.
12. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”
If this measure is integrated into our decisions on international commerce, taxation and foreign affairs, it will benefit our country.
13. “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.”
This is key to rebuilding our economy, full employment, commerce, energy efficiency and our future.
14. “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.”
American workers are trained to produce top quality products and they ought to be supported.
15. “…it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”
This affirms the national sovereignty of all countries, which is critical if we are to avoid more wars.
16. “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
American interventionism is about using military force to impose our way, and it has come at an extraordinary cost to our nation, to people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other places.
If we use our nation’s resources to build America, not destroy other countries, we will indeed be an example to the world.
Trump Inauguration Speech
Below is the transcript of Trump’s inauguration speech as I had annotated it the following day to highlight in dark bold green text what could be considered as progressive passages.
Donald Trump Inauguration Speech
20 January 2017
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams. And their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.
And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions.
It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the wind-swept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they will their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.
God bless America.