On Friday, President Donald Trump announced he had signed “a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!” Great news, of course. But, if I’m being honest, it’s not enough to make a difference this fall. There is, however, a golden opportunity out there for either candidate willing to stand up to the mutant army currently destroying cities and statues. That opportunity is only for one of them. They just have to do it soon, and they have to do it first.
As Ricky Bobby says, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” In this case, standing up to the liberal mob is a race to be first because whichever one isn’t first really is last, and any attempt to follow will be seen as a pathetic attempt to “what about me?” the other’s leadership.
What am I talking about? Well, it’s different for each man.
For President Trump, he’s tweeted a good game about the mob, but tweeting isn’t enough. He has a lot of followers and his tweets make news, but this situation requires more. It requires a speech to the nation.
The president needs to address the country in a way only a president can. A solo speech, from the Oval Office, short and to the point. It has to be on message and focused, showing both righteous indignation and empathy, as well as standing up for police and law and order without being over the top.
The righteous indignation part is easy to understand. After more than a month of riots, random beatings, and unbridled destruction, the righteousness writes itself. But the president can’t gloss over what started all of this -- the killing of George Floyd.
Yes, it’s been hijacked by radicals of every color, but there are a lot of people seriously and rightly horrified by that eight minutes and 46 seconds of video. Care needs to be taken to acknowledge that while separating it out from the hijackers.
Then, and this part will be easy for the president, the greatness of America has to be spelled out and defended. We are not, nor have we ever been perfect. The preamble to the Constitution reads the government was established “in order to form a more perfect union,” not a perfect one. Human beings are incapable of perfection. But that doesn’t mean we should ever stop striving for it, and we have not. President Trump needs to make that case.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, has just as much at stake, only he has to come at it from the opposite direction.
These are his voters ripping down history. They have a lot of energy, something Biden’s campaign lacks, but it’s manifested itself in hatred. Joe won’t be able to redirect it, so he has to disavow it…carefully. He, unlike President Trump, can’t defend the police, even remotely strongly.
Biden inspires no one, with the possible exception of narcoleptics. He needs all the energy he can get, even if it’s against his opponent and not for him. No candidate cares why their voters show up – for them or against their opponent – as long as they show up. There simply aren’t enough people in this mob to be the difference for Biden. Yet, he’s afraid of them. They can be the difference against him.
Joe has to thread the needle of trying to turn off as few of the mob as possible while still having a “Sister Souljah moment” of standing up to people who are turning off other potential voters. Considering he can barely string a coherent sentence together, even when written on a teleprompter for him, threading a needle is almost impossible.
But Biden would benefit from standing up to the mob, especially considering the fact that he’s been silent on the destruction so far. Biden is a blank slate ready to be painted. President Trump would benefit from standing up to the mob and for America, if it’s done tactfully – he needs to appeal to hesitant voters disgusted by what’s happening across the country. Whoever goes first, wins. Whoever goes second will look like they only spoke up because the other person did.
That’s the rub – there are risks for both, but rewards for only one. President Trump has the natural inclination to do it. He just needs to walk the fine line between the perfect and turning people off, and actually give the speech. Biden has to turn as few people off as possible while attracting more, without sounding like a sleep-talking bumbling old man. The public is ready for one of them to step up and give voice to what so many of us are feeling. Who will it be? Because it can’t be both.
I hope it’s Trump, and I hope it’s soon.