So what do I know anyway? I didn’t want him to begin with. I didn’t want him until it became painfully, obviously clear that he alone stood between us and the cultural and economic pillage contemplated by Hillary Clinton. And so, with never a backward look, my wife and I colored in the straight-Republican oval on our ballots—and helped in our small way to usher Donald John Trump into the White House. That’s how it goes in politics as in so much of life: There ain’t no perfect choices, folks. You do what seems best at the time. We’re glad we voted the way we did. It seemed, and seems, best.
I hadn’t supposed it would come to this. I cast my first presidential vote for a personal and philosophical hero—Barry Goldwater. As I look around today, I find heroes in short supply. I put no special faith in the heroic qualities, real or supposed, of Donald Trump. He may let us down, as presidents generally do in these complex and difficult times.
And yet . . . and yet . . . it felt good! Voting for Trump felt good. It amounted to hitting a lick in behalf of ideals and ideas scorned in our time as backwards: patriotism, piety, moral strength, the come-on-let’s-get-agoin’ virtues that swept back the frontier and elevated America to world supremacy.
And, yes, I know what you’re about to say: some Hector or Hercules, some Duke Wayne, this Trump guy, with his mouth and ever-busy hands. That’s not the point. The point slowly became—it seeped in, really—the sheer arrogance of those who presumed to tell us things were fine and getting better, culturally speaking, and you were a bad boy, a “deplorable,” if you disliked the cultural pleasure palace America had become: unfettered choice for all but the bad boys, apologies galore for our national misdeeds, such as economic success.
Fie, I said to this. Others, with fine abandon, said, #$#@&%!!! And thus it became virtually a civic duty to tell the smug denigrators of America and American values—cable hosts, bloggers, writers for The New Yorker, politicians effectively divorced from their constituents—where to get off, and how quickly. And so, on election day, it came to pass. And I enjoyed it: the more so as I read on November 9 the wailings and reproaches of the cable hosts, bloggers, etc. Donald John Trump as president may have a bumpy ride, with a success level impossible to predict. But he’s good for American morale of the distinctly old-fashioned, blood-stirring sort. And, like chicken soup, that can’t hoit right now.
William Murchison is a corresponding editor of Chronicles and the author of The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson (ISI) and Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity. William Murchison, syndicated columnist and longtime commentator on religious, cultural, and political affairs, has contributed to many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and First Things.