Conservatives seem to have forgotten that there is something out there to conserve.
The concept of a nation is not some grand abstraction. America is not an idea. America is a country, a people, built on sweat and blood with a distinct identity rooted in language, history, customs, traditions, religion, and morals. America faces a crisis. That which defines her is being systematically deconstructed.
The American people are being replaced courtesy of a porous southern border and a suicidal immigration policy which invites those who don’t share American values en masse. If conservatism wants to remain electorally relevant, this issue must be immediately addressed. A shared language — foundational to social harmony — is no longer a demand of society. American history has morphed from an experiment in self-government under God to a story of racism and bigotry. The pervading public opinion is that America’s customs are irrelevant, her religion arcane, and her morals obsolete.
Our greatness, we are told, lies not in what truly characterizes us as a country, but in our tolerance of the assault on these very things. We are great, not for our greatness, but for our passivity in asserting and defending that greatness. Not only must we let the defining aspects of our civilization die, we must drive home that sword ourselves.
Against 16 experienced competitors, Donald Trump mustered an unmatched Americanism. Boldly declaring “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo,” he promises to protect those sacred things which define America. He campaigned on a passionate belief in the inherent goodness of the American people, a recognition of America’s irrefutable beauty, and a desperation to conserve it.
Trump may not be a masterful rhetorician or an esteemed intellectual. Perhaps this is necessary: the prudential surrender from our detached “conservative” elite has continually failed the people. The typical conservative platform of worn-out platitudes is meaningless when Americans yearn for identity, when they see everyday the American spirit’s struggle to survive. This is why our next president can only be a tough-talking realist with a visceral dedication to the American soul, wholly devoted to the good of the people. It must be someone willing to fight fire with fire, resorting to the outrageous not for the sake of the outrageous, but because he knows exactly what is at stake, and what it will take to win. Trump’s very candidacy embodies the fiery spark left in our nation’s fight to survive.
Trump has shown his commitment to a government that serves “We the People.” While his opponent demands allegiance — “I’m with her” — he offers allegiance: “I’m with you, the American people.”
His “America first” approach reestablishes national sovereignty. Trump reminds us, “I am not running to be president of the world. I am running to be President of the United States.” His “law and order” platform addresses the most pressing fears of Americans, reaffirming the most fundamental role of government — the protection of its citizens. He is committed to slashing administrative overreach, cutting taxes and regulation, eliminating wasteful spending, repealing Obamacare, enhancing religious liberty, local control of education, sensible foreign alliances, gun rights, the pro-life movement, a secure border, and desperately needed immigration reform. And lest we forget, the Supreme Court hangs in the balance. Trump’s nominees have the opportunity to engrain conservative policy into our national fabric for decades to come.
If a “conservative” is a rigid ideologue spouting catchphrases about a supposed allegiance to the Constitution, then Trump is not the archetypical conservative. But, if a conservative is someone dedicated to conserving that which defines America, then Trump is conservative in a sense far above the weak-kneed excuse of “conservatism” today.
Keeping the status quo may prove Trump’s prediction true: “Four more years of this, and we may not have a country anymore.” America is not an undifferentiated multicultural blur. America is a country. And her current path can lead only to collapse; she will inevitably fall with a shudder, a ghostly outline, a mere shadow of her former self, the edges intact but the substance absent. We must heed Trump’s call to unite as “one people, under one God, embracing one American flag.” So let’s make America strong again, proud again, safe again. Let’s Make America Great Again.
Grisedale is a sophomore studying politics.