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How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This Is Good News for America
By Star Parker
With Richard Manning
Read by Alecia Hill
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Star Parker was among the many reeling and confused as Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. But, she argues, a silver lining to this outcome is the debate that has since ruled our media and private conversations.
The ongoing noise of debate can seem overwhelming, but our country needs the authentic and candid dialogue of its people. And Trump’s presidency provides us with an opportunity like never before to engage and work to preserve the values upon which America was built. Necessary Noise honestly examines the crossroads where we find ourselves and suggests ways of moving toward resolution and restoration. Tackling a wide range of topics on which citizens should get noisy–from immigration, to education, to abortion, to welfare–Necessary Noise provides the framework for how to take part in this important time in history using our voices.
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TWO QUESTIONS had been stirring within me prior to the election of Donald J. Trump about the state of our country. I’ve been wrestling with these two questions since I entered the political and public discussion world some twenty-five years ago. I’d been writing about and talking about issues surrounding these questions through more than a thousand nationally syndicated columns, four books, more than 250 college or university speeches, and countless television and radio appearances on shows from Oprah and The View to those featuring Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and James Dobson as well as C-SPAN. One deals with our culture, and one deals with our economy.
The first question was whether America’s culture war would turn into physical war. America had been at war with herself between the interests of the left and the interests of the right for the last fifty years. We had become a nation where politicians were passing laws to teach children and grandchildren values inconsistent with those of their parents. We had arrived at a place where judges were redefining truth and changing the culture by edict. This war was for the very heart and soul of our country and had been intensifying.
The second question was whether America would move away from its federal government intervening into every aspect of the economy so that innovation and individual initiative would be allowed to flourish. The great struggle we’ve been having between capitalism and socialism had been costly. We had reached a dangerous mass of special interests: they had too much stake in big government, whether they were employed by it, were collecting benefits from it, or were businesses getting favors from it. And the emotional and economic costs of government overreach were taking a toll on all of us as neighbors.
At the core of this were two questions: Would America be a society that is biblical and free? Or a society that is secular and statist?
Under normal circumstances, Americans would battle in the voting booth to elect our government bodies that determine our laws and set public policy regarding which direction our society would take. Once the voting was over, we’d settle into the results and prepare for the next election.
But this time the circumstances were not normal.
The presidential election of 2016 left many in our country reeling and dumbfounded with the outcome, which would inaugurate Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. I was one of those dealing with a mix of emotion—surprise, concern, uncertainty—about what his presidency would mean for our nation both in the short term and in the decades to come. But now that Donald Trump is well into his first term, I am more convinced than ever that his devout and initial supporters had it right and that he was the very president America needed to get our country back on course toward its founding principles.
Yet concerns prior to his election were also legitimate. How would this business leader with no prior governmental experience lead our nation? Could such a divisive campaign bring a divided country together and help it? How would his unrepented and immoral sexual background affect U.S. culture and expectations for its leadership?
After these visceral reactions that immediately followed the election, a realization hit me as I listened to President Trump’s first speech as the leader of our country: that there may have been a silver lining to his unexpected presidency. By the incredible increase of debate, confusion, and angst that occupied everything from TV news talk shows and radio airwaves to social media and private conversations, a door may have been opened wide for America to finally and meaningfully discuss her problems.
The noise of current debate can seem deafening and senseless, but just as a marriage counselor would advise that a healthy marriage demands open hearts and honest dialogue, so too our country needs the honest and candid dialogue of her people. Trump’s election provides us with an opportunity like never before to engage with each other in this way.
Living and working in Washington, D.C., I am only a six-block stroll from my apartment to my office. This walk takes me down what is called the “Lincoln Legacy,” where I pass Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was shot and the Petersen House where he died.
Since Trump’s election, every time I walk by these places, I think about the noise that led to the Civil War. There was a major question in the country at that time that needed to be addressed, and the nation could no longer continue to ignore it. I think about the intensity of the debate and the emotional investments on both sides of that culture war. The series of Lincoln–Douglas debates in 1858 clarified the sides and moved the nation to choose one. I marvel at how the Trump presidency has forced similar clarifications of the two sides and moved the needle for intense discussion to the front and center of our society. Yes, there is no need to deny that the election of President Donald Trump came with noise. America now had a president who understood that our nation was going in the wrong direction from her founding principles and that most Americans on the left scorn our founders. America now had a president who understood the dangers of multiculturalism, and his discussions about American exceptionalism were unnerving the diversity clan. America now had a president who understood the virtues of business and how excessive taxation and regulation stymied growth and stagnated the economy, which is antithetical to democratic socialists.
But I think the noise is necessary to make America wholesome and whole, and frankly I believe that the louder the noise gets, the better off we will be as Americans. As Lincoln pointed out in his famous House Divided Speech in 1858, our nation could no longer be half free and half slave; our nation would “become all one thing, or all the other,” but no longer could we be both.
I’ve written Necessary Noise so that:
1. You will better understand the greatest threats to America’s foundational values and prosperity;
2. You will better understand the unique ways Trump’s presidency is working to restore our culture and protect our future; and
3. You will be encouraged to join the debate and you will have more tools to engage in meaningful and rational discussions with others to broaden the expansion of thought.
In writing this book, I have taken a look at some of the data related to our current political and social environment to help us deal with the challenges and contentions that culminated in the election and inauguration of Donald Trump.
I hope you will read Necessary Noise with an open mind as I explore how the roller-coaster ride we’re on is not only aggressively noisy but uncomfortably necessary for cultural clarity and ultimately for our nation’s future.
I hope that you will trust me when I say the noise has purpose. That without the presidency of Donald Trump, our country would not be debating the hard issues we are forced to deal with now.
For the passionate Trump supporter, I hope Necessary Noise will move you beyond a purely reactionary position regarding the specific issue or two that motivated you to campaign hard for him to be elected and that you will be patient with others who may still not see what you see or know what you know. We didn’t get on the wrong course yesterday, so we cannot turn the ship around tomorrow. I thank God that you knew what you knew and saw what you saw before the Titanic hit the iceberg. For individuals still stunned by the Trump presidency, I hope Necessary Noise will help you understand how the frustrations of our country reached such a breaking point—particularly in the Midwest where most Americans in our smaller and heartland communities try every day to live by the rules and do right by their family and neighbors only to wake up one day furious that our nation had spiraled into debauchery, collectivism, and political correctness, and that far too many fellow Americans had devolved into moral relativism and government dependency. Perhaps upon reading this book you will indulge the unique opportunities that can result after a major argument for America to recapture its moral high ground both spiritually and economically through the disruptive Donald Trump. And for others, I think Necessary Noise will help you understand the why for Trump enthusiasm, whether you like it or not.
IT IS AS NOISY in Washington, D.C., as it is in the rest of our nation, where much debate is being had about who we are supposed to be as a country, how we got off track from our founding principles, and what can be done if anything to fix ourselves.
Upon the election of President Donald Trump, the five noisiest places inside the Beltway became the White House; Congress; the media; K Street, which headquarters many of D.C.’s most prestigious lobby firms; and the policy idea world, the world in which I work.
I knew it was getting really loud in the public square and that the noise would eventually spill into a possible reset for our society because as a social activist, media commentator, and syndicated columnist I had been noticing for years that people in the heartland of America were becoming extremely divided in their worldviews and that decent folks in our quiet communities were growing very nervous about our government being overrun with career legislators, lobbyists, and lawyers. The folks invested in the comfort zone of our country’s capital were very nervous when Trump won the election because he campaigned on a promise to drain the swamp. He ran on a promise to disrupt the status quo in Washington, D.C.
Over the past twenty years, lecture travels and my work through my organization, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a D.C.-based policy institute that addresses issues of culture, poverty, and race relations, have taken me to every state in the union. I’ve known and have been saying for years that we had reached a critical crossroads between the worldviews of the left and the right. The great divide between those who believed in limited government, individual merit, and biblical morality and those who believed in situational ethics, redistribution, and big government was diminishing our national morale and forcing our public square to become a battleground of constant conflict.
Many conservative social warriors, writers, and commentators had attempted to discuss with America that every institution ensuring an environment for self-governance—religion, family, education, commerce, and local governance—was under attack; or, as many liberals might describe it, was being transformed. But these warnings continued to fall upon deaf ears, and over time our U.S. Supreme Court moved into becoming the most powerful institution in our country.
When Mitt Romney ran for president against incumbent Barack Obama he stumbled into this cultural debate when caught on tape at a fundraiser in Florida saying that 47 percent of Americans were dependent on government and therefore he didn’t expect many votes from them. Romney was mocked in the media, with some pundits concluding that that comment cost Romney the presidency, but the point he was trying to make was accurate.
All social snapshots up until that moment were clear that not only was the large, chronically poor portion of our population dependent on government creating insurmountable problems in our most distressed communities, but there was compelling research that dependence on government influences cultural shifts toward secularism and socialism.
And we had been going off track toward the leftist utopia of a “transformed” America for a long time.
Our nation began with the foundation of eternal truths and personal responsibility, with governing principles rooted in biblical values, a limited role of government to simply protect individual initiative and interests, free and open markets for capitalism and profits, and “e pluribus unum,” or “out of many, one.”
America was the first such nation in the history of the world. For those who need a refresher course, the British preferred big government controls over the colonies of the New World; the people of the New World preferred freedom and fair taxation, so they rebelled; a war was fought; the Brits lost; and the United States was birthed. The founders of this new nation then drafted a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution, which embodied the four governing principles I listed above.
In the generations that followed, where there were errors made or actions that proved to oppose our founding principles, the American people self-corrected. In one instance, a civil war resulted. In another instance, America changed course regarding the civil rights movement and expounded its constitutional protections for blacks.
Forty-five years after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law and one year into the election of President Barack Obama, very different and difficult questions beyond race and racial atonement from America’s past began to surface. Many Americans both black and white had voted for Obama with hope that the race tensions in America would once again and forever be settled. After the very bloody and broad race riots of the late sixties, most Americans both white and black wanted a truce and some peace. Relationships across racial lines began to build slowly but strongly over the four decades that proceeded the civil rights movement. Yet while whites and blacks were learning to work together, play together, and live as neighbors, the country was starting to divide into red and blue states to reflect the worldviews of the two sides of the culture war. The abortion debate was raging with no end in sight, and taxes were rising more and more, with the burden falling more and more on the average family.
When candidate Obama ran on a message of hope and change, the majority of Americans both white and black got excited. A great recession as a result of a burst housing bubble and a prolonged war as a result of 9/11 had taken a toll, so his message rung into hurting hearts like Sunday morning church bells. Yet soon into the Obama presidency, the beautiful symphony turned into left-wing clanging, and our nation rapidly slid into race consciousness unseen since the era of Jim Crow ended.
In 2010, the heartland of America started asking itself what was happening. How did hard work and profit succumb to political whims of redistribution under the guise of social justice? How did Christ become the villain of civil society when it was this religious philosophy that ended slavery, polygamy, and caste systems by promoting messages of individual uniqueness, capacity, and brilliance?
As a Christian conservative observing the biblical mandate that a soft answer turns away wrath, I was a bit dismayed by the political groundswell that rallied Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, and I wrote about my concerns in a few of my weekly nationally syndicated columns. I was all in for Senator Ted Cruz throughout most of the primaries and heard loudly from Trump supporters every time I wrote about my support. At the point of the Billy Bush tapes, I went as far as to opine that he should move over for Mike Pence.
But as Trump had emerged as the nominee by berating and then beating all sixteen of his Republican opponents one by one and was now going to surf above the wave of such crass talk, I began to think that maybe Donald Trump was more than a reflection of America’s secular, sensational, and sassy side. Perhaps he was the big brother needed to rescue a marginalized, fearful, and weakened Christian church and community that was losing on every front of the culture war.
In fact, I concluded after he won and before his inauguration that his election was fulfillment of Proverbs 21:1, that the heart of man is in God’s hand and “like the rivers of water He turns it wherever He wishes.” That He determines: and in this case, God had chosen not only to exasperate and provoke but also to exacerbate and accelerate America’s culture war.
On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump came into Washington, D.C., raised his right hand, put his left hand on a Bible, and was sworn into the office of the President.
I was present on that day to experience him address the nation and the world as America’s newly elected forty-fifth president.
Here’s what he said:
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for 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.
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 American 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 the just and reasonable demands of 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 knowledge; and the crime and gangs and 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 nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent 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 disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire 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 moment on, it’s going to be 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 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 completely 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 are 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 let anyone tell you 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 our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It is 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 windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill 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, and 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.
The moment his inaugural speech concluded I felt fully confident that my instincts regarding his election were on point. I was fully persuaded that Donald Trump was a divine appointment and exactly what America needed to help fix her problems. I was deeply moved by his words, profoundly excited, and I was deeply energized that America had been extended providential mercy to course-correct toward her founding principles as a result of his presidency.
I predicted then, and it’s been confirmed during his term, that President Trump was elected to peel back the political correctness in politics and in the media that had either hidden or stifled all discussions about the unraveling of our common culture. Discussions about America—who we are now, who we should be, and why this clarity matters.
I’d known for thirty years that we were in a raging culture war against the heart and soul of our most core and fundamental principles, and, just as in the 1850s, bitter tensions were escalating. Our country was literally splitting in half. Yet very few in leadership would even talk about it.
That’s when I resolved to set aside any difference I may have had with the Trump persona, peculiarities, or temperament and do all I could within my sphere to help his administration be successful in every area of mutual agreement. In particular, fixing our inner cities, which cannot be done without addressing head-on my two questions on the culture war.
President Trump came into office with big bold promises. Immediately the venomous progressive political and media noise began.
The monsters of the swamp, so to speak, began to salivate and show fangs as a vicious serpent backed into a corner against a man ready to exercise his full intellectual and narcissistic capacity. Obama had a pen and a phone. Ha! Trump had attitude and Twitter.
The immediate noise of his opponents set the tone of intensity for the debates to come over some very serious questions, so I expected that things would get contentious, much more forceful, and much noisier. And they have.
Part of the tension is because America has been at a cultural crossroads with lots of fighting over whether her public square would be biblical and free or secular and statist.
I think our country broke down because our culture broke down, and our culture broke down because our classrooms broke down. Our classrooms broke down because our courts are broken, and our courts are broken because our Congress is no longer of, for, nor by the people but have become creatures of a swamp—swamp creatures who act as though they believe they are almighty and untouchable.
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