On July 3, President Trump delivered at Mount Rushmore what was arguably his best speech as President. It hit many bases, but primarily its thrust was to rally our country in defense of its founding principles that are under unprecedented and radically intensive attack. Highlights included reminding us of the central idea of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal” and that “these immortal words set in motion the unstoppable march of freedom” that included such monumental achievements as the abolition of slavery 89 years later. This is a point on which iconic black leaders Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, both of whom he cited, would have agreed, in spite of the remaining work to be done in fulfillment of the “promissory note” of the Founders. And I believe that were they still with us they would also have agreed with the strongest passage in the speech: “No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the United States of America. And no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation”.
In the spirit of this speech I was reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses, from 2 Corinthians 4:18,–“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”–and of a speech by President Calvin Coolidge, in which he said: “In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man–these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish”.
This is the spirit and essence of American exceptionalism and the American people need to hear and be reminded of these sentiments much more often.