Taylor Armerding

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

CNHI News Service

We have all now received extensive instructions about the “takeaways” from President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress.

They are predictably partisan. Many Republicans fell back on the old standby generally used after debates, that he “hit it out of the park.”

Democrats and their media cohorts mocked him for relying on the Teleprompter, which was flat-out funny after eight years singing the praises of President Obama’s Teleprompter-aided oratory.

They also said the speech, even if it was delivered in a more reasoned tone (a very low bar for Trump), was still filled with what they consider toxic, divisive policy proposals.

One takeaway I didn’t hear is that it was yet another demonstration that it is past time to retire the meme that all sensible Americans (those who didn’t vote for Trump) are “terrified” of his presidency.

Indeed, many of those who have reportedly run up their therapist bills because the new administration has traumatized them so deeply aren’t displaying any of the terror they claim to be feeling.

As Sonny Bunch, editor of the Washington Free Beacon, put it in a recent Twitter post: “Donald Trump is such a terrifying fascist dictator that literally no one fears speaking out against him on literally any platform.”

OK, those who are in the country illegally do have reason to be nervous. But if making people feel nervous about violating the law is evidence of dictatorship, then we’ve all been living in one for a very long time.

Indeed, in virtually all other countries of the world, U.S. citizens would have good reason to feel nervous if they were there illegally. Try going to Mexico, overstaying your visa and then claiming you shouldn’t be deported because its “immigration system is broken” or that you are a victim of racism and xenophobia.

But for anybody else to claim they’re afraid of Trump is beyond absurd. You can count the ways.

Start with the speech. When Trump declared that he had begun to “drain the swamp,” the Democratic side of the chamber erupted in derisive laughter. If they had done that in front of a real dictator, like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, they would all be headed for summary execution.

For some reason, none of them looked remotely fearful.

There was a social media meltdown over Trump’s remarks during the speech to Carryn Owens, widow of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was recently killed in a counterterrorism raid.

They contended that the president “used” her. Probably true. But nothing new – the Democratic National Committee “used” a Gold Star couple at its convention last summer in hopes of corralling the Muslim vote. In 2014, President Obama “used” an Army Ranger who had nearly been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

But again, the point is that there was no fear in their rage. Even though most people know their online activity can be tracked by law enforcement and intelligence services, nobody is worrying about a knock on their door from jack-booted Trump thugs.

Other examples go on – and on.

About a week earlier, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., declared in a TV interview, “(Trump’s cabinet) is a bunch of scumbags – that’s what they are – who are all organized around making money.”

This from an outspoken fan of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. She didn’t display any fear, either.

Shortly after the inauguration there was the “Women’s March” (although pro-life women were not welcome unless they remained “in the shadows,” you know, like “undocumented” immigrants) in hundreds of cities across the U.S. Millions sang, chanted, waved signs, listened to incendiary speeches, declared that Trump was “not my president” and replied to some of his crude remarks from years ago with even more crude insults.

All were within their rights. I defend free speech, including offensive speech, although much of it seemed a bit counter to the alleged slogan of Trump opponents that “love trumps hate.” Based on what I saw, the theme was “trump hate with more hate.” These were crowds that wouldn’t openly condone, but wouldn’t condemn, violence against Trump and his supporters because they would “deserve” it.

And, of course, none of them was the least bit afraid.

Then there are the media, supposedly in grave danger because Trump recently called them the “enemy of the American people.”

You wouldn’t know it from listening, reading and watching.

Multiple media outlets are still “fact-checking” Trump much more aggressively than they ever did Obama.

They are eagerly collaborating with the “deep state” – U.S. government spies who leak selective, carefully timed information to take out Trump cabinet officials. They did it to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Now they’re doing it to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Obviously, nobody’s afraid to leak classified information illegally to undermine the president.

Media star Jorge Ramos, senior anchor at Univision, declared recently that Trump and others don’t want him and other immigrants in the country – yet again seeking to conflate legal with illegal immigration.

“But you know what?” he said. “This is also our country … Our country, not theirs … and we are not going to leave ...”

So, in his view, the U.S. is not the country of Trump and his supporters. Which, if he had the power, would make him more of a dictator than Trump.

Clearly he’s not afraid.

Finally, both Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton referred multiple times to Republicans as their “enemies.” Obama called those who disagreed with him, “not who we are as Americans.”

Which made a lot of those people angry, but not afraid. The same is true here. So, enough with the claims that Trump haters are afraid of him.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

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