It’s hard to imagine any first-year American President having to cope with partisan trials such as Donald Trump was forced to endure in office during 2017.
Trump was sworn-in back in January as the first-ever President of the United States to not previously have been an elected politician or serve in the American military ranks.
The new President was under attack from the opposition Democratic Party and liberal-slanted media outlets from day one.
On the television airwaves, networks such as CNN and MSNBC, programs like “The View”, and talk hosts led by Jimmy Kimmel continually bashed the President and his ideas and programs. While these same outlets and individuals had treated the last Republican President, George W. Bush, in much the same way, they chose to take it to a new level with Trump.
Meanwhile the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren attacked Trump through their media friends as often as possible, and on every issue. Their hatred, and that is what it is, pure hatred, came largely due to their shock that Trump was in office at all.
They had collectively believed that their idol, the socialist-leaning Barack Obama, would be followed to the highest office in the land by Hillary Clinton. The first black POTUS to be followed by the first female President. Even more importantly to them, the liberal progressive agenda would continue on.
When it didn’t happen, the Dems and the media were legitimately shocked. They responded by lashing out in an open, obvious, childish tantrum never seen previously. It is a whining, crying, stomping feet tantrum that continues today.
Trump had established during his campaign in 2016 that he was never just going to sit back and take it from the media. He continued taking to Twitter to get out his message unfiltered. Often those messages were direct counter-attacks at the media.
The media had never experienced anything like it. They were used to controlling the message heard by the vast majority of Americans. Here was a President not only going around them to deliver his program and policy ideas, but also his personal thoughts on a wide range of issues.
Donald Trump is the first POTUS to make such aggressive use of social media to reach the masses. It has backfired on him occasionally. He has at times come across as petty and vindictive.
However, there is not doubt that he has also kept his base fired up. And there is no doubt that his Twitter account has been a major public relations and messaging tool.
Thanks to the President’s past as a businessman rather than a politician, he is beholden to far fewer special interests than normally chip away at the energy of other administrations.
His personal wealth allows him an independence of thought, speech, and action rarely seen in occupants of the Oval office. And his life experiences as a public figure for decades have left him unafraid of how he is perceived.
Because of the uniqueness of the man, he has won the year by successfully labeling as “fake news” that old school media. That the moniker has stuck is largely their own fault.
The media has often gotten away from its reporting responsibilities to actually become a second form of opposition. So instead of simply battling Democrats, the President has to battle an ego-shattered media.
However, defeating a biased media that has largely abandoned any expectations of impartiality in reporting is not the reason that he has been selected as the 2017 American of the Year. That’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really a minor factor.
There have been a series of big victories during this first year for President Trump that have led to his selection for the honor. In many ways, his has been one of the most effective freshman season’s in POTUS history. Let’s examine this substantive list of accomplishments.
We’ll begin from the end: the President was a pivotal voice in getting tax reform done for the first time in more than three decades. As Sarah Westwood and Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner stated:
“In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the landmark legislation cut individual rates for all income tax levels, doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, and dramatically increased the standard deduction.”
President Trump also began to change the face of the American judiciary, consistently and insistently pushing the courts toward the right with his nominations and appointments. This was led by the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the mold of his friend and idol, the late Antonin Scalia, to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The appointment of Justice Gorsuch, a dozen judges to the federal appeals courts, as well as a host of lower court appointments made and to come, will be a legacy that will positively effect the nation for decades after he leaves office. And again, that’s only year one.
All year long, Trump signed executive orders rolling back Obama-era regulations which had handcuffed the American economy. He had promised during the campaign to cut two regulations for any new regulation put in place. Here at year’s end, the administration has announced that it has saved billions by actually slicing 22 regulations for each new one.
Trump pushed for the FCC to end so-called “net neutrality”, withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and set aside policies aimed at normalizing relations with the dictatorial Cuban regime.
These were all in keeping with another of Trump’s campaign pledges: “America first.” Those Obama-era programs, policies, and deals were not good for America. We were always being asked to carry the burden for the rest of a world that often seems disinterested in changing to help themselves.
President Trump showed the leadership spine necessary to call out the international community, as well as to once again set free the vital communications and information services of the Internet.
In perhaps his boldest statement to that international community, the President finally did what numerous predecessors had promised but fell short in having the courage to actually deliver. I’m talking here about his public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In his statement announcing the move, the President also let it be known that he planned to have the United States embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:
“In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.”
Key themes during his campaign were tougher immigration policy, increased border security, and more aggressive action against criminal illegal immigrants. Check, check, and check.
President Trump immediately removed the handcuffs which had been placed on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by Obama. As reported by Avery Anapol at The Hill, this was made plain in a statement made by ICE director Thomas Homan in early December:
“This president has done more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for. Just since his leadership in January, border crossings are at a 45-year low. Now that’s not a coincidence. That’s because this president has let the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE do their job.”
The goal of radical Islam is nothing less than the establishment of a worldwide caliphate under Sharia law spread through jihad in its various forms. The U.S. military virtually dismantled ISIL (also known as ISIS) this year, largely thanks to greater freedom provided through President Trump’s leadership.
All year long, the President battled liberal judges on the federal bench over the issue of a travel ban aimed at restricting traffic into the U.S. from a number of Muslim-majority nations. Despite the best efforts of these jurists, a version of Trump’s ban is now in place. Per Mark Sherman of the AP through Fox News, the ban “applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.“
The President formed a lasting, positive relationship with a number of foreign leaders during the year. However, he also battled it out with a number as well, none more publicly and menacingly than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
In the administration’s list of foreign policy achievements for 2017, the actions against the North Koreans are front and center. They include designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, banning more than 90% of that country’s exports, and encouraging other nations to join with tougher actions, especially China.
During his first year in office, the President visited the Middle East and Europe, met with the Pope in Vatican City, and undertook the longest trip to Asia by any POTUS in the last quarter century.
Through his own statements and those of his appointed U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the President made it known that America would always act in its own self interests first.
The President is still fighting to get a full, secure wall built along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. But not waiting, his unleashing of the Border Patrol has resulted in the fewest attempted illegal crossings in decades. His newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, let it be known that going after the violent MS-13 gang was a top priority.
President Trump has delivered on many of his promises already, and it was only the first of at least four years. Shackles have been removed from both the economy and homeland security that will benefit all Americans. The courts are gradually returning to the Constitution. The world is learning that “America first” is real, not just a campaign slogan.
The President has accomplished all of these things with absolutely no help from that opposition Democratic Party. He has accomplished them despite mischaracterization and at times outright character assassination from leftist media.
For his accomplishments on behalf of the United States of America this year, President Donald J. Trump is selected as our 2017 American of the Year.
The following are the previous 11 honorees (there was no selection in 2014 or 2015 due to a temporary change in direction by the website):
2004 – Pat Tillman, 2005 – Bill O’Reilly, 2006 – Rev. Billy Graham, 2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy, 2008 – President George W. Bush, 2009 – Glenn Beck, 2010 – Senator Ron Paul, 2011 – U.S. Navy Seal Team 6, 2012 – Michael Phelps, 2013 – Senator Ted Cruz, 2016 – Kellyanne Conway
Articles written on these prior honorees can be viewed simply by clicking on the “American of the Year” tag following this article.
For two hundred and thirty years now, the United States of America has been a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. As we have grown up as a nation, that reputation has only grown greater, has only become more solidified.
When people in other countries dream of a better life for them and their families, it is America to which their dreams turn.
There are no hordes of protesters marching in the streets of Moscow, Beijing, Paris, Tokyo or Mexico City hoping to ease their process of becoming citizens in Russia, China, France, Japan or Mexico.
As Neil Diamond famously sang: “They’re comin’ to America!”
For all the negative blather you hear about America from our own liberal press, the foreign press, and the many citizens of foreign nations interviewed on those broadcasts and in their articles, it is America to which they come to escape oppression and infuse hope into their lives.
In our past, we have been an immigration nation. We were born and nurtured through our earliest years as a nation as immigrants from England to a new set of colonies and then a new free country, on what is now the American east coast.
We grew and thrived, spreading across the land from east to west, thanks in large part to massive immigration from other European nations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
We are an immigration nation at our very core. That is our heart and soul, the accumulated values and experiences of our individual forefathers and our families’ ethnic and racial heritage, combined with the melding into American customs, laws and values that have formed over the centuries.
As America has a heart and soul formed from its people, those many home-born and immigrant citizens, it also has a body. A very real and distinguishable body.
Setting aside Alaska and Hawaii, which pose their own individual circumstances, the recognized body of America is the contiguous forty-eight states, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and sharing a common border to the north with Canada and the south with Mexico.
For the better part of America’s life as a nation, we have done little of substance to control our intake of immigrants in number, little to ensure the continued quality of immigrants in maintaining basic assimilation qualifications, and little to control and secure those two massive borders.
The America of today has become fat and bloated due to laziness and a general lack of will power.
America has become the fat, balding, middle-aged man who wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, doesn’t like what he sees and says “Houston, we have a problem.”
Truth is, we have had this problem, or at least the root causes of the current problems, for the entirety of our existence. We have never properly organized American immigration policy, and we have never properly secured our borders. Not under Republican administration, or Democratic administrations. Not even under Whig administrations.
In times of war and in times of peace, in times of prosperity or times of despair. In all our combined national life, we have not addressed these issues, putting them off for another day.
That “another day” is upon us. The time to make real change is here, now. We are at a critical turning point in American history, and the decisions that we make in the next few months and years on the issues of border security and immigration reform will affect America’s very continued existence as a nation, certainly as an identifiable society.
There are many sides to the immigration issue. First, there are literally hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living and working in the United States today. Right now, as I type out this article, right now as you read it. It is reality, and it is a massive number that has become uncontrollable. And the problem gets larger and worse for every day that we do nothing to change.
There are many sides to the border issue. Thousands stream across the border with Mexico every single day. Some are Mexican citizens, and citizens of other South American countries, coming to seek a better life for their family. Some are simply seeking to milk our system for handouts.
Some, frankly, are terrorists seeking an easy way into our country, and then plotting to attack us from the inside when the time is right. That is reality as well, and the problem gets larger and worse for every day that we do nothing to change.
My proposals are many, large-scale, and expensive. They require construction, security, manpower, enforcement, follow-up and most of all willpower. They would require full documentation of every single illegal currently in the country, full control and security of our borders, and the ability to easily track and follow-up on every non-citizen that enters those borders.
First, I propose that we undertake two programs simultaneously, addressing each particular issue. Quick planning and construction of a full 2,000 mile barrier along our southern border with Mexico, and the immediate amnesty to all illegals currently in the country combined with their documentation and adherence to new procedures.
Let’s start with the border, because the failure of any nation to properly secure its borders is simply bordering on the insane.
Plans are already available that are feasible. Educated folks who have lived with the border issues in California, Arizona and Texas have already been down this road. Perhaps the best is a proposal for a full wall in many places, enhanced with fencing, ditches, security cameras, increased numbers of border patrol agents, and unmanned surveillance vehicles.
This plan, or one like it, should be approved in the next few months, adopted as necessary by serious leaders of both parties, and then fully constructed within the next few years. This is a goal that can easily be met with a full government commitment. It already has the support of a large majority of American citizens.
While the American Southern Border Project is underway, every resource possible should be in place to support the security of the border and of the construction project itself. Large increases in border patrol agents, modernization of the equipment they use, public and spirited support for entities such as the volunteer Minuteman Project. We can do a great deal more as the Southern Border is being constructed than we are today.
With the border better secured, we are at the same time getting our illegal immigration situation under control. Let’s not kid ourselves, or allow the liberal press to deflect our sensibilities away from the reality that there are two words involved here. Not just the word immigration, but also the word “illegal”.
It is a fact, the United States of America has laws regarding immigration, and these people have purposely and willfully broken those laws.
It is also a fact that the massive arrest, or deportation, or some combination involving hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants is an impossible situation to enforce effectively. What is needed is a system of amnesty, combined with penalties and enforcement measures.
In my proposal, amnesty does not mean outright forgiveness, citizenship, and a hearty “welcome to America”. I propose that we set a time limit, possibly by the end of calendar year 2006 for example. By the end of this time, every single individual in this country who is not a citizen and is not here by some other legal immigration measure must register with an agency to establish their legalization status.
This proposal would mean either creation of an agency to handle this registration, or the expansion of existing immigration personnel and systems. Individuals who register, supply valid proof of their identities, and agree to fully conform with American law into the future would be granted temporary guest worker status, and could get into line for full American citizenship, if that is what they ultimately wish to accomplish.
Any individual who can not properly document their identity to the satisfaction of immigration authorities would be deported, as would, of course, any individual who did not wish to conform to American laws.
Any individual after the cutoff date who is found to be illegal would be deported. Any repeat violators into the future would be charged and imprisoned here in America.
In family situations, the law needs to be changed to reflect that individuals born here to at least one American citizen parent are considered citizens, but that individuals born into a situation where neither parent is a legal American citizen are not granted citizenship.
In family situations, if the parents cannot or will not fulfill the requirements of the new amnesty program, then the entire family will be deported.
The United States of America did not create the problems of the world, and did not create the problems of every individual family, whether citizen or illegal immigrant. The United States government, and thus its tax-paying citizens, cannot be expected to support the bad, improper, illegal or irresponsible decisions of individuals and families within its borders and around the world.
What America does need to do is establish to the best extent possible an example of responsibility, and to setup a framework under which the exercise of that responsible citizenship can be affected.
Into the future, America also needs to educate the business community that the hiring of illegal workers will not be tolerated, and will result in massive fines and penalties against offending employers. This can be accomplished through spot checks and audits by government agencies already in existence.
In 1986, during the conservative Reagan administration, the country passed immigration reform laws that included amnesty programs, as well as sanctions against businesses that continued to employ and support illegals.
These measures proved to be of no value, as business owners then accepted flimsy, incomplete or outright fraudulent paperwork from their employers as proof of citizenship status and identification. There must be simple guidelines this time around that are easy to follow for any business owner, accompanied by strict penalties for non-compliance.
The bottom line is that we must identify every individual currently in the country illegally, give them an opportunity to come clean and get with the program, give business an opportunity to come clean and get on the right track, and effect harsh measures against any individual or business who then disregards these controls into the future.
As we move forward, America needs to make some real changes in our educational system. We need to finally establish, once and for all, that English is the official language of the United States of America, and must see to it that it is effectively taught to every school child across the country. The learning of practical, effective English should be one of the requirements for every single applicant for American citizenship.
Also, we need to more effectively and aggressively teach American history, civics, and law in our public school classrooms. The cultural rainbow that has been taught over the past few decades is fine, on an elective basis, and as a general minor part of any curriculum. But the support through the educational system of a solid American culture, formed over the century’s right here on our shores, needs to be first and foremost.
The failure over our nation’s history to properly secure our borders and the failure to come up with a workable, sustainable immigration policy go hand-in-hand in undermining long-term American values and society. They also contribute to violations of our national security in a time of war, when any number of enemies of our way of life has directly threatened us with annihilation.
America needs to move immediately to fully secure our borders, to fully document every non-citizen, and to require those who wish to join our American family to do so in an orderly and legal fashion. Only in this way can we secure the very benefits that these illegals come to America to obtain: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.