Op-ed on Fox News by Kathy Barnette, a conservative political commentator and Army veteran who is homeschooling her two children. Follow her on Twitter @Kathy4Truth.
Much has changed since President Trump took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017. But one thing has remained constant – the anger and vitriol directed at the president from the left, many Democrats, many in the media, and even some folks who call themselves Republicans. Few presidents have been so demonized and denounced.
The president has been accused of being incompetent, a racist, mentally ill, senile and corrupt. Investigations of his alleged collusion with Russia to win the election go on and on and on with no end in sight.
The resistance to President Trump has gotten so hysterical that Jen Statsky, a writer and comedian who has written for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon;” Parks and Recreation” and “Broad City” even tweeted that “if you support Trump you should have your children taken away, etc etc.”
Now that we’ve arrived at the one-year mark of the Trump presidency, I’ve done some soul-searching regarding my support of the man elected by the American people to lead our nation. As a black woman, a mother and a veteran, am I doing the right thing to continue backing President Trump? Is he really as awful – even evil – as his critics claim? Are his ideas half-baked and dangerous? Is he harming the nation I love?
And what does my support for President Trump say about me? By backing a man so hated by some am I compromising my integrity and values? Can I be pro-Trump and still be a good person?
When I looked at the president’s policies and not just his tweets I decided that yes, I could be pro-Trump and still live my life with integrity.
Let me tell you why.
First, as a black woman, I believe President Trump’s overall impact on the black community has been positive.
Like many people who joined me in voting for Donald Trump in 2016, I’ve attended several of his campaign rallies. I have never been more warmly welcomed. My children had surrogate parents, uncles, aunts and cousins for a night, and were enveloped in the excitement and pride of being an American.
Beyond these personal anecdotes, however, are real markers that show President Trump’s impact on the black community. The December unemployment rate for black Americans fell to 6.8 percent – the lowest level in 45 years. That’s one full percentage point – meaning that roughly 480,000 more jobs are now held by black Americans. This is not just a statistic – it is about changed lives.
Additionally, the spread between black and white unemployment, measured as the black rate minus the white rate, fell to 3.1 percent, also the lowest on record. Would I like the black jobless rate to drop to the level of the white jobless rate? Of course I would! I have no doubt that President Obama wanted this as well. But under President Trump we are moving in the right direction, and I hope the unemployment gap between the races continues to shrink.
Couple this with the tax cuts signed into law by President Trump that are designed to incentivize companies to invest in the U.S., create more American jobs and lift stagnant wages; a booming stock market; and over a 100 companies giving bonuses and other benefits as a result of those tax cuts and widespread deregulation undertaken by the Trump administration.
All of this makes for a strong economy that is good for everyone. As one old saying goes, “you can’t have employees without employers” and as another saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Second, as a military veteran, I see that President Trump’s impact on veterans has been positive.
There are over 20 million veterans. Tragically, an average of 22 commit suicide every day. As a veteran, this horrible statistic is very painful for me. While we have done our fair share of haggling over health care and tax reform, the VA has not been stymied.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin has made important progress and managed to rise above the partisan divide. Veterans are getting their benefits faster. The backlog of veterans waiting more the 125 days to get a decision on their disability benefits has fallen from 611,000 to about 86,000.
The G.I. Bill has become the “Forever G.I. Bill,” allowing veterans to now pursue educational opportunities with government financial aid with no timing restrictions.
Furthermore, under President Trump, a new law now makes it possible to “drain” the VA of employees whose poor performance and mismanagement led to poor treatment of vets. The VA still has problems. But I see significant progress. These policies are good and are a reflection of decisive leadership.
Finally, as mother, I believe President Trump’s impact has been positive for my children.
National security matters just as much to me as making sure I lock every door before going to bed each night. As I demand to know who is entering my home, I think it’s only reasonable to demand that we know who is entering our country.
I’ve read President Trump’s 70-point immigration plan. As a mother, I do not understand what is so un-American about terminating the outdated catch-and-release of those who have been charged with a crime that resulted in the death of another person.
I’ve spoken to a mother who lost her only child in a fatal car accident involving an illegal immigrant who had prior drunk driving convictions. As a mother, I do not have a child to spare. So I feel no shame in supporting President Trump’s plan to expand the grounds on which an illegal immigrant can be deported to include those convicted of multiple drunk-driving offenses.
What is so wrong about making sure known gang members do not receive immigration benefits? Why should we financially support that? I believe each of the 70 points, including building a wall on our southern border, are reasonable and necessary. They are the first of many steps to Make America Safe Again.
Remember, we don’t lock our doors at night because we hate the people on the outside of our home. We lock our doors at night because we love the people on the inside of our home. To do anything less is to be derelict of our first duties – protecting the family and preserving our nation for the next generation.
Looking at all the above issues, I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, I can be a good person and support President Trump. Is he perfect? Am I happy about everything he says and tweets and does? Of course not – like all human beings, he has his flaws.
But elections are not about picking perfect people. They are about picking the best person running for an office to fill that office. And looking back at President Trump’s first year in office, I remain convinced that he was the better candidate for president in 2016.