Here is the text of Ralph Bristol’s speech delivered at the Spirit of America rally held in Nashville on Saturday, March 4.
Ralph is the host of Nashville’s Morning News, heard from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays on 99.7 FM, WWTN.
A GOOD HEART
By Ralph Bristol
President Trump’s detractors in the media, the Democratic Party, and organized activists groups, who oppose him on immigration, including refugee issues, have produced an endless stream of protests, challenging the president’s heart.
But they don’t just question Trump’s heart. They question the hearts beating inside this crowd gathered here today.
So, at the risk of being rude to those who came to hear me, and others, speak, I don’t want to speak to you. I want to speak about you.
I want to speak directly to President Trump’s detractors in the media and on the other side of various issues, who accuse Trump of being a religious bigot, a xenophobe, a fascist and a racist, to name just a few of the epithets doled out like song sheets at choir practice, and who compare his rhetoric to a dog whistle appealing only to the most deplorable among us.
I don’t doubt that some of the things Trump has said, especially compared to the standard politically correct political rhetoric, probably does appeal to some of the worst among us. All public figures have fans we’d rather not claim, and Trump has more fans than most of the rest of us put together.
But, you can’t judge a crowd by the rogue few that hide among them.
I don’t judge all Muslims by the Islamic Jihadists who high among them, but I do recognize the unique security problem posed by a mass immigration of tens of thousands of migrants, including refugees, every year, from Muslim countries that have been declared by the Obama Administration as hotbeds for terror and terror planning activity.
And we don’t have to guess whether our screening procedures are adequate to keep Islamic Jihadists from using that migration as a herd of Trojan Horses.
A few such immigrants and refugees have committed acts of terror in the recent past, and the FBI is closely monitoring hundreds of others suspected of supporting ISIS and other terror organizations, and possibly planning more attacks in the U.S.
It is rational fear – not a phobia. It is supported by the facts and by the declaration of the past president and Congress. Why would any honest, critical eye mistake the support for Trump on this issue to be a case of religious bigotry or xenophobia?
We also don’t judge all immigrants the same as we do illegal immigrants, and we believe it’s dishonest to protect illegal immigrants by granting them the moral equivalency of those who migrated legally to the United States. We don’t believe illegal immigrants from Mexico or any other country occupy the same moral ground as legal immigrants from Mexico or any other country.
Maybe to some, including many in the middle of the political spectrum, our borders and our laws that control them hold no moral value, but to some, still tutored by the spirit of ancestors who spilled blood on, and for, American soil, independence, and sovereignty, it does.
And it doesn’t take a racist to object to people who are living in the country illegally taking jobs, including some traditional middle class jobs in construction and manufacturing, for low wages, and creating a labor imbalance that drives down wages and keeps millions of Americans from being able to provide for their families.
That’s not racism – and it’s wrong for the media and the loyal opposition to paint it as such.
I know the hearts in this crowd as well as anyone in Middle Tennessee, and they are not filled with hate for their fellow man or woman, no matter what race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation.
I’ve spent the last 10 years with the people in this crowd, speaking with them on the radio for four hours a day, five days a week, rallying with them at public events such as this, getting to know some of them personally, and getting to know the hearts and minds of the group as well as anyone can, and a lot better than the people who judge President Trump, and by extension, this crowd, and half of the country, as racists and fascists.
There is no hate in our positions that would deport illegal immigrants and build a wall to keep others out. There is no hate in our position in support of emergency policies that restrict or stop immigration from fewer than 20 percent of the mostly Muslim nations.
There is fear. We admit that, or at least I do.
I do fear, not only for the lives of Americans, including our own children, but for the effect that Islamic Jihadist terrorism might have on our freedoms, including our freedom to assemble here today, and your freedom to assemble elsewhere to protest the policies we support – and – just an aside – to protect ourselves from any intruders who don’t respect that freedom.
Only a fool feels no fear. A courageous man confronts it. A wise man prepares to defeat the source of that fear.
Some of our opponents have manufactured the charge of hate, without evidence, just as some trial lawyers attack the reputation of the victim to make up for the lack of evidence to support his case.
Others don’t challenge the charge because believing it benefits their political position.
To those who cling to the belief in the darkness of the opposition’s heart, I’m going to give you something you never give us – the benefit of the doubt.
I’m not sure you can help it. This may sound a bit far-fetched at first, but bear with me.
A couple a weeks ago, a University of Southern California researcher released a study he conducted on 40 people – these 40 happened to be liberals – he plans to try the same experiment on conservatives. Stay tuned.
He hooked them up to MRIs and presented arguments against their political positions. The MRI showed, on all the subjects, the part of the brain that controls “emotional identity” shut down to protect that emotional identity.
He literally found that liberal brains shut out opposing arguments because those arguments threatened their emotional identity.
And, one might naturally assume, that since this is a defensive move, the brain also causes the mouth to say some things designed to shut out the argument – things that are aimed directly at the hearts of the opponents – like calling us fascists, racists, xenophobes, etc.
I’m going to give the media and the rest of President Trump’s most hateful detractors the benefit of the doubt.
I’m going to assume their misinformation campaign that challenges others’ good will is an automatic reflex that they can’t control, and their hateful language is a defensive mechanism triggered by that automatic reflex which they thought was a threat to their emotional identity.
Many of the president’s detractors suggest that imposing any hardship on people from other countries seeking American protection and prosperity is heartless, and suggests some form of bigotry. Either we don’t acknowledge we’re imposing a hardship on them – or we don’t care!
We realize some of President Trump’s policies will create hardships and require sacrifices by some innocent people, including some foreigners in dire need of a safe place to live. And we care.
America is no stranger to hardship and sacrifice. We are the product of hardship and sacrifice.
Our ancestors sacrificed as much as any people in history – in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, The Great Depression, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again.
All of these great trials featured unimaginable sacrifice by American citizens, starting but not ending with our forefathers and mothers.
We know the pain and hardship of sacrifice in the name of freedom, independence – and sovereignty. We don’t just know it – we revere it.
We demand no sacrifice from people of other lands as great as the sacrifice that stains our own history, and our contemporary front pages, with countless gallons of blood, sweat and tears.
Asking to be Americans or even enjoy the warmth of American soil without offering sacrifice for that right or privilege is frankly, ungrateful.
We don’t want to keep the American dream from anyone. We want to spread it to all of the rest of the world. Some people hate us for that. Other’s want it so badly they are willing to die for it, steal it, or demand it as some kind of human entitlement.
While our ancestors were creating, expanding and defending that American dream including American soil, they made some choices and committed some uncivilized acts common to any fledgling civilization – because we were not fully civilized.
And maybe we’re still not – but we have, with each passing generation, atoned for those sins in word and deed, and have nothing to apologize for in protecting the fruits of that history of sacrifice, sin, atonement, and enlightenment.
We can’t keep the flame of liberty, independence and sovereignty alive without making hard choices, informed by history — softened somewhat by moral enlightenment, but hard choices still, including the occasional choice to restrict the flow of immigration into this country from lands and populations infested with cancer of terrorism as an instrument of political influence.
Further, we can’t keep the American dream alive if we don’t protect the promise of increasing prosperity for the American middle class.
Many in this audience have experience with enough generations to know that the American dream has long included the promise from each struggling parent that our sacrifice will mean an easier, better life for you, my son or daughter.
When so many in today’s middle class no longer believe that promise, we have to shore up that promise.
It is rational, not racist, to believe that the existence of 12-million illegal immigrants, including a labor force equal to at least half that, willing to fill middle-class jobs for less than traditional middle-class wages, because they are accustomed to much less than the American dream, might drive down middle-class income to a point it breaks the American promise for millions of American citizens.
Objecting to that is not racism. That’s self-preservation, the most natural thing in the world. If wouldn’t matter whether the immigrants perceived to be creating these national security and economic threats to the American promise were coming from Syria and Mexico or Ireland and Canada, they would trigger the same resistance, and when the threat reaches a critical mass, the people, in a democratic society, are likely to elect, as their leader, someone willing to lead that resistance.
That’s what the people in this audience did. They elected Donald Trump because he respected their resistance to policies that threaten the American promise, funded by generations of unspeakable sacrifice – the promise of freedom, independence, sovereignty, and expanding prosperity.
I say to the liberal intelligentsia – to the media – and to the loyal opposition – look at this crowd and see the Spirit of America.
Hear the Spirit of America.
Feel the Spirit of America.
This is not a hateful spirit. This spirit is so full of love that we venerate the hearts and brains that created it, the blood, sweat and tears that defended it, and even the rights of the people who misunderstand it.
But we will always defend it, in any way we have to.
We expect to be judged harshly, on occasion, because we have to make hard decisions. But this heart – the heart that beats inside this crowd – is a good heart – and one day you will be embarrassed that you didn’t know that earlier. And because this heart is a good heart, we will forgive you then.
God, thank you for blessing the United States of America with the good heart in this crowd.