With the man who coined the term looking on over his shoulder in granite visage, Donald Trump used the presidential "bully pulpit" last Friday to mark both the anniversary of the country's birth and the current state of things in which the country finds itself.
The speech was given at Mount Rushmore, the South Dakota site where the faces of former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, who came up with "bully pulpit," are carved on the side of a Black Hills outcropping.
Because of their hatred for the man who delivered it, left-wing media immediately branded the speech as dark and divisive.
But was it, or was it merely accurate?
In psychology, the term "projection" is defined as a defense mechanism in which someone denies impulses or qualities in themselves and attributes them to someone else.
This is where the country's left is right now. Its adherents don't want to see the violent crime — including the killing of children — in its cities. They don't want to ascribe the pulling down of statues and monuments of American heroes to their followers. They don't want to blame a rise in COVID-19 virus cases among the young to protesters for their causes.
So when Trump holds up a mirror to their actions, they project the blame on him.
"Our nation," he said, "is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children."
And they did a better job of proving him right over the July 4th weekend than he ever could.
Wipe out our history, Trump said.
Vandals on the night of July 4 tore down a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. Another abolitionist was toppled last month in Madison, Wisconsin. Confederate likenesses have fallen like flies, leaving history to stand like a half-completed novel.
Defame our heroes, Trump said.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that "we should listen to the argument for removing George Washington statues" because the president of the United States owned slaves before his death nearly 221 years ago. Others haven't been so timid, saying all monuments to Washington and Jefferson — another slave owner before his death nearly 200 years ago— should be hauled down.
Erase our values, Trump said.
As the Black Lives Matter organization becomes more of a political force in the country, its tenets are also becoming better known. One of them suggests nothing less than the disruption of "the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure" in favor of the Marxist ideal that we support "each other as extended families and 'villages' that collectively care for one another."
Indoctrinate our children, Trump said.
The historically inaccurate New York Times 1619 Project, in which the country's capitalism system is said to be racist to the core, is being taught to tens of thousands of children of public schools, community college and universities.
The president's critics would have you believe his was a "white supremacist" speech or that he was stoking the culture wars. But he is more accurately trying to give the country advice like the father imploring his son to stop the risky behaviors that threaten to ruin him.
"Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity," Trump said, "so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America's destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America."
This is exactly what many Americans, who wake each day, do their jobs and treat all they come in contact with the same, are feeling today. They see largely a rich country, a good country, a generous country, a country that has seen the errors of its ways and righted its wrongs.
They can't wrap their minds around the hate shown to police who protect them daily. They don't understand how a once neutral national media has become all one-sided opinion. They can't grasp graffiti on private buildings, mask-less protesters spreading the virus or people having to defend something they said or wrote decades ago while others who offended in the same era are given a pass.
And they don't have to be a fan of Trump to acknowledge the truth of what he said.
But, as with speeches emblematic of July 4th, the president also waxed patriotically, and hopefully, in trying to exhort the country to listen to its better angels.
"It is time to plant our flag," Trump said, "and protect the greatest of this nation, for citizens of every race, in every city, and every part of this glorious land. ... [W]e will show that the story of America unites us, inspires us, includes us all, and makes everyone free. ... [O]ur children, from every community, must be taught that to be American is to inherit the spirit of the most adventurous and confident people ever to walk the face of the Earth...
"They will know that in America, you can do anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything."
That's the America we should all want and work to make happen.