It was a clarion call to his supporters and a hard slap in the face to his adversaries—the latter being gathered just a few feet behind him as he delivered his Inaugural Address.  Donald J. Trump never minces words, and on January 20 he showed that he isn’t about to start, now that he’s President of these United States.  After going through the preliminaries, he lashed out at the enemy:

Today . . . we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

You could almost hear the intake of breath as Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the other assembled mandarins braced themselves for the onslaught they sensed was coming.  And boy, did it come—in spades:

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.  Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.  Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.  The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.  Their victories have not been your victories.  Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.  And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you.

Trump declared war on the Imperial City—on the parasites who feed at the public trough, on the warmongers who delight in their power to fell nations, on the entrenched bureaucracy that will fight him every step of the way.  No, I wasn’t there, but I could almost feel the penumbra of fear rising like fog after a rain, and indeed it was raining as Trump dashed the Establishment’s hope that he’d be tamed by the office he had won so handily.  This lion isn’t about to be domesticated into a tabby cat, and he let them know it as he roared against Washington’s culture of entitlement.

That culture was made possible not just by the Democrats but by the absence of opposition from Republicans and Conservatism, Inc.  The fear that rose up as Trump threw down the gauntlet was strongest from the gathered ranks of Republicans who had opposed him from the beginning, who loathed him and sought to undermine him even as he strode to victory.  For Trump, it was payback time:

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017[,] will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.  You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

A movement, not a party.  Or, perhaps, as Charles Krauthammer later remarked, a rising third party that has captured the White House for the first time in our history.  There are now three parties in this country: the Democrats, the Republicans, and the Party of Trump.  The Trumpian insurgency, like all revolutionary movements, challenges not only the policies but the very structure that defines and regulates our politics.  Unlike the revolutionary movements of the past, however, it did not sputter and die out, absorbed by the “major” parties and rendered harmless.  Today, Trumpism has the power, and the President made very clear that, starting on Day One, the old order is finished.

That order is a scene of desolation that the media denounced as “dark,” because they live in a bubble where they never have to see the

rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

This American carnage is a phrase that fits our present condition to a T.  So how will he clean up the carnage?  First, by identifying its source:

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.  We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.  And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.  We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

This is the essence of Trumpism: The empire has drained us of our vitality as well as our tax dollars.  As Trump put it: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.”

Trump’s nationalism—and the fact that it won him the White House—is what has our transnational elites in a panic.  When he stood before the South Carolina GOP, assembled for the primary debate, and said that George W. Bush had lied us into the Iraq war, a war that should never have been fought, the elites knew their enemy had risen to challenge them—and they pulled out all the stops to defeat him.  And now that he sits in the Oval Office, they’re screaming bloody murder; they know their time is up.

The American Empire is a peculiar imperium; everything goes out, and nothing comes in.  It is an albatross hung around our necks, one put there by a globalist elite that cares not one whit for the pain of ordinary Americans who must pay for the elite’s boundless conceit, in treasure and often with their lives.  Ah, “but that is the past,” says Trump, “and now we are looking only to the future.”

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s laying down the law that will govern the land henceforth:

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.  From this moment on, it’s going to be only America first, America first.  Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

In breaking the chains of empire, Trump is doing what I thought was nearly impossible: He’s turning America into a normal country again.