The first clear turn signal was the Inauguration speech. It was concise, incisive, blunt and uncompromising. No more blah-blah and calculated pampering, national self-derision or happy talk for the sake of media approval. No more pretending personal differences and sincere opinions were bad, individual character and national sacrifice irrelevant, honor and history no longer material.
To those who wished America would again be proud of who we are, the speech affirmed that long tunnels do end and light does exist, even after years of economic and moral malaise, even with security threats mounting and international respect declining. The future is what we make it; it should be an extension of our proud past, not a departure from it.
Then came the disciplined and bipartisan State of the Union speech. Those clad in white on the Left, who dared not clap or stand, could barely believe their ears. The president was compelling, honest, and inclusive. He spoke to all Americans, not just supporters. He validated them, offered answers, summoned higher angels. The Left was confused.