When I was little I was a rather delicate child, the type of kid who rarely found myself in trouble. Honestly, you could look at me sideways and I’d repent of any wrong doing. I’d lose sleep if I knew I had misbehaved, and I’d run to my Mom and admit my minor wrongs with the enthusiasm of a murderer receiving their last confession. My Mom, knowing how little was required to bring about better behavior in me, would often keep it simple; “Admit you were wrong,” she’d say. “Give your apologies, learn from your mistakes, and do better.”
It’s a simple concept really, yet many find it to be increasingly difficult in the world of politics. Unless, of course, you’re Leslie Knope.
It’s a rare gem – worthy of news – to hear the words “I was wrong, please forgive me” from a politician. However, I believe it is exactly what we need. While this post will garner very little attention compared to most, and it’s doubtful that anyone who needs to heed its advice will actually read it, here goes.
It’s another week, and we have – once again – been presented with another pile of corrosive nonsense from the presumed Republican nominee. In addition to the increased ammunition against what must be the most bulletproof campaign in United States History, we’ve been presented with more politicians who are actually attempting to chastise Trump for his depraved ideals and tactics, while also continuing to pledge their support to him.
A few highlights:
Over the weekend, Donald Trump doubled down on claiming an Indiana native of Mexican descent is unfit to preside over the Trump University fraud trial. He also added to the claim, telling the news media that a muslim judge would also be unfit to hear a case involving Trump. Never mind the legal precedent Trump is gunning for — that one can insult a judge, a race, or ethnicity, and then preclude a judge from overseeing a case — the real issue here is racism. Donald Trump contends that based solely on someone’s ethnicity, race, or religion that person is unfit to do their job. This is the man the Party of Lincoln is running for President.
As Erick Erickson (yes, I’ve taken issue with him in the past) so eloquently said at the end of the above article, “A Republican Party that abandons its principles and refuses to call out racism in the name of winning the White House will not win the White House and will lose everything along the way.”
And of course, Trump added fuel to the fire:
On Monday, Trump told high-profile supporters in a conference call to start attacking the media for asking questions about the Trump University lawsuit, Bloomberg Politics reports. Trump has said the judge in the case, an Indiana-born man of Mexican heritage, can’t be impartial in the case because Trump wants to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Paul Ryan denounced such racist rhetoric from the GOP candidate, but STILL stood by his endorsement:
“I don’t know what’s in his heart but I think the comment itself is defined [as textbook racism]. I’m not going to defend these kind of comments, because they’re indefensible. I’m going to defend our ideas,” he continued. “If we go into the fall as a divided party, we are doomed to lose.”
Marco Rubio then chastised Donald Trump, as well:
“I don’t think it reflects well in the Republican Party. I don’t think it reflects wells on us as a nation. There shouldn’t be any sort of ethnicity or religious or racial test for what kind of judges should hear what kind of cases…it’s wrong and I hope he stops.”
Aaaaaand, Rubio then reaffirmed that he still plans to vote for the man he deems unfit in November. Quite honestly, this is a trend. It’s a bad trend – like scrunchies, baggy pants, artificial sweeteners, and Nickelback – but it’s a trend nonetheless.
Honestly, by the time I publish this post, we’ll probably have yet another piece of evidence against the man who won the nomination, and yet another “sensible” politician saying, “Well, he’s one of the most horrible human being to crawl out of the bowels of society, but he’s got my vote!” Of course we’ll have another barrage of excuses from individuals who have convinced themselves that capitulating is brave.
The politicians playing this card have persuaded themselves, and their followers, into believing that if they speak out against his statements, they’ve somehow completed a noble act.
Acknowledging how abominable he is might actually be worse, because if he makes it into power and innocent people are hurt, or if he gets us into a war, or goes after the Constitution as his actions thus far have suggested he will, etc., we have them on record admitting to the fact that they saw all of the warning signs and yet still gave him their support. We have some of them on record saying that he must be stopped for the sake of our country, and then later using the pathetic excuse of a pledge to justify handing over the reins to a psychopath. They will have become, in essence, the guy who picks up a hitchhiker and promises him a ride home, only to later discover that he intends to butcher his entire family when he gets him to his destination, and still drives him home because, “Well, I promised him.”
Last week I gave my argument (here) as to why Trump is not a good choice merely because Hillary is a bad choice. The idea that Trump can “be controlled,” as many of these Republicans have used as an excuse, is, quite simply, an unquestionably fragile argument with little support and rationale. The only promise with Trump is that his opinions on issues are ever changing, but the way in which he goes about his business is immutable.
The article points out how swiftly the romanticized prose of nationalist rhetoric, mixed with the angry – yet unguarded -conscience of the general public, can eat a country alive. Men of such pedigree are not controlled, nor do they change; similar to how the freshly stung toad muttered “why?” as they both sank to their death midstream, and the scorpion calmly replied, “It’s my nature…”
For starters, this man already has a foundation of policies made of liberal ideology that has been candy coated with racist rhetoric, and everyday he takes another step closer to the left. Controllable? In January of 2017, he won’t just be working with the right side of the aisle, he’ll be working with the left, as well. Me thinks they’ll like his opinions on socialist healthcare more than the right will, but he’ll also have the support of the vehemently dedicated Republicans who are currently leaching off of his stardom. In short, he could – potentially – face less resistance than Hillary. And the issues that require extremely limited filtering through legislative branches (his adoration of war crimes, abandoning our allies, relationship issues with world leaders, etc…), are the issues where Trump is more dangerous than Hillary. Those are the type of issues that start wars, destroy countries, and irreparably harm our armed services and reputation forever.
This “control” that many of these politicians speak of is about as viable as my plans to tame a wild unicorn and ride it to work on a highway of rainbows. We have no idea which Trump we’ll be getting as President. Will it be the guy who suddenly loves guns, or the guy who wrote that “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” in The America We Deserve? Or, will it be the guy who agreed with President Obama when he used the loss of innocent children to spark a gun-control debate?
Yet the NRA, an organization I’ve frequently praised, has proudly endorsed this man very early on, despite the fact that Bush, Romney, and McCain all earned their NRA endorsements less than a month before the November elections took place. So the NRA was not “pushed” into voting for this man, they rushed to him with arms wide open. My brilliant Collision Blog partner in crime wrote the following after an encounter with an NRA representative last weekend:
So I went to the NRA booth yesterday and had a friendly debate with the young man running the booth. I suppose that he supposed that I would be either simply curious as to the ways of the NRA, or on board with their recent Trump endorsement.
“So, what do you think of the Trump endorsement,” he asked.
“I hate it.” I replied simply.
Awkward and long silence, but his move so… casually glancing over bumper stickers and various pamphlets. “Well,” he said finally, “we had to do it.”
“Well,” I replied, “By ‘hate it’ I don’t mean ‘reluctantly.’ I mean I think it is a dumb, wrong, and dangerous move.”
This clearly caught him unaware but he was not without a glint in his eye. Clearly this was the argument he was waiting for. Oh to convince a #nevertrump the error of his ways! “I’ll assume you’re not voting for Hillary.” I nod. “So if you could vote for anybody, who would it be if not Trump?”
“Sasse.” I said simply. “But since he’s not on the ballot, and French has absolutely no chance, I would say Johnson.”
“Good!” he exclaimed. “He’d be my guy too except for one thing…”
“I know.” I said, thumbing through the leaflets, “But here’s the rub; the one thing for you is not the one thing for me. Barring a miraculous social media marvel coming through as a viable candidate, he will be my guy. Despite what some would consider some very fringe stances, he’s got to be the guy. His fringes can’t even be compared to the tattered edges of the other two.”
“But don’t you see that as a vote for Hillary?”
“Wouldn’t the other side see it as a vote for Trump?”
“I get where you’re coming from but with the vacant court position and the inevitable future vacancies, how can we do any different?”
“Do you know where he got those names from and that he also, the very next day – heck, I’m not sure… may have been the same day – said that those are just some possible names? It wouldn’t have to be any of them. Those names were fed to him! And you, you are here volunteering for the NRA. Do you know why the NRA endorsed Trump, a man with a history of believing in limiting the 2nd amendment? Because Trump came to the NRA and asked them, ‘what do I need to say to get you guys to endorse me?’ And he proceeded to say exactly what the told him he would have to say to get their endorsement!”
“But with him we at least aren’t sure he’ll be uncontrollable and radical! We know what we’ll get with Hillary! Do you really think we can survive 4 years of Hillary?”
“I think even if we survive 4 years of Trump that the next dozen or more years will be progressive nightmares beyond anything we’ve seen before now AND that the ‘conservative party’ having been content to put forth Trump will be in no state of mind to try anything different. It’s a sure formula for sure destruction! You say you don’t know what we’ll get with Trump? If… IF he doesn’t do what history has said he does, and that is exactly what he thinks is best and nobody can tell him otherwise, even if he is manageable and controllable and doesn’t start a trade war, doesn’t try to forcibly round up millions of residents – some legal some not, doesn’t limit the first amendment so he can sue the press (a very Russionesque move, by the way), doesn’t limit property rights forcibly to build his impossible wall… even if he doesn’t do this and/or myriad other ridiculous things he’s proven he’s in favor of.. even IF, we’re still screwed in four years, AND from there there’s no way out! We have GOT to be looking down the road!”
“You think we can survive 4 years of Hillary? I know we can survive 4 years of Trump!”
“But what will compel us to choose differently, even if we do survive! The only thing that can come of this is a reset in the conservative thought process. If he wins, we lose. We spent the last 7 plus years complaining about kicking this years problems, the budget, the deficit, down the road to our kids and grandkids. That’s what this is! Trump is poison. And if you guys insist on pushing him as the best option using money that I’ve sent you for dues, then I have no choice but to pull my support. And to encourage my friends to do the same.”
“Who else is fighting for your gun rights!?!”
“Oh, I get that you guys are a single issue organization. What you need to get is that your supporters are not.”
“Well, I get it. But we feel that there is no other option.”
“Than to push the guy that can end America? See, if that happens, then there’s no need to worry about gun rights. It’s the things that Trump can do impulsively that make him more dangerous than Hillary. Your worry about a SCOTUS appointee? That’s gotta be approved! Pro life? Neither pick is better. Impulsive executive action? Trump by a landslide is the worse choice. I know you’re not the guy that needs to hear this, but you just gotta know, you’re making the wrong move.”
“Well, that’s your opinion. I mean, like I said, I’d be a Johnson guy except for one thing…”
“I know. I remember.”
Gadsden flag with the words “Don’t tread on my gun rights” and “vote freedom first” sponsored by the NRA.
I changed my mind. I was feeling compelled to continue my membership with the NRA because who else, talking about major players, is going to bat on a regular basis for our gun rights? But if they are using my donation to endorse a candidate that I refuse to vote for due to the danger he represents to the republic, and by progression the 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 1st amendments, then what business do I have continuing my support?
None. The answer is none.
It was probably the Gadsden flag that did it for me. “Don’t tread on me.” changed to “my gun rights” as if the liberties are separable.
It’s not always all or nothing. But in this case it is. Because Trump. Not because us.
The NRA will lose supporters, as they should.
The GOP will lose supporters, as they should.
Each politician who has endorsed, supported, and pledged their vote to Donald Trump will lose supporters. As. They. Should.
I know that such men and women have been put in a difficult situation, but we elected them – chose them and trusted them – to handle such difficult situations that lesser men couldn’t handle. JFK once said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.” This is not the typical party battle, this is life or death for the only movement that stands between liberty and out of control government, as Brittany Pounders noted so well here,
This election is like none other. It will go down in the history books as a race for two destructive, ego-driven, and dangerous candidates. For those of us who left our blood, sweat, and tears on the battlefield during the primary to stop Trump and deliver a candidate worthy of taking down a Hillary presidency—the race is over and we won’t be contributing to either of these great debacles.
The question for each of you remains…. Which side of history do you want to be on?
I’m encouraged by the brave move to come out against Trump by men such as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Mark Kirk, Ben Sasse, and a handful of others. What they have done is commendable, and despite the rantings of those grasping for excuses, such men have just as much to lose. Those siding with Trump have sent a message of acceptance to the vitriolic masses in our country, and such an act – if permanently upheld – is reprehensible.
Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their colleagues will no longer deserve to be leaders of their party, or of anything else, if they continue to support a man who is now attacking the independent judiciary for daring to hear and make public evidence plausibly alleged to implicate Trump University in predatory fraud. Not to mention his displays of contempt for our constitutional traditions; his appalling ignorance of the law, the nation, and the world; his constant stream of lies; his lashing out like a narcissistic would-be tyrant against reasoned criticism; and his insults to Mexican-Americans and Muslims.
A landslide Democratic victory leading to dominance of all three branches of government would, in my view, be bad for the country. But if Republican leaders fail to separate themselves from Trump, that’s what they will deserve.
All of the calls for unity are wildly misplaced. They’re demanding unity behind a nationalist con-man with a bazooka aimed at the Constitution, and we’re begging for them to unify behind Conservative values; the former seems rather preposterous to me, yet the latter is who the lovelorn apologists are targeting.
The truth of the matter is, it would behoove those currently supporting Donald Trump, even if only begrudgingly supporting with their vote, to move as far away from Trump as soon as possible. Will it benefit their career? I don’t know. But I know one thing, they’ll no longer be deserving of the respect many of us once had for them if they play by the GOP rules this round. They will have embraced the stereotype of “just another politician.”
Maybe right now Ryan, Rubio, Scott, Haley, etc., are thinking, “I gave all of these reasons, though… What will people think if I go back on them now?”
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Below you’ll find “The Collision Blog Steps for Regaining Your Dignity”:
A: Be honest.
B: If you find Step A difficult, have no fear, below is a template I wrote. Feel free to use it, shred it, or cookie cut it if you please.
“Today I set aside all preconceived notions of party unity being the most important objective of 2016; if unity means coming together with totalitarian behavior, then unity is not an admirable goal. I instead come to you with sincerity, humility, and an apology. There is a time for unification, and a time for dissension; it has long been time for the latter. I gave my endorsement to an unworthy man, to someone who represents the opposite of all that I vowed to protect. I put this election before the principles I hold dear, and I gave my support to someone who has the power to cause irreparable harm to the title of ‘Conservative.’
I won’t belittle your intelligence with empty platitudes on how I faced a more difficult choice, or how my position as ——- has somehow given me a level of responsibility to my party that you can’t understand. This is not the truth, the truth is that I was wrong. The truth is that as an elected leader, I was chosen to represent the people, espouse the principles of conservatism, and take the action necessary to protect a movement that I hope my children are proud to be a part of someday. A movement that sees individuals, not their race. A movement that respects the Constitution, and doesn’t constantly seek out ways to abuse it. A movement with a proud heritage of fighting for equality of opportunity, God given rights, and the innocent. We cannot win if we abandon that which we were fighting for just for the sake of crossing the finish line.
The simple truth, stripped of all failed attempts at rationalization, is that regardless of position, responsibility, and impending loss, siding with what is right is always the right choice. There is never a good enough reason to side with an abuser. We teach our children the difference between right and wrong, to defend the innocent, and to never celebrate the violator. We don’t tell them that they must pick one of two miscreants, we tell them to stand in solidarity with the innocent. We pray that they are never in that position, but we also pray that they have the fortitude to stand strong against the enemy if they are, to not be manipulated into striking the sufferer.
Donald Trump would indeed save us from four years of Hillary. Some would call this winning; I mistakenly called this winning. But winning is standing with those he has mercilessly attacked. Winning is standing with the innocent disabled child who watched as a presidential candidate mocked someone just like her. Winning is standing with soldiers who could be put in physical and emotional peril by a man who openly supported committing war crimes, and used Veterans for a campaign stunt. Winning is standing against someone who wishes to directly attack the Constitution, even if it means we stand to lose. Winning is putting my principles before my party. If that means that my peers will attempt to push me out of my position, then so be it.
I am a politician, a title that has become synonymous with personal gratification, selfish desires, and an overwhelming allegiance to one of two parties. I am a Republican, a title that has tragically become synonymous with the racist, nationalist, and sexist theatrics of a Trojan Horse. I am your fellow countryman, a title that I believe supersedes all other titles. Today I am not red or blue, today I’m broken for the false choice you have been given, and for the loss of trust you have suffered. Today I stand confident that we can do better, and my promise to you is as follows:
I will fight for the America I know and love, I will represent your principles, and I will do my best to control Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump during their four years as president. During that four years, I will fight for better representation of your beliefs from both sides of the aisle.
I will fight against overreaching and toxic ideals from either political party, and I will put the future of your children before my own career, and before the (R) in my title.
I will stand, alone if necessary, and give you a voice among the madness.
I will be honest with you, and leave the world of politics in a better state than how I found it.
I will admit my faults, and strive everyday to be a better representative and protector of all that you cherish about this great country, and I will encourage others to do the same.
I will work to be an example of Reagan and Lincoln’s Party, and in doing so I offer a sincere apology to those who have been hurt by the Republican nominee, and reiterate that he does not represent what we stand for. I implore my fellow representatives to do the same.
And finally, I will not cast my vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. As Noah Webster once said, “When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.” We have not been given an acceptable choice, and I will no longer pretend as though we have.”
See how easy that was?
Oh, and C: Listen to my Mother.