On Mea Culpas & Families
I am sorry. This is a phrase that seems to have been excised from the political discourse. So what am I sorry about? Not accepting the “MUH HILLARY!” argument? No. How about doubting the leadership and competence of President Donald Trump? Nope, I actually feel vindicated on that one. I still firmly believe in all the principles that informed me to oppose Donald Trump. However I will admit that my tone was never great and I jumped to mocking way too quickly. Needless to say it often felt very good to mock and ridicule those supporting Donald Trump. I admit now this was, as STU BURGUIERE would say, sub optimal. Not that I would have convinced anyone away from Donald Trump but this behavior made sure no one would convinced. The humor and hope morphed into something much worse.
Anger & Inevitability
As it became more clear that Donald Trump was not some sort of Herman Cain or Pat Buchanan-like phenomenon, the humor subsided. Humor turned into anger and hope turned into inevitability. I became increasingly angry. Angry that so many could not see through obvious lies or refused to see showings of immorality. This anger at the politic transferred to my personal life. I became an increasingly short fused individual because I became consumed with the daily election news and analysis. It affected my not-so-great relationship with father as generational difference in conservative beliefs were shown to be very different. There were certainly to put it kindly tense moments of disagreement when I would criticize Trump or personalities on a certain right wing “news” network.
It became a flash point in my life where I felt increasingly alone in my life as I even felt as if the two people who raised me to have certain values would not follow me on principle. This loneliness was not a new feeling from someone who had been given a range of diagnoses of ADD to high functioning Autism to even Asperger’s. Conformity was never my strong suit however this felt different. The calculus seemed so easy. Donald Trump was a con man, a character with no moral center, and a danger to the Republic. However in my life or rather in my family I was the only one who decided that this made him unfit to serve in office. My anger was particularly strong since they vote in a deep blue state where they were not going to stop Clinton any way. It was one thing to be betrayed by the likes of Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh two movement leaders who I grew up listening to, who guided me down the conservative path, it was another to hear my Reaganite parents to fall victim to the same illogical pit falls I made fun of MAGA twitter for almost daily. I started hearing the same whataboutist arguments from my parents. The fact that my parents fell for this made me increasingly angry as I believe them both to be incredibly intelligent. Instead of diagnosing the issue, I resulted to mockery and sarcasm as a defensive mechanism. I could not rationalizing how they could not get how Trump was a lying liar who lies. How Sean Hannity had reversed nearly every position he claimed to believe 2 years prior, how FNC was simply carrying water Candidate Trump. I just realized my parents were not the ideological conservatives I believed them to be but rather they were simply Republican hardliners. They would never abandon the GOP because the two party system had instilled an unhealthy fear of the other side.
The Way Forward
So how do those of us who have abandoned the GOP move forward? How can I convince people like my parents that the GOP is about gaining power and not governance? The first step comes from a place of love. Set down your political weapons for a bit. Listen to them. Actually listen. Once you have listened, explain rationally your point of view. Rationally without putting down any faction explain your worldview. See if you some intersection point. If you do, discuss that. Disagreement does not mean an enemy. There are quite literally certain people who will never be convinced. The members of Cult45 will not be won over. Their enemy is the media and the Democrats. The people who can be convinced are those whose enemy is any one who wishes to infringe on someone’s liberty. The reality is our rhetoric needs to be softer and more rational. That is how to win more people over not with insults and anger.
The totally real libertarian senator representing Sodasopa. She runs quite likely the most selfless on all the accounts I follow. Shares the work of her many “scholar BAEs” which at least I have learned so much more about constitutional law than I did in any class. Come for the advocacy of removing occupational licensing and stay for the humorous fights with her “Dad” @RadioFreeTom.
Podcast of the Week
The Fifth Column http://wethefifth.com/
Weekly podcast hosted by Kmele Foster (Freethink Media), Matt Welch (Reason), Michael Moynihan (HBO). Incredibly smart podcast that rises above a whataboutist perspective however not having several hilarious and sarcastic moments. Cuts through the BS frequently heard on other podcasts with inherent biases. The Fifth Column owns its biases and presents both the facts as well as host analysis. Not totally above getting derailed by conversational tangents which often leads to fantastic entertainment. One of the only political podcasts that has literally made me laugh out loud.