I’ve seen all sorts of crazy this past year, but the craziest thing I've seen was watching self-proclaimed conservatives think the left is going to offer them some kind of refuge in the midst of this populist wave. I’ve heard it or read it all: I’m not right-wing anymore, I don’t call myself conservative, everybody in the GOP is racist, and on and on. Suddenly we’re denying a culture war exists and lamenting our involvement.
I get it – some of it. I acknowledge my role in any kind of nonsense that led to where we are. I realize there are problems I didn’t see or didn’t want to see, within the GOP, but I’m not letting that convince me I’m on the wrong side. A core problem here is that people are willingly conflating GOP and conservatism with the caricature versions pushed by the left. Trump in many ways brought that caricature to life, but the majority of those who voted for him did not.
The majority of this new movement centers on race, so I want to clear this up. Does the GOP have a racism issue? Yep. And you don't solve it by teaming up with the ideology that propels and exaggerates it. I hope we are also all aware that the alt-right isn't conservative. When you say you are rejecting “conservative” because of the alt-right, you are conflating the two. You are helping them validate themselves. If you want to fight racism, then you need to take the position that defends the civil rights of all Americans. Yes, The GOP needs to do better, as I wrote about last year. Civil Rights is a core conservative and libertarian issue. The left skewers it. They are more than ready to protect one class of people over another, and we need to hold them accountable. Did Trump play with racial identity? Yes. He did so because he isn’t conservative. We all knew that. But now it’s up to you to hold him accountable. You’ll have better luck holding to the truths of equality than surrendering to the segregation philosophy of the left.
Yet, I’ve already seen some holding the conservative banner doing the same. Ease back, they said during one horrid event involving the torture of a disabled boy by black teens, afraid of being labeled racist or linked to the alt-right for saying it was evil. The rights of the victim were neglected. The human dignity of one individual was deemed unworthy of fighting for because of racial politicking. I’m not going to let that happen. That’s what the left does, not what conservatives do. I’m not getting involved, says another, when a leftist cultural spokesperson makes a racial insult against a young Asian girl. I’ll get involved because ignoring racism is permitting racism, and calling it out on the right but not on the left is cowardice. When a lefty with a microphone calls middle America a “shithole” and those that live there “stupid” because of their conservative values, in order to perpetuate a stereotype and culture war, suddenly “conservatives” want to shrug that off. It's only one liberal, they say. Not me, though. I don’t live in Middle America, but those are still my Americans. If you have a problem with them, you have a problem with me. Now if that makes me a tribalist, fine.
But I’m not tribalist with the GOP. I hate it. I despise being a part of it, and I don’t like Trump either. Still, I shouldn’t have to make that disclaimer every time I voice an opinion. I shouldn’t be dragged before some high court of elites to explain myself or receive judgment. That’s what the left does. It throws people in front of a court to decide whether or not they deserve to speak, to believe, or even to exist. And they’ll throw anyone in there. They don’t care. When they are done using the new “left wing conservatives,” they’ll pull them in front of the judge too.
You think a group that labeled Republicans traitors for not supporting the Iran Deal was gonna welcome you into the fold? Liberals called you a traitor for not wanting a terrorist nation to have nuclear weapons. The same group that called you misogynistic, racist, and homophobic was suddenly gonna be cool with you? The ones who shamed Christians for praying are gonna team up with people who love freedom of religion? The people who did nothing while citizens lost their businesses because of their faith? Look, I’ve been scared many ways, but I’ve never been scared left. The fact is, the left doesn’t want you around. Sure, they’ll take your narratives and use your hate to hammer the GOP and conservative ideas, but you? They aren’t interested. They don’t have room for you and all your principles and ideas and cautions in that tiny little tower of theirs. They don’t need you yammering on about small government and freedom and values. Everything that makes you who you are as a person is summarily rejected. But if you have some anti-GOP conservative hating rhetoric to lend, they will take it.
I want no part of those witch hunts looking for hidden agendas and accusing people of enabling Trumpism or populism. I have no patience for it. Conservatives are going to have to find their way through this populist wave. You can’t stop it, but you can anchor it, and that’s what we’ve always tried to do. Believe it or not, you are needed, but we can’t take the time to coddle you every fifteen minutes because you are upset somebody agreed with Trump on something he did that was right. It’s a real distraction from what needs to be done. The election is over, and people need to get back to holding the government accountable, not moping around demanding explanations from people who acknowledged Trump was correct on one issue, or make a point about one event, or criticize the left culture which, by the way, put Trump where he is. You want to blame someone? Blame the left. They pushed for Trump harder than anyone. Conservatives spoke against him from the start. You don’t have to love the GOP, criticize it all you want, but if you weren’t willing to abandon conservative principles for Trump, why should you for the left? How do you transition from “Trump is a liberal, don’t vote for him” to “Trump is elected, the liberals can save us?” It’s as if we’ve forgotten the eight straight years of hate from leftist culture.
I fought the same battles everyone else did. But if I’m fighting the left and the left-right and the alt-right, I won’t have much time or energy to fight for all of us, like conservatives are meant to do.
4/13/2017 11:35:01 am
Great piece. So many conservatives have completely lost themselves in the muddle of labels and no longer even know where they fit in. It is disheartening and can feel futile. I agree that we have to keep trying to make our voices heard. Thanks for a solid, honest perspective.
12/31/2017 03:49:04 pm
Great article. Have greatly enjoyed being a part of Misfits this year.
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Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.