Since yesterday’s Special Report, which led with an interview by Bret Baier of “presumptive Republican presidential nominee” Donald Trump, the question above has been continuously on my mind.
Has anyone been listening to Trump? Now and then, as Steve Hayes did in the panel segment, someone will note explicitly that Trump’s positions are infinitely fluid – that he’ll change his answer to a question immediately, according to the response it gets. This, of course, is consistent with Trump’s “Everything’s negotiable” maxim. Though it doesn’t qualify as a principle, it might be the only hard and fast rule Trump observes.
In light of that, it just might be the case that Trump is the perfect representative of the GOP in our time. Since the Truman Administration at least, Republicans in high office have been willing to negotiate away every one of our rights, and the integrity of every one of our institutions. They’ve reeled out innumerable justifications – my favorite is “If we don’t give the Democrats this, they’ll propose something even worse” – but the bottom line is always the same: the political class wins, and the citizenry loses.
In 1996, when the GOP nominated Senator Robert Dole of Kansas for its presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich issued a description for Dole that remains unsurpassed: he called Dole “the tax collector for the welfare state.” It perfectly captured Dole’s complete lack of fidelity to any notion of limited government; his sole concern was to make certain that the Democrats’ endless “social programs” were proactively funded. On no other point, except perhaps subsidies for Kansas farmers, had he ever stood firm. Some wag whose name I’ve forgotten quipped that were Senate Democrats to submit a bill mandating the beheading of all white males, Dole would insist that it be phased in over a five year period...which, after negotiation, he’d reduce to three.
By their actions in 1996, 2000, 2008, and 2012, the GOP’s kingmakers told us something of inestimable importance. We should have been listening harder.
Just this past Wednesday, Herschel at Captain's Journal emitted this plaint:
[T]he people have chosen Donald Trump. A man who mocks the handicapped, who considers free speech a disgrace, who triangulated a position so nonsensical on North Carolina’s bathroom law that no one knows what he means, who is a proven hypocrite on foreign workers and immigration, who wants to increase the lands owned by federal government rather than decreasing federal power and turning over the lands to the states, who has never asked anyone for forgiveness, most especially God, who only recently triangulated his position on gun rights when previously supporting an “assault weapons” ban, who supports abortion, who believes that Maryanne Trump Barry (who supports infanticide) would make a fine supreme court justice, who criticizes women for their appearance, who calls people disgusting because of pictures taken of them while they eat. and who believes in a single payer health care system....
And for me, that means that I’ve cast my last vote. I am bidding farewell to voting. I am now a disenfranchised conservative Christian, and if a third party opens up for me, I might decide to rejoin in the struggle, but I’ve won’t vote GOP again for the rest of my life. The GOP has left me – establishment and voters. It’s no longer my party. I have no party. But if I ever vote for an upstart party that is true to my conservative, constitutional ideals, I won’t cast my vote because I think politics will save us. I don’t. As John Adams has observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Herschel was listening. What about those who cast their nomination ballots for Trump? Were they listening? If so, what’s the import of their choice, which is now all but inevitable? Were they dismissing the other candidates, three of whom are governors with solid records of conservative accomplishment and two of whom are genuinely conservative senators who’ve dared to buck the go-along-to-get-along majority of their colleagues? Or was it their intention to mock all Republican officeholders for the spinelessness, pettiness, hunger for media praise, and earmark-funded venality of the leadership?
Unfortunately, ballots don’t include a “Reason I’m Voting This Way” line.
Christ’s precursor John the Baptist was a lone “voice crying in the wilderness” calling out “Prepare ye the way of the Lord:”
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
There are many such voices today. They scream aloud, in print, and in pixels that we’re careening toward the lip of the abyss, that only an immediate, radical renunciation of welfarism, of victimism, of the gimme mentality, of laws that intrude upon privacy, dignity, and the institutions that give true stability to our society, of endless, infinitely detailed regulation of every aspect of life and commerce, and of the Omnipotent State that presides over it all can possibly save us.
They speak with a passion and eloquence John the Baptist would surely recognize. Their message is as concise and consistent as his. Their observations are accurate and their arguments are well reasoned. They ask nothing for themselves. Who has listened to them?
Just last Sunday I wrote about the either-or proposition that constitutes religious faith. I noted that though prayer is always answered:
Not only aren’t we guaranteed to recognize the answer; we’re not guaranteed to like it, either. As God says above, “This is how it works. This is life.”
I pray more these days than ever before in my life. Despite my prayers – and no doubt the prayers of millions of others – that our nation be saved from its suicidal follies, things continue to worsen almost daily. If some of us have earned the doom that’s come to seem inevitable, surely some of us have not. According to Genesis, if Abraham could find only ten righteous men in Sodom, God would not destroy the city. Are there not at least ten righteous men in America today? Has the “Sodom exclusion clause” expired since the Resurrection? Or have America’s righteous, by failing to resist adequately in the years behind us, forfeited that qualification?
I’m thinking of abstaining from political blather for a spell to concentrate on other matters. Perhaps that will conduce to an improvement, if only in my own frame of mind. The evidence no longer supports the notion that the political crap is worthwhile. However, I can still write an entertaining story.
We shall see.