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What have we become?
And how do we fix it?
Are we in the waning days of wretched Trumpism? Can those of use who still cling to common sense as a virtue still find a place in the hyper-partisan hellscape of what American politics has become?
While the jury may be out on the first point, some signs point to the affirmative. The second point, however, may be a bit more difficult to overcome. It has been festering within the populace for much longer, making the hope of returning to a time of invested and knowledgeable voters a desperate dream.
Our republic has been inundated with misinformed, disinterested, personality-driven “voters,” as opposed to informed, involved, reasonable citizens, united in a goal to see the most qualified representatives sent to the halls of power.
Our spiral downward into a cultish kakistocracy seems imminent.
Or are we already there?
It’s hard to say just how long of a slide our republic has endured. Can we pinpoint an exact moment, when rationality failed us and our worst instincts took hold, replacing duty and purpose with idolatry and the need for political “heroes”?
Maybe it was with our 35th president, John F. Kennedy. This was quite a bit before my time, but I’ve seen the old news reels, read the accounts, and recognize the familiar whiff of politician-as-celebrity.
Kennedy and First Lady Jackie were all the rage. He, the young, idealistic, heartthrob male lead, while she still stands as a fashion icon, for those who follow such things.
It’s as if his political leanings were an afterthought to his public appeal and later, the salacious details of his private life.
It would almost seem his ugly, horrific ending was scripted to cap off the social legerdemain that became the hallmark of his presidency.
And while I don’t recall any such celebration over the presidencies of Johnson, Nixon, or Ford, it was clear from the Kennedy era that the die had been cast.
Fast forward to more recent history, and we find personality and things wholly disconnected from sound governance, and the idea of a representative government have become the norm.
A for instance would be, I never needed or cared to know if Bill Clinton wore boxers or briefs.
I didn’t need to see Barack Obama do a “slow jam” of the news on the Tonight Show, with comedian Jimmy Fallon. I would have much preferred to see him make an effort at bipartisan governance, or at the very least, not stoke the corrosive division of “Us vs Them.” His arrogance and racist animosity made our nation fertile soil for what was to come.
To that, I must add, that if you cheered parents and teachers leading children in anthems to Obama, or any of the other gross displays of personality worship that the election of the first biracial president prompted, but you’re somehow repulsed by the cult of Trump, you are the problem. Your hypocrisy is duly noted.
And yes, the Trump fiasco, an election of the most corrupt, moronic president in our history, carried by voters rendered stupid by tribalism, partisanship, too much social media, and a host of false prophets and flunkies, will forever remain a national disgrace.
He had name recognition because he and his hair were late night punchlines since the 80s. When he tried to pump up his brand by claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya, he struck the right chord with the mouth breathers on the curvy couch, over at Fox News.
In the 2016 election, there were so many seasoned, proven, serious contenders for the Republican nomination, but this new age of poor reasoning skills and personality-obsessed media assured our doom.
Most pathetic is that, without fail, it would appear that all of those once-serious politicians fell in line with their new overlord, rather than push back against his demon horde of supporters.
I could go on about Joe Biden, but it suffices to say, he is simply a result of the fatigue the world felt after 4 years of Trump. While a likeable guy, he’s probably the weakest, most nonsensical choice for the White House that the Democrats have offered in a long while. His every move has been to cater to one token identity group or another. He’ll be gone in 2024, and any Democrat gains in Congress will very likely be rendered null in the upcoming midterm election.
Now, I’ve said all of that, to get to this: Those wishing to gain ground in future politics, would be wise to bring back the novel idea of putting experience, idealism, and bipartisan solutions for our UNITED States, back on the menu.
For Democrats, offer solutions. Offer experience and ideas that benefit the whole, rather than identity politics, fringe interest groups, or things that the average American would find repulsive.
I’m not saying to disenfranchise any particular “group,” but rather, to include them by not pointing out their differences, and making decisions that will benefit them in ways that matter.
Yes, the Democrat Party has long seen their power in promoting perpetual victimhood, but it results in demonizing everyone else.
Want to make enemies? Tell someone they’re bad, because of historical abuses by people who look like them, rather than judging someone as they are.
And here’s a little reality tip for you: EVERY race of people has a history of inhumanity to man. You’re just picking and choosing the history that serves your narrative.
For Republicans, you were once the party of Coolidge, Goldwater, and Reagan. Common sense and civic duty used to be your acclaim. Now, you simper and grovel to be accepted by the dumbest, lowest possible denominators of society.
You’ve allowed walking, talking gutter skanks, like Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz to become the “new face” of the GOP. They rode the wave of Trump’s cultism right into the halls of power. It is to your disgrace, and the disgrace of our nation.
What we need now, more than ever, is a voice of reason to rise.
Out of so many who aspire to higher office, it may be difficult to pick through the rubbish, drown out the cacophony of chaos and ambition, but those voices do exist!
One example – and a race I’m following closely – is former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. He was arguably one of the best (if not the best) governors my fair state has ever had.
He cancelled our federal unemployment debt, created a surplus, and brought businesses to the state with an attractive tax package. This created jobs, jobs, JOBS for NC citizens.
The Libertarian-leaning Cato Institute had him listed as the #2 governor in the nation, based on his economic strategies.
As for his conservative, Republican-centric chops: He made sanctuary cities in the state illegal. He sued the Obama administration for its efforts to bus illegal immigrants to various cities within the state.
Obama threatened to cut education and public defense funding from the state, if McCrory and the NC General Assembly did not back off of their opposition to allowing men into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. The DOJ arrogantly gave the McCrory administration a weekend to agree to their demands.
McCrory’s quick answer was to sue them, first.
All of this, and he only served a single term
In the end, the infamous “Bathroom bill” was rescinded, but only because the NC General Assembly held the Charlotte City Council, the perpetrators of initial issue, accountable, and the agreement was made between the GA, newly appointed Governor Roy Cooper, and the council to roll back everything to the way things have always been: Men go to the men’s room, women and girls to the ladies room, and if you’re confused about what you are, check your birth certificate and proceed accordingly.
McCrory lost his bid for a second term in Raleigh for myriad reasons. The Bathroom bill wasn’t one, because his stand for normalcy in private, vulnerable spaces actually gave his popularity a bump.
No, McCrory was punished because of some of the cuts and decisions he made, in order to make NC – which was deeply in debt and floundering, before his arrival – viable and solvent, by Republicans in 2 counties (I’m looking at you, New Hanover and Mecklenburg).
Then there were the Trumplicans who voted for Trump in 2016, but did not show up on the state level, declaring that McCrory was not as subservient to Trump as he should have been.
They allowed Democrat Cooper to take control of our state, and have allowed him to remain for a second term. All of this, because they don’t understand the need for sound governance on every level; local, state, and federal.
Now, after taking some time away, hosting his own radio show, the former governor has reemerged. He is running for the soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat of Richard Burr.
His competition in the race is former U.S. Representative Mark Walker, and current Representative Ted Budd.
Walker, who has vowed to remain in the race, is struggling to get out of single digit support.
McCrory held the early lead, but a more recent poll shows Budd has pulled ahead.
So, what’s the problem?
Trump threw his support behind Budd. The cult that remains are out in force, declaring that McCrory will lose, because he has failed to adequately kiss the ring of Trump – a man who is no longer in office, but is still very much the leader of his cancerous tribe.
There are still over 30% of NC’s Republican voters who are undecided, so Budd’s advancement to the general election is not assured.
McCrory’s strategy at this stage, is one that any politician, of every party, would be wise to embrace.
He is making the effort to reach the moderates, the undecideds, and everyone sick of the tribalism. Some of his recent comments on social media seem to show that he understands that courting Trump cultists outright is a losing proposition.
He’s appealing directly to the rational conservative voter, and moderates.
We need to see more of this from politicians seeking our vote, not less. That needs to come from both sides of the aisle.
While I walked away from the Republican Party because of Trump, I never abandoned my conservatism. I never abandoned my values. I’m no “blue waver.” I think it’s just as idiotic to make a hard swing from the right, to the left. You think it makes you “virtuous” and more anti-Trump than the rest of us, just because you wear a Beto hat in Texas, or suddenly start using cuss words and touting your newly found appreciation for socialism.
What are you trying to prove? Either those values you once claimed were always with you, or they never were.
My point – and I do have one – is that tribalism and personality cults have damaged this nation beyond measure. We need to reassess and find ground that will strengthen us, not tear us further apart.
Representatives of that lofty goal still exist. You just have to look for them.
Then vote for them.