Let History Be the Judge
My greatest fear right now is showing up to the polls on Election Day without having a GOP candidate that I can vote for in good conscience. In the past the GOP has always provided me, the voter, with someone I feel I can support. I never had any internal conflict come Election Day. Now, I’m faced with the prospect of writing in a candidate’s name.
There is no way I’d ever vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. That’s not an option. Clinton would continue on the same path as Obama, which I don’t believe is a path that would be in America’s best interests. Furthermore, while not an avowed socialist like Sanders, her policies will undoubtedly be consistent with socialist ideals. For all intents, the Democratic nomination process is over. Clinton has enough delegates between the primaries, caucuses, and ‘superdelegates’ to win the nomination without any problem. The media doesn’t portray it as such, but the issue is already settled.
Nevertheless, Sanders has raised enough money to stay in the race until the very end. He has also put up more than token resistance to Clinton as well. I’m horrified to see so much support for Sanders because he doesn’t have the slightest understanding of laissez faire economics. His notions are incredibly rudimentary, basic, and completely flawed. As President, he would be an utter disaster. The fact that so many people support him and the fact that most of those people are younger voters, tells me we are heading for trouble down the road. The support Sanders has garnered all but ensures someone just like him will come along again. The fact that a ton of Americans don’t take pause at the very word ‘socialist’ is scary to me. America is great because it is a capitalist nation. To me, the words ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ will always and forever be ugly words. They are words that stand in stark contrast to the word ‘freedom.
I can’t bring myself to vote for Donald Trump. I’m under no delusions that anyone running for President is going to be squeaky clean. It would be impossible to get to that level by being a perfect boy scout. There is always give and take and compromise along the way for any candidate. I can live with character flaws in a Presidential Candidate, but those flaws have to be within certain bounds. I think Trump exceeds those bounds.
Looking at things from a big picture perspective, America is clearly a divided nation. We are talking about two different political parties, but the fact that two candidates as totally opposite as Sanders and Trump could have such massive support from the American public clearly indicates that as a people, we are not all on the same page. I think we would have to go back to the eve of the Civil War to find another time when as a nation, we were so hopelessly divided. Some might argue that the current situation is not comparable to the early 1860’s, because there isn’t an issue as terrible as slavery which divides us. But is that an accurate assessment?
F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed ‘there are no second acts in American life.’ If you take that statement at face value, it would seem that Fitzgerald was sadly mistaken. After all haven’t numerous athletes and even politicians overcome setbacks? Haven’t people who originally failed at their first business venture gone on to make millions? You name it, and just about every aspect of life shows that humans are capable of overcoming virtually anything. However, the truth of the matter is that Fitzgerald wasn’t mistaken.
Fitzgerald scholars have argued that his ‘second acts’ quote is misinterpreted. In reality, what Fitzgerald most probably meant by his famous line is that Americans are defined by both our past and our present. That is a much more profound and accurate statement. I’d argue that both the past and present, together, will also determine our future. Herein most likely lies the great divide we currently see. Few people see the past, present, and future in broad terms. America, unlike any other nation in the world, has an incredibly diverse population. Freedom attracts diversity and I have no problem with it. However, diversity creates a myriad of social and moral issues and the real problem lies in our failure as a people to specifically identify and discuss everything openly. As a result, different groups of Americans view things from vastly different perspectives. These perspectives are often shaped not only by our educational, socio-economic, and ethnic backgrounds but by the media as well. Often the truth becomes totally obscured.
As other writers on this site have pointed out, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding conservative politicians and the GOP. I think Fitzgerald’s quote can help explain this. The answers lie in our past and present.
People forget that this country was founded by Christians. Throughout most of our history, we have been a Christian nation and our laws and customs have been shaped by Judeo-Christian principles. The result? In under 250 years, the Americans people went from being colonies of Great Britain to being the most powerful and wealthy nation the world has ever known. I don’t think things happen by coincidence. In my view, God has blessed this nation. As a Christian, I don’t believe in hating anyone. I hate to see this nation stray from Christian values, but this trend isn’t because other religious faiths are beginning to outnumber Christians.
Here is the reality. The religious composition of the U.S. Population is changing. Between 2007 and 2014, there was a 7% increase in the number of people with no religious affiliation. There isn’t a shift going on in this country where non-Christian faiths are increasing at the expense of the Christian Faith. The real shift is going from people who affiliate with a religious faith to those who are atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular, a group that now comprises 22.8% of the U.S. population. For every convert to Catholicism there 6 people who leave the Church. It is the youngest generation, the so-called ‘millennials’ that has the highest number of people who do not have any religious affiliation.
Failure to acknowledge and honor God is a recipe for disaster. Straying away from God has serious consequences. God will not continue to bless us if it continues this way. Being a Christian nation is what made us great. Abandoning those beliefs would be foolish.
Most of Sanders’ support comes from Millennials. Recent trends in grade school education and the establishment of Common Core standards means that the education of our children is coming from a central source. I look at the things my 8 year old daughter is being taught and the agenda is clear. Our children are being taught in accordance with Democratic liberal ideals. I don’t blame the individual teachers. They have no choice, but is it ever a good idea to make all schools teach the exact same thing? It makes it possible to indoctrinate our young with the wrong ideas. I believe it would be a far better idea to let each individual teacher and school system to have discretion over what is and isn’t taught. Differing perspectives leads to independent thinking. Independent thinking leads to a more educated populace.
The things my daughter is being taught, if I don’t teach her otherwise, could easily lead to a false view of the United States. You have to take both the good and the bad, but we especially can’t forget about the glories of our Nation’s past. We need to make sure our children understand that America has prospered more than any other contemporary nation. Lost in all the talk about immigration is the reason why people WANT to come to America. It isn’t because we are a failed or completely dysfunctional country. This country has its sins and there is always room for improvement, but socialism isn’t the answer. We have a new generation of Americans who are only too eager to forget America’s path to greatness and buy into the false and godless philosophies of socialism and communism.
Some people actually revel in the fact that they are atheist. To me, their logic makes no sense whatsoever. I have been a Christian my entire life and my beliefs are rooted in Faith. I feel a tangible and personal spiritual connection to God. I don’t need any further proof, but if one wants to engage in that argument, especially scientists, my response would be this: If you are a legitimate scientist, then you must follow the scientific method when conducting research. The first rule of research is that you never attempt to disprove any hypothesis that can’t be tested. God doesn’t put on shows every time someone wants absolute proof. It doesn’t work that way, Faith isn’t about that. For me, the life of Jesus Christ is all the proof I need. Scientists can assert there is no God all they want but the reality is that it isn’t something that can be disproven and therefore when scientists try to assert such things they are violating their own principles by discarding the scientific method. Also, don’t blame God for all the evil in the world. It’s people hurting people, not God hurting people. Big difference.
There is too much order and precision to the Earth to attribute it’s and our existence to random chance. Think about it: If someone believes there is no God, then they would have to believe that everything around us has got to be the result of random events. Look at your smartphone. That is a complex piece of technology. If you believe in nothing, then you would have to believe that the Earth and all life inhabiting it are the results of random events..meaning humans and everything humans create are also the result of random events. Therefore you have to believe that your smart phone came about in a manner similar to a tornado blowing through a junkyard and leaving a Lamborghini behind.
As a Christian I oppose abortion. I’m not going to delve into the touchy subject of rape or incest, but if we just focus on unborn fetuses that are the result of two consenting adults, to me it’s a terrible sin to kill that fetus. From a religious perspective, I see it as murder. I don’t hate gay people nor would I ever treat anyone as though they were inferior, but the Bible defines homosexuality as a sin. That’s my guide. It’s ultimately up to God to be the Judge. Nevertheless, when I saw celebrations going on around the country celebrating the universal legalization of same sex marriage, a part of me couldn’t help but think we are courting the wrath of God. I do want to add the caveat that it isn’t up to me to determine who is/isn’t a Christian. My beliefs are based on my own interpretation of the Bible.
The GOP has stood for conservative values which are consistent with Judeo-Christian values. If someone doesn’t believe in God and opposes conservative values, then it’s going to be very hard to make them understand the rationale behind conservative policies. It creates a problem, but does it mean that the Republican Party should abandon those values?
Another fundamental issue in America is the great sin of slavery. Slavery ended over 150 years ago, but it’s ugly ramifications are still very relevant today. I would never insult an African American by even pretending to understand how it must feel to know my ancestors were treated so horribly. Slavery is a great scar on America’s face and it would be naïve to say that racism isn’t something that runs deep in this country today. The fact remains that some people fail to see others as their equals. Given that segregation and other civil rights for blacks were so adamantly opposed, it’s understandable to see why African Americans are distrustful. There is a lot of mistrust amongst all the various ethnic groups in America. I’m not dumb enough to assert I understand everyone’s perspective, all I know is that there are many complex dynamics at play. Also, racism works in both directions.
Then there is the issue of gender discrimination. When I ran for elective office, I had female opponents. There were men who intimated they were going to vote for me, simply because they didn’t like the idea of voting for a woman. It upset me a great deal. In my professional career I have seen incidences where people had more faith in my abilities than my female colleagues simply because I was male and despite the fact that said colleagues had superior skills. In cases where I have seen a black woman put in an authority role, I have seen tangible resentment displayed by others despite the fact that the person was completely qualified and competent.
Why talk about all these things?
Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves, was the first Republican ever elected President of the United States. Women were granted the right to vote in 1920, despite opposition from President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat who also excluded African Americans when it came to hiring and appointing government officials.
My argument is this: The Republican Party has made little progress in regards to winning over any significant portion of the African American vote. If we want to be brutally honest, it’s no secret that the GOP is often perceived as racist by African Americans. Why hasn’t the GOP done more to attract a more diverse base? As stated above, Republicans can say they were the party who ultimately eliminated slavery, which was something the Democratic Party opposed. Further, in terms of opportunity, let’s not forget that George W. Bush, selected Condoleezza Rice to serve as Secretary of State. That is a major milestone in terms of both race and gender equality. Bush, a Republican chose an African American female for one of the most important jobs in all the land. Oh yeah…I forgot.. the Secretary of State during Bush’s first term was Colin Powell: The first African American to serve as Secretary of State.
The past is always with us, and there are ugly aspects to our history, but it’s about time Republicans start to point out the positive role it has played in history and quit letting its image and principles be distorted. This is why I oppose Donald Trump.
Everything about Trump only serves to reinforce the negative misconceptions people have about the GOP. If Trump is allowed to become the face of the Party, the damage would be irreparable.
For one, as I have written before, I believe America is STILL great. We haven’t lost a war and the economy isn’t in shambles. There aren’t hungry Americans standing in line on the streets begging for food. What precisely is Trump talking about? The country isn’t a massive wreck.
The problem is that people are not separating President Obama and his policies from the country as a whole. Obama has been a highly divisive President. The majority of Americans disapprove of his performance. The President has failed in many ways. For one, his words have hurt, not helped race relations. Second, Obamacare is a very costly and very socialist concept that is impractical and too costly. Third, Obama has made some critical foreign policy errors. Not only has he alienated one of our closest allies, Israel, but he made a laughable deal with Iran that will supposedly slow their efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. Fourth, Obama has totally failed in regards to immigration issues. Those are just a few of his short-comings, but what really seems to accentuate his failures is his arrogant disregard for those with opposing views. His opposition is often painted as being politically incorrect.
A President can fail without creating damage too extensive to repair. Trump seems to be inciting a disproportionate reaction to an unpopular President. The situation isn’t as dire as he makes it sound.
When I think about Trump’s rhetoric and statements and place them into perspective, I get a very disturbing picture. I have faith that proper adherence to the Constitution would prevent a dictatorship from taking hold, but Trump can still do a lot of damage. For one, I’m concerned when I hear a politician make generalizations about different groups of people. His comments about Mexicans and Muslims could lead to violence inflicted against members of said groups or any group that Trump deems undesirable. The man also holds women in low esteem. There is plenty documentation of that fact. Even more disconcerting is the way he responds to protestors. At one of his rallies, one of his supporters hit a man who was already in police custody. Trump has indicated he may pay for any legal fees his supporter may incur as a result of his actions. What if Trump were President and this incident took place? Would he simply pardon those who target/harm his opponents? Given his behavior and comments, is it really unreasonable or illogical to conclude that there is a racist element behind Trump’s rise to political prominence?
The reality is that a Trump doesn’t represent traditional conservative GOP values. He may claim to represent said values, but can he be trusted to follow such principles as President? I would agree that the will of the people must be heard, but this is a situation where the votes are for nominating a person to run for office, not votes for directly electing that person to office. In the broader view of historical context, would a brokered GOP convention be justified to protect the image of the Party? In terms of the future will those who support Trump ultimately end up on the wrong side of history?
There are no second acts. History can’t be changed. The GOP needs to ask itself: Is support of Trump in the present worth tarnishing the history of its past and irreparably damaging its prospects for the future?