As everyone knows by now, former Congressman (and up until recently a conservative radio talk show host) Joe Walsh has thrown his hat into the Republican Primary ring.
Of course, the overwhelming consensus is that he has no chance in hell of winning that primary.
Many here have pointed out how Walsh has his own character issues, as evidenced by his previous controversial, conspiratorial, and divisive statements and tweets over the years. They dismiss him as an unacceptable candidate for President because of that. That’s fair. He definitely does have a history of saying many “over the top” things and joining in with nonsensical issues like birtherism, and racially divisive comments.
He has since apologized for all of that and the role it played in the increasing rancor and divisive political environment, which ultimately led to Trump’s election. He has also apologized for getting Trump wrong, and for playing a part in helping him get elected, including voting for him in 2016.
Is that enough? Can we (should we) take him at his word about his regrets? Are his apologies sincere? Will he be better going forward?
Nobody knows. I certainly don’t. I am done putting my trust and faith in politicians, no matter how sincere they sound. All I can do is judge them on a day to day basis and base my support or non-support on the actions and words of each day. It definitely requires more active attention and participation in the process in order to be fully informed. I think we have all learned that over the last few years.
In a recent interview on MSNBC here is how Walsh addresses his previous words and actions:
“The beauty of Trump for me is that he’s forced me to look at myself and do some soul-searching about how I engage in this political world and I refuse to engage in that ugly personal politics anymore…and it took seeing Trump do this for a couple of years that caused that change.”Joe Walsh on MSNBC
So, here’s the thing…in this sense, I am Joe Walsh.
I completely relate to what he is saying here, and therefore, I cannot dismiss him out of hand. If I did, I’d also have to dismiss myself and my current take on things. I don’t think I am alone in these thoughts. I believe that many of us here have gone through some changes and soul-searching in our political thinking over the past few years. I’m not talking about our main, conservative principles (however we define them), but rather, how we inform ourselves and how we engage those who have historically been our political opposition.
It seems that it took Walsh much longer than most of us here to arrive at his current position on Trump and the divisive politics that threaten our Republic, but from what I have seen and heard from him during the past year or so, he seems sincere in where he is now…and that seems to coincide very closely to where many of us are.
So does that mean that I am ready to declare my support for Walsh’s campaign and definitively state that I will vote for him? No, not at all. We have a long way to go for that. But neither am I willing to completely dismiss him for his previous comments and actions. I know that over the years, I too have fallen into that nasty side of political warfare and have engaged in similar such nonsense. I also know that I am sincere in my current acknowledgement that it was all ignorant nonsense and I regret my involvement in it. I have seen how I willfully fell victim to the manipulation of others in that regard…how I blindly followed the lead of those who I now know are unethical, dishonest, opportunistic, hypocritical, frauds.
Like Walsh, these realizations have caused me to reevaluate pretty much every one of my positions on political issues, ensuring that what I believe truly comports with how I define conservatism. For me, that boils down to the founding principles…those principles that the Constitution was based on…namely, the principles of individual liberty, natural rights, property rights, free-market capitalism, equality, and everyone’s right to pursue their own happiness, however they define it (as long as their pursuit does not infringe upon any other person’s liberty, natural rights, and property rights). This reevaluation based on these principles has caused me to adjust my thinking on things such as immigration, LGBT issues, foreign affairs, and more.
Joe Walsh may not be the answer and the leader that is needed. However, I fully welcome his willingness to use his voice to expose the unfitness of Trump. I am also willing to give him a chance to demonstrate his sincerity in his statements that Trump has shown him that his previous views, statements, and actions were wrong.
I know that people’s views on these things can change. I know that people can be very sincere in their regrets of previous involvement in ugly politics and comments on various issues. I know because I am a personal testament to it.
I hope Joe Walsh is sincere and, if so, wish him the best. Time will tell. In the meantime, I welcome his direct challenges to Trump and Trumpism. We need all the help we can get and should welcome those who have seemingly made the realization of who and what Trump is, no matter how long it has taken.