So this is it, post #1500. It’s an arbitrary number, really, and it’s likely not entirely accurate… there have been a couple of times I’ve put up items so small as to be questionable toward the tally, and a few times where, while out on the road, I’ve posted under my wife’s account. But for the most part, the count seems fair.
It feels like I should have some grand announcement… that I’m moving on, or I’ve scored an interview with George W. Bush or something of that ilk. Failing that, it seems that I should have a great theme to write about. Instead, I’m sitting here behind a keyboard at 1:30 AM, sipping on a rum that’s strong enough to use as hand sanitizer and thinking about my approach to a topic far less than grand, but close to my heart.
The topic is simple: should I renounce my past?
Yesterday – or, if you’re among those who believe that the day doesn’t start until sleep has occurred, earlier today – Rush Limbaugh, arguably America’s most influential radio host, told his audience of millions that the country was effectively in the midst of a war, and that their enemies were those who wanted to keep the country shut down. The reason, he said, was economic; Trump’s enemies are putting restrictions in place in order to hurt the economy, which is their way of damaging the President’s re-election chances. Then he cautioned his listeners that the Democrats, should they win, would attempt reconciliation and they should be rebuffed.
There’s so much wrong with that position that it’s difficult to take Rush’s argument seriously, but the groundwork has been laid for his listeners to do so. First, they firmly believe that they are pro-life and their enemies don’t care about human life. For that reason, they refuse to consider the obvious, that the Governors of many states wish to keep the lockdown in place until widespread testing and contact tracing can be performed, so as to keep their citizens alive. Then, they’ve been repeatedly told that the virus is effectively akin to the flu, that most people are not in danger from it. This is directly refuted by the number of deaths in the United States and around the world, but for people in areas which have not yet been hit hard, it is a lie they want to believe. There’s also the fact that reconciliation, while not capitulating on core beliefs, is something that Republicans always believed in because it addressed a basic issue of patriotism… e pluribus unum: out of many, one.
There was a time when I listened to Rush every day. I loved his insight on political issues and I was certain he would always remain true to his core principles. I grew familiar with some of his monologues to the point that I knew exactly how he would address a new topic which might arise. I wasn’t at Dan’s Bake Sale, but I knew that when it came up he’d either be talking about how conservatives cleaned up after themselves or that some events that happen spontaneously cannot be recreated through planning. I recognized that one of his marriages was on the rocks nine months before he announced the divorce, because he’d stopped speaking about “The lovely and gracious Marta”. There was a picture of me on his web site, wearing my Club G’itmo t-shirt outside of the building which had housed the terrorism-indicted Holy Land Foundation.
I was absolutely a fan. Today, this man I once appreciated intentionally deceived and incited his audience in a direct repudiation of both pro-life positions and basic patriotism. I was obviously wrong to think highly of him.
I believe many people have had similar moments over the past four years, as they watched individuals they trusted betray their stated principles. Sometimes they were politicians, or pundits, or bloggers, or family members. We’ve seen people who we’d swear were devoted to Constitutionalism abandon the positions of a lifetime in order to gain power and wealth, or simply to remain part of a group.
The natural progression is to question. Having been deeply betrayed, we wonder when the change happened, when the people we trusted shifted their allegiances. Was I being deceived all along? Did I waste all that time? Should I apologize for ever agreeing with these people?
This wasn’t the first time such questions have arisen, and I find myself coming to the same conclusion as before. I embrace my past, I don’t renounce it.
I made a fundamental mistake, back in the 1990s. I believed I was a fan of Rush. I was not. I was a fan of Rush’s presentation, and of enough of his analysis that I gave him a pass on his errors (such as his atrociously bad Global Warming argument that if something can be broken, it must necessarily be reparable by the same agents). I was absolutely a fan of federalism, free markets, our military, equality under the law and the world freedom. Because Rush regularly spoke in favor of those things, I assumed I was a fan of his. When he started pushing Trumpism instead, I found that I no longer liked the man. Many others found they preferred him to the concepts he’d previously championed. They, as it turned out, were the true Rush fans.
I don’t regret my days agreeing with his old positions, because I still agree with many of them. The same holds for the positions of politicians like Ted Cruz or pundits like Glenn Beck. I still agree with Ted Cruz of February 2016. I still agree with many things that Glenn Beck of March 2017 was saying. I’m not going to regret those times in my life, because I was on the correct side of policy. I still am, while they no longer are.
This realization is important. It’s why I find it easy to aggressively and wholeheartedly reject Trump while remaining able to keep Biden at a distance. My issues with Biden were based on policy and personality, not simply that he bore the hated “D”, and those differences didn’t disappear just because I walked away from the Republican party. This is not to say I might not vote for the man anyway, when November rolls around. There is no weakness or failure associated with the man which is not far more egregiously connected to Trump. It simply means that I am attempting to hold true to my core beliefs even as most current Republicans have abandoned theirs.
It’s been just over two years since I joined in with Beth, Lenny, Steve and Tiff to write for this blog, and 1500 posts have been logged under my handle. Looking back, I can read the first editorial I wrote for the site… “Earth Running Out Of Earth, Just In Time For Earth Day“… and I can say that I could easily picture myself writing the same thing today. I haven’t changed, and I’m not going to change just because a fat, whining coward has rendered toxic a group with whom I used to associate.
I sincerely thank anyone who continues to read my articles and diatribes after all this time. I hope to be around for another 1500, when ex-President Trump has been rendered an unpleasant stain on history.