I’m going to try to keep this as short as I can (yeah, right, Steve). Four years ago, I wrote about how unfit Trump was for the office of President of the United States. Today, after four years of his daily, non-stop lying and criminally corrupt behavior, I believe that more than ever.
If you don’t want to read all of my lengthy reasoning, I’ll just say that the bottom line of all of this is to say that:
I voted for Joe Biden…and you should too.
Now, if you care at all about why I have come to that decision, I encourage you to read on. One thing that I have learned over the years is that it is important to let your “sphere of influence” know your thinking. That’s about all we can do. This particular writing may cause most of my family and many friends to disown me, but civic virtue requires that we all speak out (civilly and respectfully) on these issues if we really want to make self government work.
Before I go any further, for those who don’t know me, I am not a radical, liberal, socialist, progressive, communist Democrat. On the contrary, I have been a life-long Republican and have been more involved and active in Republican efforts than the vast majority of anyone reading this. I fought against “the Establishment” and “the RINOs” probably long before most of you ever heard of them. Don’t believe me? Try me…I will compare my Republican/Conservative “credentials” with anyone. Furthermore, I have never voted for a Democrat for President in my life and have always voted for the Republican in every election except 2016 (I voted 3rd party).
I do not recognize the Republican Party today. It is most definitely not representing the principles and standards that I fought for for 25+ years. It has been completely transformed into the Trump Party. It is disturbing and distressing to me to watch it. The Republicans have lost their way and seemed to have lost their collective minds in the process.
I have not changed from my core conservative beliefs. I consider myself a foundational conservative, meaning that I believe in the principles on which our Republic was based…those of equality, liberty, life, and property. I believe in limited government in order to provide for the most individual liberty possible, but a strong government where needed. I believe in doing everything we can to spread and share that liberty with anyone and everyone in the world who desires it. I believe in equality under the law and in opportunity, and understand that we have yet to achieve that. I believe in the value of all life and believe we should all do everything we can to protect each other, and certainly have a right to protect ourselves. I believe in the benefits and value that is provided to society in allowing people to own property that they have created and worked for and I believe in the free exchange of that property.
I believe in the Constitution that was created in order to provide a system of government that works to protect these basic principles. The more I have learned about those principles, the Constitution, and the government system it created, the more I see that we have never actually lived up to them. We have never attained the true vision of those principles. Now, we can go back in history and point out areas where we’ve gone wrong and whether it was the Republicans or the Democrats that veered away from them. But that is futile. The more I have learned, the more I can see that each of the parties have failed in various ways from one period of time to another.
I believe in the importance of the people understanding how our system is supposed to work and what the role of each part of the system is. Unfortunately, I do not see that understanding in the people. Recent surveys have shown that a vast majority of our people cannot even name the three branches of government. Heck, a majority of people can only name one branch or none at all. How can we expect the people to make decisions on who to elect to certain positions if they don’t even know what the role of those positions really are? This ignorance has led to a destruction of our system of separation of powers and check and balances, to the extent of now having elected a true demagogue…a person that is the epitome of what the founders of our Republic took such great effort to prevent.
I believe in character and virtue in those who we elect to represent us and to administer our government. I believed it in 1996 when it was basically the entire argument of the Republicans when Bob Dole was challenging Bill Clinton. And I still believe it today.
I have not changed. The Republican Party has changed. They have mutated into a party of victimhood, of blaming all others for everything, of divisiveness at a level never before seen, of dishonesty in nearly all issues, of rolling over Constitutional principles that I would never have imagined, of pettiness, of conspiracy, of xenophopia (if not racism or at least the tolerance of it), of isolationism, of vindictiveness, of nasty name-calling, of “the ends justify the means”, of ignorance. In other words, it has turned into Trump…no virtue, no moral grounding, no redeeming characteristics at all. Please, I don’t want to hear about “well the left has done this or the Democrats have done that!” Stop it. Whatever you perceive that the left has done or is doing, it does not justify all of the crap that the Republicans are currently doing and saying. Quit pointing fingers and control your own actions.
To me, conservatism is all about conserving what makes America exceptional. And what makes America exceptional are the principles upon which the Republic was created. It’s these principles that we are (or at least, should be) doing everything we can to conserve. Because without them, our exceptionalism is gone. Our Republic is no more.
The principles that need to be conserved include that of limited government, self-government by virtuous people electing virtuous leaders, equal treatment under the law for all people, federalism, natural rights, republicanism, and knowing the dangers of pure democracy and the tyranny of the majority. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what I mean with many/most of these principles. That’s the disconnect we are currently operating in.
Most people are attaching themselves to platitudes about the constitution and patriotism without fully understanding these things. Instead, they spread dishonest narratives that are teaching people the wrong things and are certainly not helping the cause of conserving the principles I just listed.
You are teaching them that virtue doesn’t really matter after all. All that matters is winning at all costs.
You are teaching them that somebody like Trump really is an ideal person for President. One of, if not the, best ever, in fact.
You are teaching them that brute force from the majority is the way to get things done.
You are teaching them that limited government isn’t really that important as long as the government is doing what “we” want it to do.
You are teaching them that the principles, the Constitution, the system of separation of powers and checks and balances all don’t really matter as long as our guy wins and the other guy cries.
The result of all of these lessons is a backlash so big, that it will further degrade the principles that we are trying (needing) to conserve. When the other side gains power (and make no mistake, they will), we will have destroyed any sense of reason that was left and they will proceed to complete the destruction of what’s left of the Constitutional framework. It will take just a few steps…abolish the Electoral College, get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, increase the number of Supreme Court Justices.
That’s what all of this hyper-partisan, us vs them, win at all costs nonsense is leading to.
You believe you are “winning” and relish in the hurt that Trump is putting on all of those libs…but to what end? Is it simply vengeance you are after? Do you really believe that you are actually defeating liberalism, even though a solid majority of the people in the nation disagree with you and Trump and Trumpism? Do you really believe that this level of divisive partisanship is the way to save the Republic? Do you really believe that anything Trump has supposedly accomplished is lasting? Do you think that all of the Libs are just going to throw in the towel and say, “Ok, you were right. We give up and concede your way is the right way and will allow you to govern the way you want forever”? Because, honestly, this is the way you’re acting. Like you are actually winning something. You’re not. Without actually convincing people with sound, civil, logical, articulate reasoning to change hearts and minds, you are not winning anything. And Trump and Trumpism is doing none of that. In fact, he is doing just the opposite. Because he has no idea what he is doing, he blunders his way through and actually pushes people away from even having a dialogue in which anyone can be persuaded.
Trump and Trumpism is killing the Republic, not saving it.
Now, some specifics…
For those of you who still support Trump and the Republicans, I understand that you will not agree with the statements that I am about to make. But that is the big problem with demagoguery. That’s what makes a demagogue so dangerous. The demagogue will convince you that you cannot believe anything other than him. He has conditioned you to dismiss anything the media says (“FAKE NEWS!”). He has conditioned you to dismiss anything our institutions say, such as our intelligence community (“THEY TRIED TO OVERTHROW A DULY ELECTED PRESIDENT!”). He has conditioned you to dismiss anything the experts in all of our various government departments say (“DEEP STATE!”). He has conditioned you to dismiss anything people say that you have historically had great trust and respect for when they disagree or say anything bad about Trump.
When you boil it all down, it has now become obvious that Trump is the only one to be believed. A guy who is ignorant and lies about every issue, is ignorant and lies about history, praises brutal dictators and disparages long-time allies. A guy who dodged the draft and insulted those who did serve (and died), calling them “suckers” and “losers” (if you don’t believe that, you have not been paying attention). A guy who ignored credible intelligence reports that suggested Putin has put bounties on our soldiers’ heads. A guy who now states that he will not commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses (“IF I LOSE, IT”S BECUASE THEY CHEATED!”).
Basically, you are now within a very protected information bubble…one that is full of misinformation, lies, conspiracy, and utter nonsense. You can’t see it, but trust me, everyone else clearly does.
Certainly, you can see how dangerous it is to have half the country only believing the words of one man, dismissing everything that disagrees with him? That is the situation we are in now. It doesn’t matter who that person would be, it is not compatible with the principles of America.
I’m not going to list every thing Trump has said and done over the past 4 years that provides concrete evidence of his unfitness. I have written extensively during this whole time about that and it is very well documented by many others. But I will mention the most egregious and most damning…the current situation with the pandemic. His abject failure in not only his incompetence in managing it, but his actual active measures and lies that made it worse have directly led to hundreds of thousands of needless lives lost. A new study just released that analyzed just his running around the country holding irresponsible rallies while not requiring social distancing or wearing of masks (and actively mocking it) shows that it has likely led directly to thousands of infections and hundreds of death. That is the essence of how he has handled this life and death issue.
Four years ago, I predicted that Trump’s presidency would not end well. That there would inevitably be some national crises that requires a level head, a competent leader, a clear and rational thinker…there always is such a crisis during a presidential term that tests all presidents. Never in my worst thinking did I imagine it would be as bad as this pandemic. I know that you Trump supporters, for the most part, believe that the pandemic is not really all that…that the deaths are being way over-reported, that Trump has done all anyone could do, that masks don’t work, that we need to let the virus spread and reach herd immunity. That is your bubble speaking. It’s utter nonsense and it’s killing more and more people and it’s hurting so many others in so many various ways.
I realize that you believe you are the informed ones, that you have the real facts that the rest of us refuse to learn. I get it. I’ve been there. You’re wrong. About this, and so many other things.
Setting aside all other issues with Trump, the indisputable fact is that he has spent every single day of his presidency actively and directly dividing the people. He has disparaged anyone and everyone that disagrees with him in the most vile, nasty and abusive ways. He has called people like me “human scum” simply because we challenge him. He considers only his supporters as “The People” and “real Americans” and dismisses the rest of us, which happens to be an actual majority of Americans. He has used the power of the presidency and the bully pulpit to do this. Day in and day out. This in undeniable. And it’s an abuse of power, through and through. The Republic is near a boiling over point with divisiveness and instead of turning the heat down, Trump cranks it up. This is unconscionable and, again, is undeniable with any objective analysis.
We cannot go another four years with that. We simply can’t. And it would actually be worse. Before he was elected, we were assured by the Republicans that they understood his bad character and they would be there to hold him accountable…to hold his feet to the fire. We have witnessed otherwise. The Republicans became drunk with power. They realized that as long as they praised Trump, as his ego so mostly desires, they could get him to do whatever they wanted him to do. Sure, they’d have to tolerate and excuse a lot of nastiness and some bad policies that he was set on (destructive tariffs, for example), but in the end, they would get their tax cuts and their justices and their power. We have seen no willingness to hold him in check and now that Trump knows that, and realizes nobody will stop him, the level of corruption, of lying, of lining his own pockets now and for the future will be unhinged during a second term.
Our Republic likely will implode under those conditions.
Character, competence, virtue, real leadership, empathy, intellectual curiosity, honesty…these are all things that are most important for the role of the President of the United States, way above that of Party, of policy positions, of “being down for the political fights”. Every national crisis that is the major test of each Presidency requires all of those characteristics to meet the challenge, and all of the Party politics become moot. It is the role of the House, the actual representatives of the people, to fight the political policy issues, not of the President. The President, for the good of the Republic, must be above all of that. He/she must act as a unifying force for all Americans and set aside the Party politics. Heck, in my research, I have read that James Madison actually believed that being too partisan was an impeachable offense. In thinking about it, I agree.
Now, of course, that leaves us with Joe Biden. To be sure, Biden is not my ideal candidate for President. He brings his own issues to the table. Being in national politics for nearly half a century, he has a long record to look at and he definitely has some issues and has done some things that I’m concerned about. I do not agree with him on a lot of policy issues.
That said, in comparing him to Trump, there really is no question in my mind…Biden, even with all of his faults, is a better man, a better person, and would be a better President.
This is true even if what Trump and all of his supporters are saying about Biden and his son, Hunter, is all true (which certainly is not). But even if everything they said was absolutely true, it would still not compare to the corruption, criminal, and unethical actions of Trump and his kids during most of their lives. It’s not Joe or Hunter who had to settle for over $20 million dollars a case of fraud concerning “Biden University”. It’s not Joe or Hunter who had to shut down the “Biden Charitable Foundation” for fraud. And it’s not Joe Biden who has actually hired his kids and put them in top level White House advisory positions through corrupt nepotism…positions for which they are completely unqualified for (and in Jared’s case, couldn’t even get a security clearance due to his shady history). It’s not Biden who refuses to release any of his tax returns because he has something he’s hiding. It’s not Biden who refused to fully divest from his personal business dealings while being President, which create huge conflicts of interest. It’s not Biden who was in the middle of negotiating a huge deal with Putin while he was campaigning to be President…and lied to the American people about it. It’s not Biden that paid off a porn star about an illicit affair so that the American people were not made aware of it. I could go on and on and on about the corruption of Trump and his kids, but it’s all out there already…for those who really want to know.
Still, Biden would not normally be my idea of an ideal President. But he has demonstrated that he understands what this nation needs at this point in time. First, a rest, but then a concerted effort of unity. Whether you believe him or not…this is his main closing message before the election, while at the same time, Trump is running around the country doing the opposite (and leaving illness and death in his wake).
Biden also demonstrated an understanding of the seriousness of the virus very early on, writing back in 2019 how the nation was not prepared for a pandemic, even before this one hit. Then he wrote very early on in this pandemic in January about how Trump was not taking it serious enough and not doing the things needed to properly prepare for it. These are the things most needed in a President. Not the willingness to fight the other side. Not the willingness to bully and bluster your way through every issue. Rather, the willingness to bring the nation together, especially during a national crisis, as every previous President prior to Trump has managed to do. That is the main duty of the President. And Biden stands well above Trump on this measure. Even during his long history in politics, doing and saying things I definitely disagree with, in full measure, Biden has been a fairly moderate presence on the national stage, earning much bipartisan respect and praise. For me, at this point in time, with our nation so close to a boiling point that absolutely cannot handle another four years of Trump and Trumpism, I believe that is enough for my vote.
We must purge the Republic of Trump and Trumpism and be very vigilant about ever allowing such a demagogue on the national stage again.
I voted for Biden…and you should too.