Monday, November 14, 2016

What Happened to the USA?

I have been a lifelong conservative.  I can't remember an election that I did not vote straight Republican.  From the time that I voted in my first election, however, it felt more and more as if I was holding my nose and voting for the least smelly pile of crap.  Often times, the candidate would openly support something that flew directly in the face of the conservatism that this candidate loudly proclaimed that they believed.  Of course they only proclaimed to believe conservative values because they also believed that the vast majority of their constituents were too lazy to look at their record and instead would take them at their word.  For the most part, they were right, but then a small minority appeared.

During the Republican Primaries, I supported the candidates that I believed best represented conservatism.  Truly, I really only had a few people that I absolutely could not get behind:  Bush, Kasich, and Trump.  There were other candidates who, for whatever reason, I felt weren't ideal candidates but I felt that they were good men who would stand up for conservative values.  Two candidates in particular, I was really excited about:  Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Both men had conservative scorecard ratings above 90%.  Both were articulate and explained conservatism in a way that I genuinely believed could win over the socialistic message of Sanders and Clinton's campaigns.

In my opinion, it was Kasich that ultimately ruined the opportunity to pit the message of conservatism against the message of socialism.  Instead, 40% of the GOP was able to push the nomination of a man who had no proven record of conservatism (in fact, his public statements often showed the opposite), who was bombastic, who utilized his position to hurt other people whether that meant shorting people who contracted work for him or "grabbing [women who weren't his wife] by the pussy".  In essence, the election was about whether America was so tired of the crap slung at us for the last 8 years that we would elect a braying jackass over Hillary Clinton.  The answer, unfortunately was yes. 

I was heartbroken and angry.  Really?  Trump's biggest accomplishment over the last 8 years had been deciding if Omarosa or Brett Michaels was qualified to be an imaginary CEO!  His behavior thus far in the political arena was off-putting to say the least. 

Initially, it was Trump's boorish behavior and my disgust over Trump and his supporters smearing Cruz, a man who had a 97% score on the conservative scorecard, as "lying Ted" and their attacks on Cruz's wife, children and father, that led me to look at the "Never Trump" hashtag.  I tried out the #NeverTrump tag on my Twitter account.  It was then that the crazies started coming out of the woodwork.  I was put in groups by his supporters with ominous and hateful sounding names.  I was told, "When Trump is elected, he and his followers will make NeverTrump idiots (like me) pay."  Racist epithets were thrown at me.  It was assumed that I was homosexual, fat, ugly, liberal...the list goes on and on.  With every personal attack and threat, I became more and more convinced that NeverTrump was a good idea because it meant that no matter what, nobody could say that I was in league with these people.  I comforted myself with the thought that these psychos were the fringe.  Once he got the nomination, I felt like the vast majority were making a Faustian Bargain in the hope that they would get something rather than lose everything with the election of Hillary Clinton.  I was soon relieved of that notion.

As more and more mainstream Republican voices (Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, etc.) got on the Trump train, I started seeing the darker picture.  It was a picture that, until now, I felt only existed in the mind of the craziest, moonbat liberal.  People who called into those shows made statements like, "If (insert name of politician here) didn't get in line and support Trump, they were going to be out of a job in the upcoming election!"  The hosts, rather than encouraging their listeners to take a look at (aforementioned politician)'s record and judging whether they had a record of voting for conservative values, instead either said nothing or encouraged and agreed with the caller.  My local conservative radio talk show hosts actually threatened the politicians themselves with recall votes and lost elections if they did not get in line with Trump and whatever he said that day.  Reince Preibus, head of the GOP, threatened those conservative members of his party that if they did not come out and support Donald Trump that the GOP would make sure that they had no GOP support for their coming races and stated outright that the GOP would not support them if they wanted to run for President again.  This last move was directed especially at Ted Cruz who had to decide between losing his job and giving up his political aspirations, or publicly endorsing a man who ridiculed the appearance of his wife and kids, and slandered the name of his father.  When he chose the latter, people who I had considered decent people of solid character crowed and celebrated it as if it would have somehow been a victory to lose one of the very few legitimate conservative voices in Congress.  Seriously, out of the 435 members of Congress, 18 have voted for conservative principles 90% or more of the time and these people who claimed to be conservative were celebrating that number dropping to 17.  It was then that I realized that the frenzied zealots weren't just the fringe supporters but aspects of the crazy fringe had infiltrated and infected the mainstream.  The ramifications of this are indeed horrible.

At this point, I don't really know what to do.  I am a person without a party.  I believe in the principles of smaller government, fiscal conservatism, and constitutional rights.  However, I no longer feel connected to the party that I once supported wholeheartedly.  While I wouldn't say that I am afraid of any individual or group, I am sickened by the knowledge that my country and my countrymen are afflicted by a sort of collective madness in which they will simply support anyone if the letter behind their name is an R or a D rather than finding out if this person truly believes any of the same things that they claim to value.    I wonder, what happened to the USA?