A few weeks ago I wrote an article that ended up going viral about what I had made of Trump’s rise. In it, I admitted that I had been dishonest with myself and how I looked at people I’d thought of as allies and how my complacency with their insanity is a perfect example of how Trump was enabled to win the GOP nomination.
My conclusion was that being allies with someone you only agree with 70% of the time is fine as long as the other 30% doesn’t conflict with your core values, because if you let it slide, you may find yourself surrounded by people who are mostly concerned with that 30% you were hoping would be swept under the carpet.
The reaction was mixed to say the least. The left responded first, pushing the article around as an example of conservatives coming to terms with the state of their party, as well as a vindication of sorts that what we had been denying was true, namely that we had extremists in our ranks.
They’re not wrong. In fact, it would be difficult to claim otherwise considering Trump’s rise. Spend five minutes interacting with a devoted Trump fan and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. If you were an early tea party protestor, you may even cringe when you recall rolling your eyes at someone just like them back in 2009 and maybe you, like me, quietly told yourself there weren’t that many who thought that way. Obviously we were wrong.
But one response I got on twitter got me thinking.
So ur saying if Ted Cruz won, everything would be cool? https://t.co/f5VktgojHJ
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) May 4, 2016
It’s a snarky reply, but a valid question. Is my coming to Jesus on this really just about my preferred candidate losing? Had Ted Cruz won, would I still be spending my time cheering the right, denying extremism in our ranks, claiming the racists had been purged and ignoring the crazy people on my side?
I think there’s a good chance the answer is yes. And I think that’s precisely why, as much as he disgusts me, Donald Trump’s nomination was necessary.
A lot of my detractors from the left are sort of poo-pooing my epiphany by saying I should’ve spoken up sooner or as one person tweeted, don’t feign sadness that you have fleas after lying down with dogs.
I get the disdain, distasteful as I may find it, and obviously having an epiphany about the blind rage and extremism on my side doesn’t suddenly excuse all of the awful things I’ve seen come from the left’s own gutters (yes, we all have our scum), but it does make me realize that lying to yourself is easy when you have an eye on a prize.
When I used to run cross-country track in high school (yes folks, I was thin and in shape once) I would find markers when I was running and tell myself I only needed to get to that marker and then I could stop. In truth, I knew that I was not going to stop. But it was a way of mildly tricking my brain into going just a little further.
This is what life had become as a conservative. I wanted small government, low taxes, less regulation, all the stuff we always talk about. I knew there were people on my side that I didn’t like but I always felt like we were so close to that goal and that if we could just get there, things would improve for everyone and the crazies would become less relevant.
Talk about naive.
And had Cruz won, I would’ve continued on that path. Continued believing we were within arms length of true conservative achievement. I was out of breath and exhausted, but the goal was in reach. Like a jogger putting aside the pain and exhaustion, I would’ve just pushed all of those noises about the bad people on my side away while I kept my eye on the conservative prize.
So in answer to that tweet, yes, everything would’ve been cool. But we also would’ve been doomed. Because our side would still be the home of rage and thoughtlessness. Still the home of selfishness and sadism. Still a place that had people who weren’t satisfied simply saying illegal immigrants should go back to Mexico, but would happily applaud sending them back knowing the cartel was waiting to cut their heads off. A side that hears a story about a family being evicted from their home and says “well, they should’ve paid their bills.” A side that says a kid who was shot to death should’ve lived in a better neighborhood.
Our side, no matter who our leader ended up being, has begun to revel in a misguided sense of justice that wants to laugh at the pain of others in order to feel better about their own.
To be clear, this isn’t everyone. But this is the loudest part. And it’s the part that got a man who acts exactly like them one heartbeat from the oval office.
There will be plenty of people who will continue to say this is all just me blowing kisses to the left. Or who will say that I’m just trying to get attention.
They’ll say that because our outrage peddlers have trained them to think that decency is weakness.
But in the back of their minds, they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And I hope they wake up to it and start admitting it just as I have.
No, I don’t think the left is free of anything I’m describing. Far from it. But I’m not here to clean up the left, I’m here to clean up the right.
We lost this nomination, not to the left, but to ourselves. To who we had become. And thank God we did. Because banding together to stop Trump from stepping foot in the White House may be the only thing that saves the conservative soul and starts to pull us back to our principles and patriotism and away from this nonstop orgy of hate and anger.
I wanted Ted Cruz or someone like him to be president. But we weren’t ready. We had to go through this first.
It’s time to accept that we didn’t just lose to Trump’s wing of the party because we deserved to. We lost to them because we needed to. To quote so many on our side these last several months: we needed to burn the whole thing down.
But not out of anger. But for sanctification. Not out of sorrow. But for repentance. Not to hasten death. But to enable rebirth.
So in a weird way, thank you Donald Trump. You may very well have saved conservatism from itself. I can’t wait to help you succeed by defeating you.