I got a sinking feeling during the late stages of the TeaParty and later the 2016 campaign that the emotion being whipped up for the previous eight years was poorly understood. “Screw the GOP elites,” everyone cried. The Republican party was playing too nice with the Dems. Erick and some of the other front pagers tried to make “Mitch-slapped” a thing before McConnell quickly reverted to establishment-mode. Others got caught up in The Polls are Lying (In 2012-14 they weren’t). Heck I remember John Boehner decried as The Orange Man before anyone gave Trump’s tan or hair the time of day. Most everyone was wringing their hands and ringing the bell of Obama and the progressives as an existential threat to civilization!
Well, what do people do when told there is an existential threat? We had stoked an angry, desperate mob somehow hoping it would be controllable. But it is an angry mob who for eight years was told they need not be controlled by anyone but themselves. Politics is at its core about survival; about who can help you survive. Suddenly the mob was told it was no longer worthy of survival by those that formed it because a few screwball infiltrators were loudly trumpeted by the media who was going to hate them anyway. And for the first time, we believed the media’s universal-guilt by association over them.
There is an old anti-drug PSA from the 80s where Dad confronts his son about his stash of hash and hotly asks where he learned such things in the first place. His response is the iconic “I learned it from watching you!” Trump did not rise in a vacuum.
Principles are great. Blending politics with any applicable principles in a world who’s foundation is compromise is a rare feat indeed. The Church, who lost their front in the culture war a century ago may be better off for it. People have finally started sticking around for God, not the social club. But as a person of faith who’s concern is not to be for things of this world, perhaps staking loud positions on most things of this world beyond the personal is hypocritical: Jesus only ever got angry when God was used as a prop for someone else’s cause. With that we can be skeptical of church leaders who have become cultists, not just for Trump, but for the GOP for the last 50 years.
Many believers simply leave politics alone for those reasons. Obviously we here cannot just disengage in a democracy where we can still have some choice. But, there must be an ability in democracy to select a least-bad option without planting a flag on every facet. Yeah, we need to call the President on the missteps, just like we did for GWB. There were lots of GWB cultists in his day. But we need to leave the deranged outrage to the left, because we still do not share their end game AT ALL. Lending them legitimacy in that is just as bad as the legitimacy Trump supposedly brings to their other faults.
Don’t call me an enabler or a cultists because I don’t OMG at every Trumpian misstep. The Progressives got where they are through being happy with the little imperfect victories. And fighting through culture first, letting that flow down to popular politics. Like many I had to step back and take a breath for a year or three, but this is what we’ve got, and I want to fight *for* something.