Donald Trump is an existential threat to Traditional America.
“Tradition” –in the sense I use it here– is not synonymous with “hidebound”, or even simply the idiosyncratically stubborn. I mean “traditional” in its most honorable sense: the collective knowledge of scores of generations over hundreds of years, passed down –one to the next– defining what is decent, what is moral, what works and what doesn’t. Indeed, what affirms life and glorifies that which is good.
The entirety of the Western Judeo-Christian Enlightenment was a celebration of such defining, cataloging and collating the traditions and cultural institutions that work best for the greatest swath of humanity. We emerged as a people from a very dark epoch where the lives of the Everyman were defined by Hobbes as (wait for it) “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.
In those dreary centuries, The Divine Right of Kings was a scythe as broad and swift as it was sharp.
And so, as Readers Digest might distill it: Several dozen refugees from the religious wars in England crept aboard a rickety boat, braved every dreadful doom, and washed up on the shores of Plymouth Rock. There, the slate was washed clean. The kernel of the sovereign individual was planted.
Oh, I know: It’s at this point we are required to throw in the usual pearl-clutching about European treatment of the aboriginal peoples already living in North America. Some of this history is indeed nauseatingly bleak (Andrew Jackson, call your office), but, in the main, the steady march of human history is one of endless capture and dispossession. And the Enlightenment sought ways to –at least– curtail this bleakness
Out of this rose a moral code: Respect others with the dignity commanded by God Almighty, for each was endowed by Him, and made in His image. You mess with that, you mess with God Himself. Simple, yet not easy. We fought wars over this, packed courtrooms over it, sat at lunchcounters over it.
This is our lodestar, our taproot, our keystone, whatever: From this flows all else. Individual freedom, justice, liberty, and a governmental structure thus laid down with a moral authority no government before established among men.
This is why we insist —insist-– that our leaders at least enrobe themselves in the patina of gentlemanly comport.
A humbleness of Spirit.
Probably more than any one particular thing, the profane and vulgar have no place in American leadership. It doomed Richard Nixon: when (according to the tapes he himself provided) it became apparent that the President was sounding like a foul-mouthed bouncer at a Newark blind pig, Nixon was toast. “Expletive Deleted” did more to bring down the Nixon White House than any other single thing, in my view. Our President must sound like a gentleman, not a hoodlum.
As a people, we know this instinctively.
Words mean things, and are a window to ones thought-ways, spirit and soul. Dignity. Respect.
That Donald Trump is vulgar, patronizing, petty and foul-mouthed isn’t about him— it’s about us. And his victory would be a vicious kick in the teeth for a culture already teetering. I am a patriotic, small-government, constitutional conservative, and have been my whole life. Yes, Hillary Clinton is a detestable, lying, deceitful Marxist hag. The destruction she will sow will be quite thorough.
Hillary Clinton will not, however, destroy the Office of the Presidency, as the seat of moral, righteous constitutional Citizen Governance. Donald Trump will. And, from this flows a number of very serious reasons Donald Trump must lose:
1) A Donald Trump victory would warp and distend the way we chose our leaders.
Gone would be the ability of the truly humble to seek positions of servant leadership, of civic-minded goodness, through hard work and diligence. The floodgates would be open, and, in culture that already gets too much of a kick out of celebrity chic, our Presidents will now be culled exclusively from the legions of rap moguls, gossip wags, professional athletes, the idle wealthy and movie stars. Great. Presidents would no longer be servant leaders who become celebrities, but merely celebrities further aggrandized.
2) A Donald Trump victory would fundamentally alter presidential elections away from ideological battles toward personality struggles.
If you ask any Donald Trump supporter what specific, concrete policy he advocates that makes him their candidate, not only don’t they have any idea, they actually bristle at the thought that the question is even posed. This election is about who Donald Trump is, not what Donald Trump thinks. Listen to his stream-of-conscience blather at one of his Klan Rallies: All about personality: His, his opponents, or other unfortunates that cross his path. Ideas, proposals, and simple world-view are never broached.
3) A Donald Trump victory will poison the integrity of our electoral system.
When we hearken back to Florida in the waning days of 2000, we remember fondly the footage of unknown county canvassers trying to determine if a “chad” was hanging, a swinging door, or a faint punch. We watched the sheer drama of a live video feed of a Ryder-truck driving down the expressway… taking sealed ballot boxes to the state court of appeals. While all of this was entertaining, it was almost universally understood that –whatever the outcome in the courts at the time– the actual vote of the people of Florida was taken with the utmost seriousness. Pathetically, we are now treated to Donald Trump as he and his nauseating surrogates drone on and on about “fairness” and “rigged systems” –to the point that certain sectors of the voting public are convinced that shadowy Party Establishment Bigwigs somehow beholden to Diebold just choose the winners of elections at their corporate headquarters. I kid you not. Peruse the comments section at Brietbart for confirmation.
I won’t go into the irony of a billionaire with his own jet complaining about either “fairness” or “rigged systems”, but, yes, American elections are not perfect (no man-scented undertaking is). Compared to almost any other nation that chooses it’s leaders by ballot, however, our elections have been remarkably clean and peaceful– given their longevity, the number of elective offices to be filled nearly continuously, and the sheer number of the voting public population. A Trump victory will mean that those seeking office will rightly view his successful efforts at this “election nullification” of a sort as way to contest elections when there is no evidence to support fraud or hanky-panky of an sort.
4) A Donald Trump victory will give the imprimatur of acceptability to “Nationalism”.
Now, granted, most of Donald Trump’s mouth-breathing cast-off extras from Deliverance think “nationalism” is the same thing as “Patriotism” or “Americanism” (both of which I cheeringly support). But what stump-tooth morons think the definition of certain words are is not the test: The test is what the words actually mean. I, for one, do not want some future Donald Trump cyborg clone “nationalizing” things like gas stations, grocery stores and hotels like they’ve done in vacation hot-spots such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Our government already effectively has nationalized the education system, the banking system, the agriculture sector, the energy sector and now even the internet. I want the federal government to leave me the hell alone, not seize more of my property and liberty.
5) A Donald Trump victory will make “self-funding” Virtuous.
Make no mistake: The uber wealthy, who must answer to no one, given carte blanche to buy and sell elections with their own check-books is not “virtuous”. It is dynastic and aristocratic, and we have fought wars and revolutions against aristocracy. We have no primogeniture in America, either, (eh, maybe the Bush’s and the Kennedy’s…) for a reason: Those who can “self-fund” a campaign are no more wise than those who have to ask 10,000 people for a hundred bucks each. Further, the responsiveness to the people of “self-funded” candidates in the past is fairly dismal: Hoover, Bloomberg, Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney come to mind. It was of no particular comfort to the people of New York that, while they were digging out after two weeks from a New England blizzard that no one had donated to Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign, and he was luxuriating on the veranda in Bermuda.
They made a great deal of hay over Jimmy Carter’s peanut-farming. But, say what you will about the cardigan-clad fraud from Plains: It was a great testament about the American System that an unknown man, who worked as an eight-year old boy selling boiled peanuts on Main Street could grow up to lead the nation. In the last century, we’ve had school teachers (LBJ), men’s clothiers (Truman), male models (Ford), lemon farmers (Nixon), and actors (duh) become President. That such humble people could become the Leader allows each of us to have a stake in the office itself. If only billionaires need apply, we have become a shallow rump of a society, lead only by a tiny minority people who share no commonality with the people they seek to lead– and the led feel no connectivity to their leaders.
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That a Hillary Clinton presidency is a dystopian nightmare goes without saying. It seems cliched –even somehow trite– to have to mention this grotesquely damnable fact. But, I have only explored the contours of what a disaster a Trump victory will mean to our presidential and cultural/electoral structure. Later, I will delve more into the irreparable damage a Trump victory will mean to the Republican Party, the Conservative Movement and our nation as a whole.