Upholding Conservatism and the Doing of the Thing

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Some years back, Christian singer/songwriter Bob Bennett’s first marriage fell apart. While working through the resulting detritus, he crafted this song examining how the outward trappings of marriage were, and are, meaningless minus the actual vows and commitment that make marriage what it is supposed to be. Namely, a God-ordained holy union.

This song came to mind while sifting through the assorted and occasionally sordid responses to a recent post regarding the Nancy Mace — Marjorie Taylor Greene spat. (Speaking of which, I highly recommend reading Bonchie’s take on the political implications — more accurately, the lack thereof — of the matter.) In it, I proposed in lieu of social media feuding the two should sit down together and work out their differences in an adult fashion. Alarmingly, many completely ignored this focal point in favor of variations on a theme of Rep. Greene as conservatism’s latest YASSS QWEEN. Because she fights, or something.

It is alarming how behavior properly relegated to a children’s playground is accepted and excused the moment politics and its various living chess pieces become involved. The cries of “they started it” ring throughout social media whenever suggestions of turning down the rhetoric and turning up the rapport arise. Fight fire with fire, comes the battle cry. Sometimes, yes. But far more often, this approach’s sole achievement is transforming a victorious opportunity into a tendentious draw solving nothing. Always using the other side’s tactics against them embraces shortsightedness; a one-note samba on a polyphonic keyboard. If the opposition demonstrates addiction to self-defeating practices, politely step aside and let them carry on.

Polite rebuttal rooted in facts and reason invariably carries more impact than trying to outshout the other side. Responding to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent tweets regarding the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments regarding the Mississippi Gestational Age Act would be a case in point.

There are two possible responses. The first would be calling AOC every name in the book. The second would be a straightforward disproval of her every attempted point. No, there are no credible, corroborated accusations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh. No, Donald Trump did not attempt overthrowing the United States government. No, three judges on a nine-judge court will not and cannot by themselves decide anything. “Legalize forcing people to give birth against their will” implies most, if not all, pregnancies stem from the spontaneous generation of a baby, which will come as quite a surprise to the science we are constantly lectured to trust. Finally, “legitimacy requires consent of the governed” implies we function in a majority-rule democracy, which is not the case. The United States is a constitutional republic. It also bears mention that throughout history, the consent of the governed has been anything but a consistent upholder of what is considered good. The governed consented to crucify Christ. The governed consented via silence and obedience to the Holocaust. The list goes on.

The notion that unwavering adherence to conservative principles automatically switches on street fighter mode is nothing new. Of course there are times when one must hoist the black flag and/or get in the trenches. That said, there are far more times when one can, and should, disarm the opposition with a smile and unrelenting doses of facts, logic, and reason. Remember Paul’s words:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Be the adult in the room. Demonstrate conservatism’s superiority by being the better. Set aside childish ways and excuses for same. Think. Lay down the empty symbolism of being a “fighter.” Instead, embrace the doing of the thing. Always.