It’s gone from annoying to maddening, to downright embarrassing as a conservative in America these days. Defending our once-shared philosophy from the usual suspects is bad enough, but having to give a disclaimer with every statement I make is just as bad.
“No, I don’t support that.”
“No, I would never say that.”
“That’s not who we really are.”
“No, I didn’t vote for him.”
“No, I didn’t vote for her either.”
I’m so sick wanting to say, “I told you so.”
Every day, there’s something new. We are 116 days into a presidency we feared, and not only have I been vindicated for things I warned of nearly a year ago (it’s called foresight, not “sour grapes”), but the constant tide of scandal and mistruths is more than I prepared for. I knew he was impulsive, but my Lord…
To make matters worse, I’m either being patronized by liberals as “one of the only honest Republicans” out there, or having to ignore or fight the trumpikazis for speaking truth to power.
The last eight years, I was spiritually at peace criticizing a man with whom I disagreed on almost everything, because I didn’t have to fight my friends to stand against stupidity. In fact, I was able to stand with thousands at outdoor rallies, hold signs on street corners and knock doors across the street from people who now call me “cuck,” “snowflake,” “princess,” and yes, even a liberal. *shiver* As though my opposition to a single politician is tantamount to a 180° reversal of my long-held philosophy on government and society.
You know who I’m talking about. We all deal with them.
Since I fought against Donald’s attempt to take over the Reform Party during my college years (yes, I grew up and came back home, politically), I’ve had no problem speaking truth to power, or to the masses. So, I was an old hand in fighting against his attempt to take over the Republican Party. I can take the hits. But, I’m just tired of it. I’m tired of the daily press de-briefings (yes, that’s what I meant), #FakeNews accusations (which ironically once referred to trumphumping sites from the campaign), and scandals that make me choose between my core beliefs and my fellow man.
It feels like the conservative world has become that awkward dinner with a group of friends where everyone is irritated by everyone else, but especially that loud one that Dan invited. He won’t shut up, says things that make us cringe, rates our wives on a 10-scale, and makes us sound nuts to the neighbors. He’ll be gone eventually, but no one wants to show him the door soon enough. Thanks, Dan!
I feel like before 2015, most of the conservative world was like Pangea, united behind a general idea. We often had family squabbles about hip new words we’d learn but didn’t understand like “cloture” and “continuing resolution,” but ultimately, conservatism was describable. Now, I feel like I’m one of thousands of islands spread across the Pacific, with no land mass to call our home. There’s no common thread connecting us anymore, and we’re left having to rough the seas to find kindred spirits. Or even common definitions of English words.
I’m no stranger to fierce debate. I live in Wisconsin – do I need to explain? I once even got into the political weeds with a friend I’ve known since birth; she’s a vocal Democrat supporter. But all it took was a few months and a family cookout to realize there’s something beyond politics that we can all enjoy. We aren’t enemies, we’re neighbors. We may live on different sides, but share the same street.
It’s tough to think about all those nice things though when every time I open Facebook or Twitter, or turn on the TV I see something else ridiculously stupid or downright dishonest that was done by my president. And, by association, my Party. The news is like taking a sip out of a fire hydrant.
I need a mental vacay sometimes.
Ok, I went out and mowed the lawn.
BACK TO WHERE I STARTED
I care about politics, because, well, it’s how I’m made. I can’t change it. And the political world will never be a quiet circle hug, but it doesn’t have to be a circular firing squad either. I just want my friends back. I want my Party back. How can I fight for the constitution of the United States when I can’t say water is wet without a former friend yelling at me for twisting the truth? How can I encourage the conservative world, of which I’m a part, without being called a Democrat? How can I walk through the halls of a Church without seeing an image of that pastor standing next to an adulterer and cover photo of his Playboy interview? How can we build trust with each other while insisting half the country is either stupid, or lying? I still want to contribute a voice to the conversation, but I don’t want to be doing so from such a cynical place.
The greatest legacy of the trump candidacy and presidency that followed is that conservatives became as inconsistent as we felt liberals were, our Churches lost the moral authority of their gospel witness, and the more serious of us out there withdrew from the common conversation because we just wanted to live life.
But, that would mean I lose something I still love. I don’t want to lose politics, or my friends, or my conscience. And after this year, I may only be left with the latter.
Forever in the fight,