I guess I should address this, since everyone else across social media seems to be talking about it.
Erick addressed it quite adequately, yesterday, as to what RedState once was, and where it seems to be going. I hope you’ll bear with me a bit, as I attempt to work through some things here, on my own. As one of the ones who got that uncomfortable boot out the door, I do have a few things to say.
So, to begin, I was one of six prominent personalities bounced from the RedState roster on Friday.
It feels really weird to refer to myself as a “prominent personality.” I’m no Caleb or Ben Howe. I certainly haven’t been in the game as long as my fellow exiles. Please allow me a bit of latitude, as I work through this.
I woke up early Friday morning, as has been my habit for the last several years, and began scanning headlines to find something to discuss on the front page of RedState. I was always eager to get to work, and would actually feel stress if I didn’t get an early start.
I was dedicated.
I knew something was amiss when I saw I was not logged in on the front page. After manually changing my password, I found that, even as I was logged in, the front page looked different. There was no function for me to submit my work.
I shot off a quick text to Caleb Howe, our faithful leader, asking: “Was I fired?”
IT WAS A JOKE, PEOPLE!
I got a call from Caleb shortly after: YES. “Yes, you were fired. So was I.”
I didn’t believe it. I could feel a cold knot raise in my throat. The neurons in my brain began firing back and forth, as I tried to process what I was hearing. It wasn’t real. There was something I wasn’t getting from those words… “you were fired.”
It was an all-too-recent, familiar, but less intense feeling - déjà vu. Only three weeks earlier, to the day, I got the call from my sobbing mama, telling me my oldest brother, Clay, had suffered a massive heart attack, one that took him from this mortal coil instantly.
In that instance, I also tried to rationalize what the words from the other end of the phone had spoken… “He’s gone”… because “He’s gone” couldn’t really mean he was gone. It had to mean something else, and if I could get my mind lined up right, I could navigate through the words to make everything ok.
And “you were fired” didn’t mean I wasn’t working for RedState, anymore. It just meant Caleb had to work through some things.
An email from Jonathan Garthwaite sort of snapped me out of that haze of denial.
They were making changes, effective immediately, and could no longer maintain the same roster of writers.
As was mentioned by Erick, it was under the guise of an economic restructuring, and there may be some truth to that.
RedState runs by views. The more views, the healthier the site.
I wasn’t the best writer at the site. I’m under no illusion. I was, as I’ve pointed out, dedicated, and I jealously chased after trending stories or cultural interest pieces, in the attempt to draw eyes to the front page. Because of that, I was one of the top writers there, drawing a minimum of 800k, most every month. Quite often, I was the top writer each month.
I’m saying none of this to toot my own horn, I promise.
I’m saying this because I want there to be no misunderstanding – I wanted RedState to succeed. I wanted my fellow writers to succeed. And yes, it was also nice that I could pay my bills with the work I did there.
To that point, I was also being paid less for my work than some of the other writers.
Without giving the exact numbers, out of respect for those still there, I’ll say it was a considerable amount less.
So let’s do the economic math:
Most views for the site + less payout for the work = Gotta get rid of her!
So what do all the RedState exiles have in common?
A noted disdain for this new culture of Trumpism being passed off as “conservatism.”
There are still a couple of non-Trumpians left at the site (all excellent writers, who deserve to be supported), but as Ben Howe so aptly pointed out, the consistency isn’t with who was left, but who was let go.
I could feel a lot of ways about this, and believe me, I do.
I’m hurt. I’m disoriented. The dark cloud of, “Now what?” is hovering overhead, threatening to snatch the breath from my lungs.
I feel my dedication to the site, my loyalty was betrayed, in service to the orange.
Everything Trump touches dies.
I also feel grateful.
It seems kind of weird to be able to cut through everything else and still find that little diamond of goodness, but there it is.
I’m grateful, because RedState was dropped in my lap – March 16, 2016 – at a time I was praying fervently to God for a means to support myself, and still be allowed to be home with my daddy, who was drifting ever further into the grasp of dementia. He needed me here. He couldn’t be left alone, and Mama was still working full time (at 75, she still does).
My belief that RedState was an answer to prayers is one very strong reason that I was so dedicated to the site, and to doing all I could to promote it, and to support it with my efforts.
Was God unfair? Did the same God that opened the door for me slam it in my face?
No. He put me there for a season, and for a purpose. This, I am sure of.
I love the Amplified Bible’s interpretation of Romans 8:28 –
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
I’ve seen this truth play out in my life, so often.
I’ve also seen the victory dance of some RedState alum, who rushed over to Erick’s post here, to condemn me for my anti-Trump posts there.
You’d think they’d just be happy I was gone, wouldn’t you?
But this is the dire age of Trumpism. It is an infection, and it has brought the nastiest element out of people, who may not have even realized they had it in them, before seeing it in a president made it “cool.”
If you stand against Trump, those who have staked their identity in Trumpism want you destroyed.
That is not hyperbole. It is the frightening reality of what has become of the political “right,” now that Trump has been introduced into the bloodstream.
It is a great chasm, with partisans on one side and principles-rooted conservatives on the other side.
To the partisans, their loyalty is to the face of the party, which would be Trump, in this case. In fact, so loyal are they to Trump, they’d gladly burn the entire Republican party to the ground over even a breath of dissent.
Any mention of “principle” elicits a violent reaction, filled with cursing, sneers, and somehow, immediately connects the one using the term to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. That's something that would really strike them as odd, if they had any self-awareness.
Trumpists do not like the word “principles.”
For those who are principles-rooted, our objection to Trump is based on the belief that corrupt men cannot make fair or competent leaders.
Donald Trump is neither a moral, nor a just man. Were he at least a good man, many of us would be willing to defend him, or at least hold our fire.
He’s given us little reason to believe he is capable of becoming a moral or just man. He brings out the worst in people because he is an awful person given a powerful platform, and we would rather stand on principle than kneel at an altar of partisan idolatry.
That is an irritant for those who can’t let go of the belief that we’re just one government program away from Utopia, and Trump is the man with the plan – the messiah about to bring this nation back to greatness.
Hmmm… That sounds familiar, but I can’t place it.
So which side is correct? Who owns the right to refer to themselves as the true conservatives?
Everybody has an opinion. I guess a lot of it depends on what you believe conservatism to be.
With all that said, the purge of anti-Trump voices from RedState is a symptom of a problem. It is not, however, the last word.
I do feel that the chilling message sent to those who were allowed to remain is that their speech regarding Trump will be monitored.
Whatever it takes to bring that utopia, right?
I guess what I’m trying to get out there is that I will be ok.
No, I don’t like what was done, how it was carried out yesterday. Caleb, Jay, Ben, Neil, Patrick, and myself – we all deserved better.
And I don’t know if I’ll ever get a gig like RedState again. I’m so thankfully for Erick and the folks here at the Resurgent, however, who have made me feel so welcome, from the first day.
What I know is, God is faithful. He’s stronger than any political system, any government, any single personality. He has carried me this far. He will continue to carry me.
My job is to let go and trust.