Login

The RedState Purge: Where I'm at, Where I'm Going

Everybody has a take on Friday's RedState purge of anti-Trump conservatives, but I'm one who actually experienced it.

I guess I should address this, since everyone else across social media seems to be talking about it.

The Purge.

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.

Why changes?

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!

Something smells.

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.

Thank you!

1

It's a logical assumption, given the lack of any apology or even remorse. He doesn't deny the allegations (at least not any more), he just fights to keep the women from talking about them.

2

To CMacchiato: The issue is that people are not to be judged on logical assumptions. They are to be judged on evidence. In our legal system, the standard is “innocent until proven guilty.” The Biblical standard is, “by the testimony of two or three witnesses – Deuteronomy 19:15. In John 8, Jesus let the adulterous woman go free because he followed the law and there were not any witnesses remaining. Assumptions about Trump’s guilt can also work both ways. If somebody is falsely accused, it would be ridiculous for them to show remorse and confess to a crime they didn’t commit. Also, because there is no recent accusation against Trump participating in this behavior – and people are certainly looking for that evidence – one could also assume that his past behavior has changed. As far as I know, there are no women within the last 10 years who are accusing Trump of any adulterous affairs – so one can only assume these women exist. If you have evidence of a more recent accusation, please post it. If one is in the practice of making assumptions, one could also assume that Trump’s lawyer paid the porn star accusing him because there is no way to disprove an alleged event from 10 years ago. We live in a world of false accusations – and I could cite numerous examples of that happening. People and companies sometimes make settlement agreements to avoid a prolonged court fight and avoid bad press coverage. This doesn’t mean that the accusations against Trump from a decade are false. But it does mean that they could be false, leading to reasonable doubt, unless one assumes that Trump is guilty – which is what people who believe in the rule of law are not supposed to do.

1

As you stated, "innocent until proven guilty" is a standard of our legal system. We're not trying him in a court of law. Absent the kind of evidence that would be introduced at a trial, we form opinions based on observations and past behavior. Am I going to state unequivocally that he has cheated on Melania in the past decade or so? No. I understand what you're saying - you'd rather assume the best of someone. I don't think there's anything wrong, though, with reaching an opinion based on available information as long as we don't run around spreading it as the truth.

3

To CMacchiato: Thanks for your response. The issue is that Susan (and others) are claiming that unprovable allegations are true, when they can only assume that these allegations are true: “Yes. We know the stories are true.” As you point out, Trump is not being tried in court. However, Trump has been pronounced guilty by people with Susan’s mindset. It doesn’t matter to Susan that no women in the last 10 years has come forth with any credible evidence of Trump committing recent adultery, even though such evidence would probably get an automatic million dollar book deal. Trump’s confession of serial adultery is from a 1987 book in which he wrote: "If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller” – quoted from https://www.thedailybeast.com/christians-cringe-at-donald-trumps-sexy-past. As I read that passage, I wonder if Trump was only bragging to feed his ego – as some men are known to do. There is a big difference between letting God judge Trump’s behavior of 30 years ago and arguing that all “good Christians” are called to pronounce a guilty sentence on Trump, with no chance of any amount of non-adulterous behavior ever allowing him to overcome his past misdeeds. While this is a moral issue to Susan, it is also a moral issue to me. I am not defending adultery. I am arguing that it is wrong to pronounce somebody guilty based on assumptions, and to ignore that the primary meaning of repentance is a change of behavior.

1

We aren't assuming anything, we are taking him at his word, and the word of his porn star mistresses.

2

To Chevy99: Trump actually denied having had the affair with the porn star: "The president doesn't believe that any of the claims that Ms Daniels made last night in her interview were accurate," said spokesman Raj Shah = quote is from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43549767. The only other witness to this alleged affair is Daniels, who signed a non-disclosure agreement prepared by Trump’s attorney (Michael Cohen) in exchange for $130K in funds. Is there a possible reason that somebody would pay $130K to silence allegations that were false? Here is Cohen’s response from the same BBC article: "Just because something isn't true doesn't mean that it can't cause you harm or damage," Mr Cohen said in a mid-February statement. I will always protect Mr Trump." If one assumes that Daniels allegations could be false – which nobody but Daniels, Trump and God knows for sure, Daniels was in the perfect position to blackmail Trump by making allegations of an adulterous affair days before an election – especially given her salacious history as a porn star. The importance of making this news public was so important to Daniels that she took the non-disclosure money, only to later violate her promised silence. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, so Daniels waited over a year of his candidacy before threatening to come forth in the days before the election – when it could do maximum damage. Trump is not denying that he had adulterous affairs before that time or that he was a womanizer. I am still waiting on evidence that Trump had an adulterous affair in the past 10 years. If you have that evidence, bring it forth. If not, then you should admit that you are only assuming such evidence exists.

1

I didn't know that "DavidMKern" was one of trump's many aliases....

2

LOL!

Susan, count me as one more fan and former lurker on RedState that moved to the Resurgent once I realized you were writing here. The folks there didn't even have the decency to properly address the purge, focusing instead on "server issues" that had me believing that you'd be back posting once IT problems had been addressed. With streiff now handing out diary privileges like candy, they'll have the echo chamber they've always wanted.

(edited)

And Susan - thank you (and Caleb, and Ben, and Erick) for showing me that American Conservatism does have a principled side that is willing to take a stand - especially among those that claim to be Christian. Your faith and example speak volumes that all the apologetics in the world cannot.

1

I appreciate that, Sir, and yes. The bosses over RedState [Salem Media] told the remaining writers NOT to address the 'purge.' Bad for business, I suppose.

Susan, I have been a fan of many of your articles on RS. I had been offline for a couple of weeks in the mountains so when I got back online and noticed you and others gone from RS I was saddened but not shocked, as you guys were not the lockstep followers. I have always been a HUGE fan of Erik and am glad I can now put RS on the back burner and spend more time at The Resurgent! PS learning that hitting return is a bad thing lol

1

Susan, good to see you land here. I was a RedState member. I'll be sure to follow along with your future articles here. They were always a great perspective.

This purge demonstrates the whole-hearted embrace of President Trump that I feared. I'm a strong proponent of the conservative principles dictated by President Reagan: free enterprise, strong defense, and pro-family social values. On each account I can see some key deterioration. Yes there are conservatives still in power in places in the administration and certainly in Congress keeping the president's worse impulses in check. But as time continues, more staff get fired or resign, and Congress potentially flips to the Democrats, who will champion any of those conservative principles?

To that end, I think it's important for true Republican conservatives to hold the President accountable, and it's a very bad sight to see any dissent snuffed out. Fear of criticism and loyalty-first have never been Republican principles, and I worry for what the party is becoming.

Chevy, I'm totally sorry for your pain, I've been there & with daily pain. I pretty much live on painkillers & muscle relaxers. 4 spine surgeries, 2 hip replacements... Yeah, there are many days that I've wanted to just... move on... But, God has given me SO many reasons for living - wife of 30+ years, 5 kids, 9 grandkids... Teaching in a tiny Christian Jr/Sr high School (I swore 30 years ago I'd never go back into a classroom... bunch of spoiled brats... but...), wonderful reading,learning new things & sharing with church small group, the kids, my kids... Watching our church explode with revival... All still in daily pain... Open you eyes & heart to what's around yo... and God. Please don't take your life, there's many reasons God still has you here.

I'm so sorry for your devastating experience! Anybody who has unexpectedly lost a job can understand (been there!). I completely agree with your faith in God .... as with me, I'm sure 100% of the time He has never let you down. On another note, I guess I'm on of those Trumpists you speak of but I don't agree with your asessment of my character. I hope the best for you Susan - You are a great writer and I completely admire your dedication and pray that it is rewarded.

1

I appreciate that. I can say I havent missed work. Besides the Resurgent, I was quickly offered my own column over at Patheos, called Susan Wright on the Right. Feel free to check it out.

Glad to see you landed on your feet Susan! After the purge, Redstate never received (nor will in the future) another click from me.

1

I appreciate the support.

Stories