Once upon a time, in a faraway land called America, there was a group of people called conservatives who believed in three things: national pride, fiscal responsibility and obeying God’s laws, sometimes in that exact order. They wanted to be seen as the moral backbone of American politics, as the guiding hand on the tiller of the great ship of state. But that was all a long time ago. Now, conservatives can be summed up in one word, the same word used to describe their leader: bankrupt
Let’s not mince words or dance around the issue: conservatism in America is morally bankrupt and in a few years, the antics of those in charge might leave America financially bankrupt as well, saddled with mounting debt while a few lucky ones grab most of the pie.
Remember when conservatives hated Obama because of his budget deficits? Remember how they said he was destroying America and its future with those deficits? Some of them hated them so much that they created the Tea Party whose influence would, by various ways and means, give us Trump who would earn untold praise from former Tea Party members by introducing a tax bill which increased the budget deficit…Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right! America will be saddled with more debt in the future because of the ‘fiscally responsible’ conservatives.
Anyone who follows Trump’s business dealings will know that Trump is a master of collecting debt and creating businesses that go bankrupt. But for his Russian handlers and his celebrity appearances, Trump has managed to stay afloat. It helps that the bank can’t afford to default on Trump because they’ll lose more money from his debt-collecting ways.
It’s not to laugh when people call Trump a ‘man of the people’ as if anyone can do what he did. Most people struggle to borrow money when only one of their companies goes bankrupt. Does everyone have a special holiday resort in Florida? Do thousands of blue-collar, out-of-work Trump supporters secretly have stock portfolios that no one talked about?
Of course, Trump had a great deal of support from the Christian evangelicals whose religious beliefs are partly dictated by their political leanings. If you’re a Democratic who has an affair with one of your aides, then you are Satan incarnate. If you’re a black man who becomes President, you are a herald of the end times when the heavens shall make war upon Bill ‘spawn of Satan’ Clinton.
If, on the other hand, you’re an orange-tangerine in a suit who sleeps with a porn star while your wife is bearing your third child, colludes with Russia to win the presidency, sexually harasses and abuses women while calling neo-Nazis ‘fine people’, then you are the Second Coming of Jesus, the saviour of the American people and a stand stone of morality that cannot and will not be judged by ordinary moral standards. With such flawless logic, you have to wonder why Christianity gets a bad reputation.
A full list of Trump’s misdeeds would fill an encyclopedia, but why waste the ink when they’re already well known? Yet, Trump’s actions reflect on those who brought him to power. All his cock-ups and controversies could all have been avoided if the Republicans had more backbone and stuck to their principles. If the evangelicals practiced what they preached. If conservatives rejected Trump’s ideology and recognized his short-sighted actions would spell disaster in the long run.
Maybe it’s a bit harsh to tar all conservatives with the same brush and in truth, it well might be. There are plenty of Republicans and conservatives who truly believe in fiscal responsibility and who deplore the actions of both Donald Trump and the Republican Party who enable them. Many of those same people may not listen to Fox News and recognize liberals aren’t a faceless enemy but simply people with different opinions and that’s okay. These are people who believe in the values of American democracy, who truly love their country and who expect those in power to respect their views and stand by them, defend the ideas and principles that do actually make America a great place to live.
But then again, this is the new way to do politics: use the example of a few bad apples to denounce the majority. Those decent conservatives are being drowned out in a sea of hyper-partisan statements and battles, their reasonable statements swept away by the tide of Trumpism.
The Republican party has basically thrown out all the old ways of sticking to one’s true beliefs and standing on the basis of honorable principle for the sake of power and money. They dishonor themselves by enabling Trump to have his way and their silence is harming American democracy. Everything they condemned Obama for, they let Trump do without even raising their voices. If Hillary Clinton did even a tenth of the things Trump has done, conservatives would be spitting nails and demand her resignation, yet they stay silent with Trump.
Maybe there was a good reason for voting Trump, just as there was probably a valid reason for Britain to leave the European Union. Those reasons mean nothing to the majority of people who saw the true Trump and tried to warn others. Hillary was far from perfect, as were many of the Republican candidates, but anyone would have been better than Trump. Yet, who cares as long as the conservatives get into power? Screw principles and screw democracy.
Trump will leave office one day, but for many, the damage has been done. Never again can the Republicans claim the moral high ground nor can they claim to be fiscally responsible. Never again can American conservatives rebuild the reputation they themselves tarnished. Some of the wounds may heal, but the divides are deeper now than they have ever been.
Here’s hoping Mueller provides us with a happy ending to this sad tale.