“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” -Thomas Jefferson
I miss you. I miss talking to you. I miss disagreeing with you. But most of all, I miss being able to honor your vision for the country, though it is not my own.
For almost a century, the conservative movement in America has been represented by the Republican party. But if you’re a conservative, do you truly agree with what the Republican party has come to represent?
When I think of the values of conservatism, I think of individual liberties, emphasis on small government, promotion of the free market, and deep love of the country. Yet, the Republican Party as represented during their
televised funeral procession national convention directly works against those things, especially since it has given the reins to racist Sunny D mascot Donald Trump. And as the Lord and Savior of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, would tell you, the effect is trickle-down.
None of what Trump has said he would bring to the presidency is in line with any of the principles I laid out above. His desire to place a ban on Muslim immigration violates the freedom of religion. His willingness to build a wall on the southern border and hire enough law enforcement to round up all eleven million undocumented immigrants is the antithesis of small government. His stated goal of introducing massive tariffs to limit global commerce in the US is a direct impediment to the free market.
But most alarmingly, his love of country is questionable, if it even exists. His admiration for notorious dictators is a red flag in and of itself. One of those dictators, Vladimir Putin, was asked directly by Trump to hack into the email servers of the US State Department and the Clinton campaign. Trump has also said that he’d “consider” sanctioning Putin’s annexation of Crimea, something that directly goes against the policy of a Republican-controlled Congress. Most recently, his bullying of the Gold Star Khan family brings Trump’s supposed “patriotism” into question. And yet, this man is the nominee of the Republican party? The party that for so long has claimed to be the shepherd of liberty and freedom?
So with a heavy heart, I ask my conservative friends, where is the dissent?
In a dizzying display of political gamesmanship, we’ve seen countless Republican leaders decry statements made by Trump—and continue to support him. Time and time again, politicians like Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have admitted that Trump has said or done things unfit for a president. Even Marco Rubio, much-maligned by Trump during the bitter Republican primary, has kissed Trump’s bronzer-covered ring. Republicans have lined up one-by-one like bad parents, telling the American people to “vote as I say, not as I do.” Bad parenting normally leads to some sort of, you know, punk rock rebellion from its children. But there’s been no substantial movement from Republicans to depose Trump. The closest they’ve gotten was Ted Cruz telling convention goers to “vote their conscience,” which is the punk rock equivalent of Fall Out Boy playing “Sugar We’re Going Down” at a Sweet Sixteen.
After the Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election, the RNC published the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” a post-mortem analysis of the Romney campaign and roadmap for the 2016 race. In that report, one of the core recommendations read, “If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them, and show our sincerity.” Three years later, that minority outreach resulted in a Trump nomination. So again I ask, where is the dissent? Where are the establishment Republican leaders who can come out and say “this man has led us astray!”
Republicans have always been the self-appointed guardians of patriotism in this country. But this year, something changed. As many have postulated, the Democratic party appeared to be this summer’s most “patriotic” party. The Republicans have ceded patriotism to the left in order to establish party unity.
Don’t get me wrong, party unity is a good thing. It’s crucial to know what each political group stands for as you cast a ballot, and a unified party makes that clear. A political party works like a human body. When all the parts of the body work together, they present a consistent message. But when a cancer starts to spread in that unified party, it can metastasize very quickly.
The honest truth is that powerful conservative leaders like Speaker Ryan and Sen. McConnell will never be able to wash the stain of their Trump support from their record. Unless they repudiate their nominee in the next three months, history will judge them in two very different ways. If Hillary wins the election, they will be undermined by all Democrats and many in their own party. They will forever be known as the leaders who validated a monster. OR, if Trump wins, they will be judged by the history books, who saw them as the enablers of a drastic nationalist shift in American politics. The ones who turned back the clock.
If dissent is the highest form of patriotism, than submission is the lowest. And what Republicans have allowed their party to represent is nothing but a product of submission to a man they don’t like and to voters they don’t claim to represent. Trump winning the Republican nomination confirmed the left’s view of the conservative voter base. Why can’t their leaders prove us wrong?
Hopeful for a happy surprise, your lefty friend,