Looking back (which seems like a lifetime already) to the time before the election, when seemingly everything spewing from the President-elect’s mouth and little Twitter fingers was repulsive if not spontaneous lies and misdirection, I am drawn to make some observations about those who loudly proclaimed their objection.
The most important is Speaker Paul Ryan. But looking back to the debates before the primary all the chief players, including Chris Christie, seemed in step when they began to admonish Trump for his open and free verbal diatribes that seemed to bring the process into some sort of sub-level gutter. Of course after the primary Trump’s character flaws just got worse where even Ryan was noticeably appalled and shaken by the unabashed loose candor and continued revelations and accusations of immorality, racism, and business ethics. There were cries to the Republican Party leadership (Ryan, Priebus, et al) to disqualify, displace, remove, or using any other way, to excommunicate Trump from the party nomination. Could that have really happened? One wonders.
But then I observed something going on that kinda bothered me. This business about party loyalty… and somehow that was separate from personal moral ethics. Ryan and the other Republican leadership were very noticeably questioning their own conscience and struggling with this concept, how does one separate what they perceive as the traditional character requirements for holding the office of President of the United States, with supporting a party that should be supporting an obvious buffoon candidate who won the party primary fair and square.
“My God… this guy won the primary! Do I support with my party loyalty or my personal conscience? Does my personal conscience include a duty as an American to knowingly support a totally unqualified person who hasn’t any history of political compromise or political diplomacy and has stated views and immediate actions that could put the country in economic or international peril, not to mention domestic political and racial division”?
Well, the election is now over and Trump won, again fair and square. But, whoa. These Republicans who had such troubled personal misgivings during the election, like Ryan, are now embracing Trump, his policies, his plans for policy implementation, walls, deportations, yada yada? It makes one question these guys… was party loyalty truly worth accepting Trump’s trash character in exchange? Has someone sold someone out here somewhere? Like maybe the American people?
The summer soldiers and sunshine patriots on the Republican side that were so great in admonishing Trump before the election because it was popular have now decided to fall in step and embrace Trump as if he were some messiah.. simply because of party loyalty.. and their own political futures, knowing full well the guy still carries the same baggage.
People have been banging away with this idea that D.C. is chock full of rich company lobbyists out for their own ends in trying to “buy” influence. Well, seems to me the “lobbyists” for the Republican Party have succeeded in surrendering to their own interests as well… just like the big corporations. But Trump has “bought” the dissenting Republicans using the singular fact that he’s now in charge of them.
The title of this post, for those of you who failed history, comes from a quote written by Thomas Paine in his publication “The Crisis”, on December 23, 1776.
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
And no.. I am NOT suggesting violent protest, but “change”, sometimes itself a revolution of sorts, can go both ways… not just to the winners. Those that exchanged their vote for a candidate extraordinarily unqualified because they somehow feel disenfranchised to the point they don’t care who the Pied Piper is to lead them from their interpretation of despair, are only 50% of the voters. In the end, those Republican leaders that wavered on their conscience in favor of party loyalty “…will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country…” sooner than later.
Methinks if the Republicans want to drain swamps, end corruption, dismantle old school politics, and cast out the elites into the wilderness… well, they might start by looking in the mirror and consider who their new party leader is… and who’s likely to get drained first.
For now we are stuck with the choice. If the new guy gets too carried away it’s up to Congress to make a change… and if Congress can’t do it, well, we know what happens when people vote.