We are down to one week from the reigns of power being handed over to President Donald J. Trump and a fully Republican controlled legislature. Right wing and alternative media has cashed in (and rightfully so) on the hive mind meltdown of the special snowflake crowd. And admittedly, I have been thoroughly entertained with the content in my YouTube and Twitter feed as well. It has been an absolute treat to watch the rise of Milo Yiannopolis, even though he is a bit full of it sometimes. But now it is time to get down to business.
For Trumpsters out there who are buying into the narratives about the millions of illegal votes and it being a land-slide for Trump, you would do well to remember that it was a narrow victory in a few key states that put him over the top in the Electoral Count. And while there are loose voter ID laws in some overwhelmingly blue states that may have boosted the popular vote count in California and New York, I have yet to see any irrefutable proof that it could number in the millions. Sorry Info-Wars crowd, but the facts don’t care about your feelings here.
The reason I bring this up is because I am uneasy that conservatives and libertarians are going to start down the slippery slope that has hurt the Democrats in the last couple of elections. Those of us that fall under the wide swath of people who voted for Trump to stop Clinton, those who devotedly supported Trump, and those who are more libertarian leaning and reluctantly voted for Trump or a third party must now press the battle for the culture further. By no means was Trump’s victory an indication that we have had a massive shift in culture. Rather, it is a sign that the culture is starting to change. We have a long way to go. Eighty-thousand votes in key swing states that flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 does not constitute a massive culture shift.
The left still dominates new and entertainment media. The left can still push narrative-driven and vacuous arguments of social justice with minimal hindrance within their own echo chambers. Ironically, this also played a big factor in why the election went the way it did. Everything is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic, or bigoted (dial 1-800-pick-a-phobia for more!). To heck with all of those working class people in the Midwest who have not yet experienced any benefit from our unbearably slow economic recovery!
My point being: we must keep an open mind. The replacement of one authoritarian view of the world with another through censorship and defamation of character should not be the course of action for those of us who feel like we just “won” the election. There will be people who may endure negative effects of the repeal of Obamacare (although Republicans may be looking to continue to be the party of stupid on this front according to recent reports). There will be minorities who experience hate crimes and and racism. And while we can continue to objectively examine the broad picture of social issues to be as factual as possible, we can not be dismissive of reality, big or small.
Remember to distinguish the left wing people you come into contact with from the politicians. Remember to distinguish the person from the ideas if you disagree. Human beings are inherently hypocritical and tribal. Unless you are dealing with a crazed and entitled Millennial Ivy League student, it is still possible for people to hear your ideas and consider them. Argue your point of view from a moral and functional standpoint. But falling into the trap of ignoring the wide range of issues facing our diverse nation is a recipe for another rise of a “change” candidate. And a quick apology to all the righty-tightys out there for the use of the “d-word.”
Remember to think for yourself. Principle over party ALWAYS. Much of our rhetoric has been reduced to defending a party or candidate instead of seeking the best ideas. Meaningful criticism within the supposed respective camps of each candidate was met with unbridled hostility from ardent supporters (cough, cough…Shapiro). I have said it for years and will continue to say it: tribalism is the enemy of free thought. Yes there is no perfect candidate, but speak up for ideas and not a politician.
Trumpsters: reflect honestly on what you truly believe. If Trump puts out a policy proposal that progressive Democrats largely support, is that really a good thing just because “our guy” did it? If you say “yes” to this question, you don’t get to call yourself a conservative or libertarian. I’ll still have a beer with you.
And along these lines, might I also suggest a bit of self-reflection to you #nevertrump conservatives out there as well. In my one of my morning pass-throughs of my Facebook feed this week, I came across a #nevertrump conservative friend of mine who said what was tantamount to the following: I didn’t agree with a lot of Obama’s policies, but he acts more Presidential so that is better than Trump. Seriously? So Obama makes you “feel” good? Feelings over policy substance and viability? Beginning to sound like a progressive?
Anyways, I believe that those of us who are of the smaller government persuasion can still win the culture war if we reject the tactics (and policies) of the left. Completely reject identity politics. Denounce the dangerous and anti-Semetic Alt-Right, but be careful not to make any martyrs out of any of them through any perceived free speech restrictions. Much like a Sith Lord, Milo was struck down by Twitter only to become more powerful than before (side note: he does not consider himself Alt-Right, but he has handed them a microphone).
Be factual, be rational and be principled. Reality matters. Remember that? Can reality matter more than defending a person or political party? Those of us who fall into this category of American voter should approach the next four years with restrained optimism, a watchful eye and a clear head. Let us hope that America truly does take the steps to becoming Great Again in the next four years.