There’s an ever-widening schism amongst “conservatives” in America. (I put that word in quotes, because I have no idea what it means anymore). One group, seemingly a shrinking minority, is in the #NeverTrump camp—they refuse for whatever reason, and there are a variety of them, to vote for Donald Trump for President. The other group could be categorized as “Never (and do we mean NEVER) Hillary”—they believe another Clinton presidency must be avoided at all costs. The latter makes the argument that not voting for Trump equals voting for Hillary (while conveniently ignoring, I’ll note, that many in the #NeverTrump camp argued that voting for Trump—instead of Cruz or Rubio—in the primary equaled voting for Hillary). Meanwhile, the former insists they are standing on principle and the blame for the outcome is not theirs, which is an easy and convenient stance to take in any situation.
Let me start by saying I understand both sides’ positions, and I agree with much of what they believe. For example, I believe Hillary Clinton is morally depraved. (I don’t have time to list all the reasons why, but her actions toward her husband’s rape victims, her stance on abortion, and her smug lies and defense of said lies in the wake of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left four Americans dead are a fair starting point.) I believe Hillary Clinton’s policies are thoroughly incongruent with principles that have made America a strong, free, and prosperous nation. I believe a Hillary Clinton presidency would be disastrous for America, with far-ranging and long-lasting consequences. That sounds like hyperbole, but if anything, I think it is an understatement of how devastating electing her to the highest office in the land would be. I shudder at the liberal agenda she would foist upon America. She champions the murder of babies while desecrating natural and biological concepts of sex and gender. With her as president, we will undoubtedly lose the Supreme Court for a generation, and with it rights and freedoms we may never recover. Electing Hillary Clinton as president is nothing short of an act of national suicide.
Obviously then, we must do whatever it takes to stop her, right? Even if that means holding our nose at the ballot box. Even if that means choosing the lesser of two evils. Even if that means throwing in with someone we really don’t like. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, isn’t he? Heck, we allied with Stalin to win World War II. Surely we can stomach Trump to stop Hillary, can’t we?
I would agree. Except that I also believe Donald Trump is morally depraved. (I don’t have time to list all the reasons why, but his cavalier attitude towards everything, his bragging about his extramarital affairs and how he’d want to date his daughter if she weren’t his daughter, his owning of strip clubs, and his coarse, profane language, smear tactics, and bullying in this campaign are a fair starting point.) I also believe Donald Trump’s policies (vacuous, waffling, and incomplete as they are) are thoroughly incongruent with principles that have made America a strong, free, and prosperous nation. I also believe a Donald Trump presidency would be disastrous for America, with far-ranging and long-lasting consequences. That is not hyperbole either. Trump is a repeat of Obama, stirring up a rabble of people clamoring for their false Messiah. Meanwhile, we know nothing about what he stands for because he’s never stood for anything except the promulgation of Donald J. Trump. Yet, his fervent and often furious followers lap up every word he spews, launching out at dissidents with vulgarity and violence. I am terrified of what this “movement” could become. Instead of joining it, true conservatives should seek to squelch it. And while there is reason to believe Trump’s Supreme Court nominees would be less liberal than Hillary’s, the long-term damage isn’t limited to the judicial branch. If Trump wins the White House, he becomes the de facto face of the GOP and of conservatives. Settling for Trump now means not winning back the White House with a true conservative for at least eight years. (When was the last time an incumbent lost to someone from his own party?) Furthermore, every Republican or conservative or even moderate will be tainted by Trump for decades, their campaigns drowned with a “he’s with Trump” millstone around its neck. Instead of siding with Trump to mitigate Hillary, I want conservatives to stand up and say—to shout—No! We want nothing to do with Trump. He’s as far away from where we stand as is Hillary. Anything less will be seen, rightly so to some degree, as an association that will take numerous election cycles to shake.
This all brings us to that phrase I used a moment ago, “the lesser of two evils.” I believe there are times when we do have to choose the lesser of two evils, so to speak. I’ve advocated for that. But there are two caveats. The first is that one of the two evils has to actually be lesser. I won’t advocate choosing between the equal of two evils. The second is that when evil is not just exaggeration but an accurate depiction of moral character, past behavior, and promised method of rule, that trite little phrase goes out the window. I refuse to choose actual evil.
So where does that leave me? I’m firmly planted in the #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary camp (And, for that matter, the #NeverBernie camp should Hillary be indicted or somehow fritter away the nomination). And I would encourage those of you who aren’t with me—and particularly those of you who are in the Trump, Clinton, or Sanders camp—to study history with me.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are socialists. The only difference is Bernie admits it. Don’t believe me? Look up the definition of socialism—essentially: big government is the answer to all life’s problems—and look at the things (free healthcare, free college, more and more welfare for starters) Hillary and Bernie advocated on the campaign trail and have stood for in their career as politicians. I mean, we’re one step from “Vote for Pedro, and all your wildest dreams will come true.” In theory, that sounds great. Who doesn’t want free stuff? But nothing is ever free. Somebody has to pay for it—namely, taxpayers. And as more and more “free” stuff has to be paid for, more and more taxpayers become enslaved to the government, as do the recipients on the dole, clinging to the government like a toddler to his mommy. Or an addict to his stash. We actually don’t need to look back at history to see the pitfalls of socialism; we only need to watch the news out of Venezuela.
But as bleak as the lack of basic necessities like food and toilet paper are, history paints a far blacker picture of socialism for us. Even the most uneducated and ignorant among us today recognize the name of Adolf Hitler and know he was an evil man. But do they know he came to power as leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party—colloquially Nazis? They may recognize the name of Joseph Stalin and equate him with atrocities too. But do they know he was the leader of the Soviet Union—that is, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Perhaps those not acquainted with “ancient” history know the names Fidel Castro and Che Guevara (he’s that bearded guy with a beret on T-shirts that clowns pulling failing grades in World Civ like to wear while they smoke pot). President Obama’s release of sanctions and re-opening of trade with Cuba has garnered much attention recently, and many of those who oppose Mr. Obama’s actions do so because the White House seems to be sweeping under the rug the brutal, socialist policies and human rights violations of Castro and folk-hero Guevara. Are you noticing a theme here? Socialism, which sounds cool to hipsters and college kids in skinny jeans or to corduroy-clad, ungroomed college professors, fails miserably in practice. Every. Single. Time. And I would defy anyone to provide me an example of a government that, when granted more power and authority, consistently became more benevolent to its citizens. I’ll wait . . .
Socialism, plainly, is un-American. Not because I say so, but because the founding fathers said so. Their purpose in revolting against Great Britain was to overthrow a government that had grown too powerful and that consistently abused its power. The Constitution was meticulously crafted not to delineate our rights as citizens, but to curtail the government’s rights over us. The intent was a free society, where men and women could live and work as they pleased, with as little intervention from the government as absolutely necessary. It was the direct opposite of socialism.
Clearly then, we must run from this. We must do whatever we can to avoid electing a socialist—avowed or clandestine—to the White House. Even if that means swallowing the bile in our throats while we pull the lever for Donald J. Trump. Right?
Wrong. Because history teaches us that as heinous as socialism is, there is perhaps an even more heinous and less American system of government we must guard against: fascism. It was a fascist, Benito Mussolini, who took control of Italy in the 1920s. (You remember Italy—pizza, crooked and crumbling buildings, the oft-forgotten member of that unholy triad known as the Axis powers.) And it was after Mussolini that Hitler modeled his movement, embracing fascist concepts of authoritarianism and nationalism. Sound like anyone you know?
Now I get it, comparing Trump to Hitler is inaccurate and unfair. As despicable as I find Donald Trump, he hasn’t committed any of the atrocities of Hitler. Then again, Hitler was just a starving artist once too. But listen to what Trump says. He wants to open up libel laws to restrict the First Amendment rights of papers and publications, and promotes censoring or firing of people who disagree with him or send out mean Tweets about him (the poor thing). He stood on a national debate stage and vowed that he would make the military follow his orders to break the law. His rhetoric about illegal immigrants evokes mental images of concentration or internment camps in the minds of many. He talks about women the way I talk about, well, fascists. Does this sound presidential? No, it sounds more like Kim Jong-un. Quick, somebody check which system of government they have in North Korea!
But more disconcerting than Donald Trump is, as I touched on before, his legion of zealots. Now, you can argue that not all Trump supporters are mindless zombies pledging allegiance to their dear leader like Ann Coulter. Fair. I would agree. It’s just that none of the mild, reasoned ones are on Twitter. But seriously, look at some of the rhetoric that rolls off the #TrumpTrain. So many Trump backers are so angry, so vindictive, so insistent that Trump will make America great again that they are defending and endorsing his fascism. They don’t care how he treats people, what he really believes, what he might do, just so long as he gets elected to start winning—whatever that means. They are so busy shoving each other out of the way to get in line to kiss his ring that they fail to realize they are promoting tyranny! Despots are supposed to usurp power in a bloody revolution; they aren’t supposed to be swept into power by a wave of fanatical minions. But wait, where have we seen that before? I think it rhymes with Gerlin, Bermany.
There are only three somewhat viable candidates for president at this point—Trump, Clinton, and Sanders. A fascist and two socialists, and no that isn’t the start of a joke. (Well, it is, but the joke’s on us.) I cannot in good conscience—heck, in a conscience on the morality scale of Barack Obama—choose the lesser of these evils. I will not choose fascism to avoid socialism, nor will I choose socialism to avoid fascism, because I’ve learned my history. And because there will be no United States to save the world when we fall. There are no more Allied Powers. We are the cavalry, and we’re on the verge of horse-trading everything but our spurs for a bottle of magic cure-all elixir off the back of a gypsy’s wagon. And that is why I write this—why I’ve written in the past. It’s not to prove a point or start a fight, not for catharsis. It is in the hope that we will awaken as a nation, not to take sides between two equally abhorrent choices, but to reclaim our American values of constitutionalism, conservatism, capitalism, and Christianity. These are the “4 Cs” on which the American idea—that which makes our nation great—was built. And they are the 4 Cs on which it will survive, if indeed it does.
If we cannot reclaim this election, and I don’t think conservatives can, we are left with two choices—our real decision in November, 2016. Will we throw in with a known evil, with someone who is detestable and whose rule could potentially destroy America as we know it, to stop another candidate? Or will we boldly stand and reject them all? Will we stand on our values, on our principles—will we cling to them, being an unadulterated, uncompromising voice against the tumult? Will we be a grassroots movement that refuses to be silent, that refuses to let evil run amok as it did in 1930s Europe? Will we fight to our dying breath—literally, if it comes to that—to ensure that liberty is still available for our children? As I wrote a few weeks back, I don’t know all that taking such a stand entails. But I know exactly what not taking it entails, and that is why I am #NeverFascism and #NeverSocialism and #NeverTyranny, regardless of whose name or face fills the vignettes.
I leave you with the words of Ronald Reagan, the most talked about former president during this election cycle. Let them be our rallying cry:
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”