I have to give credit to some friends and to some of the other articles I have been reading on the subject. More than two said this, but I’ll give a shout out to two. One is a journalist that has a Youtube channel known as “Beau of the fifth column.” The other is a high school friend of mine named Ryan Goins. They both put it in a way that I knew in my heart, but in words I could digest.
I didn’t know I would feel this way on the run up to the election. There are equal parts joy, exhaustion, and still a deep pain. The first two make perfect sense and they are emotions people normally feel after their candidate has won an election. Our election process is way too long and it gets longer and longer every four years. The pain is new and that came from the knowledge that 71 million people placed their vote for Trump and Trumpism.
As Beau, Ryan, and others pointed out, the divide between the two candidates wasn’t about politics. It wasn’t about ideology. It was about morality. That’s why the pain is still there and that is what keeps me from out and out celebration. I know that probably seems puzzling, so I will have to provide an explanation.
It’s hard to celebrate when that many people are willing to abandon morality and decency to vote for a candidate. I know that statement is going to get me into some hot water with friends and family. I honestly don’t care. I’ve read the stuff on social media even after the fact from some of them. It has taken every fiber of my being not to rain down on them the fires of holy hell. They treated a vote for Biden as if it was the heighth of moral bankruptcy.
One in particular bought into the Trump calls of fraud and connected it to the Jesus resurrection story in probably the most sickening metaphor I have ever experienced. The idea was that even the devil thought he had won three days before he lost. So, for those that haven’t been in an English class in awhile, Joe Biden somehow equals the devil. Trump somehow equaled Jesus and/or God. Excuse me while I puke.
This has been the main thing I have never quite understood over the last five years. I can understand not voting for Joe Biden. I can understand fears of a progressive platform. I can understand a conception of morality that pits one firmly against a progressive platform. I don’t agree with that, but I understand it and if the election had simply been about a traditional conservative platform against a progressive platform I would be feeling normal. There is nothing normal about Donald Trump.
There is nothing moral about Donald Trump. Absolutely nothing. People that consider themselves to be Evangelical Christians have not only reluctantly, but have wholeheartedly thrown themselves behind someone that isn’t Christian, isn’t moral, is overwhelmingly narcissistic, and has done so many things and said so many things that run completely counter to what Jesus taught. Maybe you could argue they did this to get right wing judges. Maybe you could argue they did this because they are that committed to combatting progressive ideology. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What if the whole world were reduced to three Supreme Court justices, justices in the lower courts, and the tears of fears of progressives? Was it worth it then?
This is where I mentally divide conservatives into three groups. The first group opposed Trump from the beginning. They recognized what he was and decided that following him wasn’t worth what he could bring to them in terms of policy and in the judiciary. They have my admiration. I’d like to think I would do that if the shoe were on the other foot. Of course, none of knows for sure until we are in that situation.
The second group may not have liked him personally or liked many of the things he said and did, but they could not stomach a Clinton presidency or a court that went against their core values. They couldn’t stomach a Biden presidency or they firmly believed it would really be a Harris presidency. I understand this on a certain level. We can fundamentally disagree on those fine points, but at least a Trump vote on their part wasn’t an enthusiastic endorsement.
The third group is the group that is difficult to reconcile. They are the folks that were firmly in his corner. They heard the racism, sexism, and xenophobia. They heard the insults and the not so subtle calls for violence. They watched him cozy up to Russia, North Korea, and other dictators. They watched the absolute cruelty. They watched the complete lack of empathy. They watched all of it and cheered. They watched all of it and identified with all of it. They watched all of it and found their spirit animal.
The first group will go back to being conservative with the new administration. It will be somewhat tough to see a temporary ally turn back into an adversary, but at least we both hate the same things. The second group will also return to the same kind of relationship. Most of those people I have polite conversations with and we will see eye to eye on some things and we will oppose each other on other things. The third group I don’t know if we will ever talk politics ever again. It will be hard to associate with them at all. Most of them will think I’ve shunned them over politics. Maybe someday they will realize that it was never about politics. It’s about morality itself.