There’s a famous scene in “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith” when the evil soon-to-be Supreme Chancellor Palpatine addresses a massive body of thousands of governing politicians from various planets and excitedly declares the emergence of the first Galactic Empire. Of course, as most fans know, the Galactic Empire will go on to become the largest source of evil in all the galaxy and will eventually churn out classic villains like Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Nevertheless, the chancellor’s announcement is met with resounding praise and a standing ovation from all of the naive politicians in attendance, who are just desperate for a leader. In the midst of the cheering, Senator/Queen Amidala — played by Natalie Portman — looks around the room, knowing Palpatine’s true, evil nature, and utters one of the most legendary lines in cinema history:
So, this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”
Now, substitute “liberty” with “the Republican Party" and that pretty much sums up my assessment of this week’s Republican National Convention thus far. While everyone in the media seems to be in a tizzy over Melania Trump’s supposedly plagiarized speech, the GOP — and perhaps conservatism as a whole — just breathed its final, gasping breath and dropped lifelessly to the floor thereby handing over control of the party to a lying, cheating, adulterating, liberal progressive reality-TV star billionaire. Congratulations, guys.
What’s worse is that no one seems to really care about this death. In fact, they’re welcoming it with open arms. They’re smiling about it. They’re cheering it. They’re applauding it. But, for all of the American conservatives who still believe in free market capitalism, conservative principles, and Judeo-Christian values, this election is officially over. Truthfully, it was over when every other non-Trump candidate dropped out of the race. And now we’re in somewhat of tough spot. On one side we’ve got Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most corrupt human being to ever seek the presidency. She’s a petty, narcissistic, pantsuited tyrant hellbent on amassing as much power as possible, even if she has to compromise national security or destroy American ideals and freedoms in the process.
And on the other side (well, really, the same side), we’ve got Donald Trump, one of Mrs. Clinton’s most passionate financial supporters — a man who even sought her husband’s advice about whether or not he should run for president in the first place (and received his blessing, by the way.) Also not unlike Hillary, Trump is a liberal progressive, lying, egomaniacal, power-hungry buffoon who also happens to be a vulgar and boorish degenerate — who brags about his extramarital affairs, said he would date his own daughter, praised Planned Parenthood, suggested Ted Cruz’s father was responsible for assassinating John F. Kennedy, mocks the disabled and insults war veterans and offers absolutely no specifics in terms of policies or plans. Of course, it’s hard to offer specifics when you don’t actually adhere to any sort of political, ideological or moral code other than your own self-aggrandizement. I don’t believe there’s a single conservative out there — even the most fanatical Trump supporter — who can honestly tell me what this man stands for and believes in. My best guess at this point is a European right-wing ideological slant that would see our constitutional republic annihilated in favor of a more authoritarian state. But, like I said, that’s just a guess.
Anyway, the chance to elect principled Christian conservatives was during the primaries and that time has come and gone. We were reminded of this during Ted Cruz’s convention speech on Wednesday night — a speech that focused on horribly offensive topics like freedom, liberty, the Constitution and the preciousness of human life. He called for conservatives to rally together around their shared values and beliefs, to vote for candidates who will defend the Constitution and even congratulated Trump on winning the nomination. And for that, he was booed off the stage. Over the next couple of days, insufferable establishment Republicans like Peter King and Sarah Palin, along with Trump’s media lickspittles like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, have gone out of their way to condemn Cruz as disgraceful, rude and a sore loser — all because he wouldn’t officially endorse Trump. But, Cruz never promised to endorse the guy. Yes, he took the pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and, frankly, I don’t see how anything he said on Wednesday constituted breaking that pledge. In fact, I’ve read and re-read the entire transcript of the speech and I can’t find a single, solitary thing that any true conservative in his or her right mind could possibly disagree with or oppose.
Besides, Cruz even explained the lack of endorsement. He said he simply couldn’t endorse a man who had leveled several vicious, personal attacks against his wife and father on the campaign trail. In other words, his loyalty to his family overrules his loyalty to any political party or political figure. How could anyone argue with that? And, more importantly, why would anyone argue with that? Not to mention, The RNC and the Trump campaign were both given access to Cruz’s speech ahead of time. They knew that it wouldn’t contain a gushing, slobbering, love-affair endorsement of The Donald. And, yet, they approved the speech anyway, probably because they knew that it would make for good drama. After all, we’re talking about the King of Reality TV here. He knows what he’s doing in that regard, at least.
The real sickening irony, though, is that hundreds of so-called “conservatives” booed and jeered a speech that masterfully articulated the beauty of conservatism — all because it didn’t end with the speaker bowing to kiss the ring of Donald Trump. See, this was precisely what the Never Trump crowd feared would happen — that Trump would swallow up normal, traditional conservatism and replace it with his own brand of social populism or liberal globalism. Then the Republican Party would simply become the Party of Trump. Republicans would now be Trumplings. Conservatism would become Trumpism. Our party would be whatever Donald Trump wants it to be and believe whatever Donald Trump wants it to believe. It seems those fears have finally been realized.
Look, I have no problem with conservatives voting for Trump as method for stopping Hillary. But, don’t do it under the false pretense of “rescuing the GOP” or “saving conservatism.” The time for that was when guys like Cruz, Carson and Rubio were still in the race. Don’t tell me that conservative principles matter and then vote for the guy who can’t even explain those principles, much less live by them. If enough “conservatives” actually cared about our core principles and values, Trump never would’ve made it to the first debate. But, he did and then he won the nomination. So, here we are.
What matters now more than anything else is uniting around those principles and values. It matters more than the party. It matters more than the people in the party. It matters more than the outcome of the election. Whether we end up a President Trump or a President Clinton, conservatism will be dead. We’re headed for trouble either way, folks.
I walked away from the Republican Party several months ago and until or unless they decide to come together again around truth and principles, I won’t be returning any time soon.
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