Humans have malleable personalities. We change our minds about many things: the foods we eat, the cars we like to drive, even the people we choose to be around. But most of us develop a pretty deeply rooted political ideology by the time we reach middle age, if we’ve been paying attention. Some though, drift through the haze, content to just read the headlines and believe that the party they affiliate with encompasses the creed to which they adhere.
That idea may have worked in the past. One could say he or she was a Republican, and we would understand that to mean one belonged to a party to the right of center which espoused more conservative ideals, such as smaller government, a pro-life stance, religious liberty, less entitlements, lower taxes for the middle class, and an education system that is state and locally focused. There were some variances over the years, and the term, RINO, was coined to represent those Republican politicians who were embedded in Washington politics and doing the will of lobbyists, as well as compromising to the left more than vice versa compromises from Blue Dog Democrats. But overall, these RINO’s kept getting re-elected, and have thus been tolerated.
Then something strange and unexplainable happened.
The nation elected, by Electoral College vote (not popular vote), a man who was a Democrat for more years of his political career than a Republican, and who was an on-again, off-again Republican up until this most recent election. It wasn’t so much that he changed his party affiliation at least five times since 1987, but more that he didn’t really know the meaning of the tenets of the Republican Party at all, especially the word, conservative. (He defined it as, “to conserve”, click on “conservative” for link). He was thought to be an “outsider”, but he knew many lobbyists and wrote them many checks.
Voters were reluctant to pull away from their habit of voting party over principle. It was one change they did not like thinking about. They clung to that R with all their might, in the hopes that the orange candidate would somehow, after all these years, see what it meant to wear that R as a permanent fixture, and not just a piece of Velcro. They imbued him with values which he never demonstrated, with a Christianity he never exemplified; they said he would surround himself with the best and the brightest people! (That is what presidents are supposed to do, isn’t it?)
Somehow, protocol slipped through the cracks. The man who stated that he gets his information from the shows, and the best advice from himself has been allowed to keep an unsecured Android phone, while ranting about Hillary’s emails. He has continued to use his old Twitter account to tweet out childish rants using his monosyllabic attacks of, “BAD”, and “SICK”, while his defenders not only brush this away, but they click the heart symbol on those tweets.
He neglected to shake the hand of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the traditional photo op yesterday when they met in the Oval Office. Sure, they shook hands outside, but not in the Oval Office before the meeting. Isn’t that the protocol? Why doesn’t he know the protocol? Or does he, and was he being defiant intentionally? It’s hard to say, since he and Merkel have a tenuous relationship at best. Even Obama shook Putin’s hand at the proper moment, and it wasn’t a handshake that either of them relished.
Speaking of Obama, President Trump relayed to Chancellor Merkel that they shared a common wiretapping issue, even though there has not yet been any proof forthcoming from the White House that Obama tapped the Trump Tower, and now Trump is throwing the Brits under that bus too:
“At least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said casually, referring to 2013 reports that the U.S. was monitoring Merkel’s cellphone conversations. As for the most recent report, Trump said he shouldn’t be blamed for quoting a Fox News analyst who had accused British intelligence of helping Obama spy on him.
Is this the new wave of Republicanism? To slap a Velcro R on a candidate so that the party loyalists can continue to punch a ballot where that R appears and walk away feeling vindicated having done the “right” thing? (pun intended) If so, it is a sad turning point in history, but not a sudden one. Voters have been voting the party line for decades. It’s about time to vote for what we believe in, and not the symbol slapped on some candidate’s chest. That’s a lazy vote. The current president behind that letter R may just be even more concerned about his golf game than the last one, whose D was stuck on with Super glue.