Monday, August 01, 2016

Yes, I Am Canadian; What About It?

This is what my Facebook Timeline looks like to those who are not on my "Friends" list

It has become a constant prediction, whenever I engage in online discussions about the American election: the accusation of excessive Canadianism in an American-centric topic.

It first started back when I began to discover my conservatism, and was "outed" by the husband of someone I had considered to be a friend: "It should be noted that Lissa is Canadian. A hike should be taken."

It bothered me back then, and I suppose it still does, to a degree, but I'm better able to combat it now that I've had some practice.

The latest happened in a Facebook group for Jewish conservatives. Not American conservatives. Jewish. I was added to the group by an American friend with whom I share much of the same mindset.

In discussing Donald Trump (did you think otherwise? Have you been following me at all?), I got heavily involved in expressing my concern, even disdain, for a candidate who has shown no conservatism, no decency, no presidential stature at all.

At one point, a Trump-supporting member decided to check me out on Facebook. Now, I am the maven of privacy options, so all any non-Friend can see is my display photos. The above photo is a screenshot of what non-followers see when they go check me out.

(For the record, I added the overlay of the Israeli flag some years back, and haven't changed it as most of Facebook has, with the terrorist-attack-du-jour; my support of Israel is strong, constant, unwavering, and proud).

That's what this mini-Sherlock saw, and gleefully brought it to the group.

"Maybe the flag of Canada as your cover photo makes it difficult for some of us to take your points seriously."

To which I replied,

"I didn't realize free speech had borders.

Look, you know nothing about me. Yes, I'm Canadian, but anyone who thinks they should only opine about their own country is living in ignorance.

EVERYTHING that happens in the world affects us. EVERYTHING that happens in the USA affects Canada.

I may not be directly affected but loved ones and friends are.

And until the admins of this group tell me I cannot post because of my geographical location, I will continue to have an informed opinion as loud as I'm permitted."

She continued - calling me a troll because I don't have a vote south of the border (this person was, the next day, made moderator of the group - o joy). It became a topic of conversation then, others coming in from both sides.

One admin said that I have no say, no place commenting, based on my nationality.

Someone else refuted that, with a third coming in and saying, "why is she allowed in the group, then? Are we preparing ourselves for Trump's stomping on the First Amendment?"

Another admin - anti-Trump - made the point that their "logic" would mean none of us who lives outside of Israel has a right to comment on Israeli current events. A third admin - also anti-Trump - confirmed that there is no support among the admins of the group for kicking out non-Americans.

I made a statement that I've continued to make throughout:

"If I were pro-Trump, my nationality would not even be a blip on your radar."

No one bit - except for the support I got from those in agreement.

Today, it happened again - same group.

In a discussion about Trump somehow being better than Clinton because he never raised taxes, never voted for a war, etc etc etc, I commented that it's irrelevant, as he has no political record whatsoever.

Of course, this brought in the pro-Trumper who tried to present logic that the post was not about Trump (it was - Clinton was never mentioned, and I made note that the post actually served as the pro-DJT ad Trump's campaign has yet to release).

The Trumper didn't like my logic. She refuted with, "I would make a bet that you bashed Stephen Harper in your election too."

That was her oh-so-cute way of revealing to the as-yet-uninformed of the group that I'm Canadian.

Though I owed her nothing - and said as much - I proudly proclaimed that I had been active for over a year, campaigning with and for our local Conservative Party candidate. That I had proudly blogged about the campaign, gone door-to-door, and had been privileged to meet and shake hands with our former Prime Minister, and his family, expressing my support to the Harpers at all 4 of the rallies I was lucky enough to attend.

The back-and-forth continued, with my letting her know, "Yes, I'm Canadian, but that cud's already been chewed in this group."

She became snarkier with each post, somehow blaming Trudeau on me (now, THAT'S an insult!), and when I continued to rebut with calm, semi-bemused posts of truth and logic, she went all-out Trumper on me, insulting me and calling me names.

So let's talk about my crime of Canadianistic origin.

Does it make me less informed about the USA?

Well, there are Canadians who are ill-informed, uninformed, or uninterested in American politics. Many of those don't even inform themselves about Canadian politics (we call those people Liberals).

But I am not the only Canadian who does learn everything I can about the USA.

First of all, it's unavoidable

 Anyone who watches American television has no choice but to be bombarded with news stories, updates, commercials, comments about the candidates and the current events. And our Canadian news shows carry stories about the election happenings south of the border as well.

If you have friends, family, loved ones in the USA, you are likely hearing about this election - even if you never heard much about prior years. This one is different. This one has sensationalism.

And if you're on Facebook, with even ONE American friend, you're going to be seeing headlines. It's unavoidable.

Secondly, it's interesting

I know, now, that I should have stuck with Political Science way back when. I might have had a different path in my life, but that's okay; I learned later, and I learned intensively.

But the process, the patterns, the topics, the candidates...they're all interesting. They provide a lot of food for thought, and a lot of information for those of us who are discerning enough to want to know about what's outside the box of our lives.

Most importantly. it is obligatory

My mom had a saying: "when the USA sneezes, Canada catches a cold."

I recently learned, from my dad, that my grandfather had another saying: "When the USA gets a cold, Canada gets pneumonia."

You get the idea; we are affected. Our economy, our travel, our relations with the USA and with other countries, our security, our trade, our human interests. Everything we do is governed by some political subset of ideas, no matter where we live.

And sharing the longest undefended border in the world with the USA, Canada stands to endure much in the ways of the above-mentioned issues no matter who gets elected in November.

But let's go outside of that

Are we that provincial, that small-minded, that tunnel-visioned that no other country's current events should be of interest to us? And if it is of interest to us, are we that narrowly governed by society that we should not engage in meaningful - CIVIL - discourse on those events?

Is any topic of current events a proprietary issue?

Perhaps a suicide bomb in Kabul doesn't affect my day. I will wake and go to sleep the same ways I did the day before, my food will be as plentiful, my technology will work,  my kids will be happy and healthy, my dog will get walked, I'll enjoy laughing and sharing via phone calls, and I'll still be able to catch up on the latest Netflix offerings.

But to think that suicide bomb in Kabul doesn't affect everything in this world is incredibly tone deaf. Of course it affects us. It means there are terrorists who are continuing to harm others in the name of their extremist ideologies, it means that no one is safe because the next terrorist emboldened by that successful bombing may be on a plane to North America, or Europe, and we will - not "may" - be affected when that happens.

Do we stick our heads in the sands of our own countries, our own states or provinces, our own towns or boroughs, and breathe in only the air that is local to us just because we don't vote in other countries?

Or do we continue to thrive as citizens of the world, taking interest, learning facts and information, absorbing realities, and talking about it with other citizens of the world in order to be prepared for What Comes Next, no matter how directly or indirectly we are affected?

I don't know about you, but I'll take the latter.

Ignorance, friends, is not bliss.

No matter where you live.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Is Trump's Endgame?

I've been wondering, since a year ago when he announced in a controversial statement filled with hyperbole and seeming to aim for humor rather than substance, his bid for the White House, just what Donald Trump wanted.

His inability to articulate anything outside of slogans and catchphrases, his inability to properly debate issues in detail, and his seeming unwillingness to assume a presidential stature have all led me to wonder if he's not throwing this election for some reason.

It was put forth to me - also toward the beginning of his campaign (and by someone I respect profoundly for political analysis and intelligence, among other things) that Trump is likely shilling for his friend Hillary Clinton. And that perhaps this election campaign was just his way of ensuring her election.

See, Hillary Clinton could not have run at a worse time for her situation: saddled by scandal after scandal (old and new), in the 7th year under a presidency that went from bad to worse - economically, security-wise, and in sharply dividing the country along lines of race, and partisanship - was bad enough for Clinton. Then, the growing headlines of her email server becoming more clearly felonious in its existence and use, she could not win among savvy voters - could she?

She could, if she were pitted against the weakest link. And in a field of 17 Republican candidates, many of whom were weak but at least experienced, the one person she could beat, it became clear, was Donald Trump.

Could the country elect the narcissistic Trump whose ventures have continuously failed (to the point of litigation and loss), whose only claim to fame was his reality shows and philandering ways, and whose mouth was on constant overdrive without his brain being engaged?

It didn't seem so, at first. Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as "rapists and murderers," in a shocking, sweeping generalization that would insult the good, hard-working immigrants of all nations who are legally admitted to the USA every year.

He then continued his outrageous remarks. I have outlined many of my points of contention in another post, and won't repeat them here. But since that post, he has continued to gather more feet in his mouth, and flip-flop on issues than any other candidate I can remember.

Flip-flops and Bumblings

 For example:

It also gave Clinton an 8-point lead in Florida - another crucial battleground state.

  • Moving sharply to the gun control position of the left after the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando June 12th, where he stated he would talk to the NRA about banning people on the no-fly list from obtaining firearms (problematic, as people on that list are often on it for random, unjustified reasons; there is an 8-year-old boy who is on the list, and the late Ted Kennedy also had his name on it; problematic because the NRA has no say in laws over the no-fly list but does have a position on due process as a constitutional right). Denying anyone on that list their due process is a violation of the Constitution. It is also something the liberal left - including Hillary Clinton - has been pushing for without end.

In fact, Trump - who has held up a Supreme Court Justice nomination as his raison d'être to become the next President, to "protect the Second Amendment" - is no different than Clinton on the Second Amendment; his history with gun rights is extremely liberal, even as it changes constantly.

  • Trump is suffering from the highest disapproval numbers of any candidate in history: 70% of Americans have an unfavorable view of him. His disapprovals are high with women, men, blacks, Hispanics, whites, college students - to name only a few.
  • Trump has spent $0 on ads. Hillary Clinton has spent $21,000,000. So far. Perhaps Trump is counting on another $2,000,000,000 worth of free airtime that the media gave him during primaries; he won't get it. The only network in the tank for him is Fox; every other network is ramping up the negatives I'm listing here (and as they continue to pile up daily).

Clinton's filings showed her having raised $26,000,000 in May, finishing the month with over $42,000,000 cash on hand.

Trump's filings are another story. They show that he raised $3,200,000 and finished the month with only $1,300,000 cash on hand.

His expenses are astronomical. He spent $208,000 on hats. He paid his kids a salary. In a very unusual situation, he seems to draw a salary as well.

20% of his expenses go to his businesses (all bearing his name). This link will take you to some of the more eye-opening details.

In a bizarre entry, his filings show that he paid $35,000 in advertising to a recipient by the name of Draper Sterling. Yes, if you're a fan of Mad Men, you'll recognize those names. The address of this "firm" is a residence (above-ground pool included) in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

We can compare Trump's numbers to Mitt Romney's in 2012, at this point in time; Romney had raised $86,500,000.

In fact, Ted Cruz - who suspended his campaign in April - has $6.8M cash on hand as of today. Even Bernie Sanders has $9.2M in the bank.

All this is a stunning revelation, as Trump has trumpeted his wealth all along, stating that he is "very, very rich," and declaring he was self-funding (proven to be untrue - he accepted at least $14,000,000 in donations during the primaries).

In May, Trump boasted that he didn't need the Republican party. Yet, this week, he asked for Republican help. 

Unpresidential Behavior

All this time, he has continued to behave in decidedly unpresidential ways: nicknames worthy only of high-school bullies (and even then), constant "clarifications" from his campaign staffers due to impulsive - or unscripted - statements that raise eyebrows among conservatives and liberals alike, and a confrontational, self-centered demeanor that slightly overshadows his lack of substance in his speeches.

Yet an advisor for his campaign has warned against expecting changes: "If you read any of this to believe Trump is going to change in any way, you're probably misreading it," he said. "Donald Trump is Donald Trump and he's not going to change into something else."

The Real Agenda 

Here's what I believe is happening - and what will happen down the line.

In a shocking revelation, Donald Trump admitted, early on in the campaign, that he and Bill Clinton spoke on the phone before Trump announced his bid for the White House.

Ask yourselves why such a call would take place - especially if Trump were planning to oppose Hillary, either as a Democrat or Republican.

There's one reason, and that is to help Hillary. We all know that the Clintons operate this way; they bend break the rules, they create landscapes that unfold in their favor, and they tend to get away with it every time.

The theory I mentioned at the beginning of this article is sound; Hillary needed someone who would make her look like a more desirable choice for President. The only person in the race who could do that was Donald Trump.

The Clintons knew they could not hold their own against a poised, skilled, principled conservative like Ted Cruz, and that the field - including Jeb Bush (a popular candidate, even if many felt he wasn't right for the job), Rand Paul (consistently popular), outsiders like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, and the wildly successful Scott Walker - to name a few - did not look like one Hillary could beat.

But they knew Donald Trump. They'd been friends for years. He praised Clinton's stint as Secretary of State, saying she'd been a "terrific Secretary of State", and is on record stating she would "make a great president."

He's known to have been a major donor to her campaigns, as well as to the Clinton Foundation. And he is seen, in a famous photograph, with the Clintons at his 3rd wedding. He is quoted as saying: "“Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding. She had no choice because I gave to [the Clinton] foundation."

What does this mean, besides an almost certain win for Hillary Clinton when she runs against the disastrous candidacy of Donald Trump?

Bold Prediction 

 I've been mulling over a bold prediction that - in this bizarre election cycle - could just be less outlandish than plausible.

See, I couldn't understand how someone could so blatantly, and clumsily be throwing this election the way Trump continues to bumble through. Shilling for Hillary to win is now widely believed among conservatives. But what does he get out of it? Because with Donald Trump, it's always about him.

What if, after Clinton wins (by the landslide she's expected to win against Trump's consistently low performance in polls against her), she then holds a joint press conference with Donald Trump?

What if, at this press conference, she announces that she is going to give Trump an advisory position in her cabinet?

And what if Trump declares that he is doing so "in the name of unifying the country", something he's been unable to do in the party he purports to represent?

You're laughing right now. You may be ridiculing this utterly ridiculous projection. But you probably laughed when Trump announced, and then advanced his candidacy for president too.

Don't dismiss it out of hand. He's friends with the Clintons, a major donor to her previous campaigns, he's a lifelong Democrat, and he is crazy enough to be throwing this election just to emerge with a seat on the Clinton train after all, having gotten a massive ego boost out of an implausibly conceived triumph in primaries (if you can call 44.8% of the entire primary count "triumphant").

We don't know what the phone call entailed when Bill Clinton and Donald Trump talked about the campaign. But knowing both of these two weasels, deals could have been struck to this effect.

I feel strongly about this possibility.

Time will tell; but in 2016, with these two highly questionable scampaigns being the last two standing, anything is possible.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Coping Beyond 2016: A Canadian View

I'm Canadian. People have tried to shut me down, when I comment on American politics:

  • "You don't have a horse in this race."
  • "You don't pay taxes in my country so you don't have a right to meddle." (to which I reply, "how is expressing my opinion considered meddling?")
  • "Why don't you go worry about your own disastrous Prime Minister?" (Oh, I do. Every day)
  • "Shut up."
  • "Take a hike."

You get the gist. And yes, those are the Trump cultists who don't like it when I state my opinion of him - which, as you might well imagine - isn't very positive.

Here's the thing: I'm Canadian, a politics junkie, and someone well-informed enough to know that every political situation on Earth is my business, as it should be yours.

I've been called everything from racist (make that "raaaaaaaaacist") to right-wing nut-job when commenting on Barack Obama's presidency.

Now, the Trumpidians are attacking me for not being "on board" with the "presumptive Republican nominee".

(The irony of being attacked globally by those who mocked Obama supporters for the same behavior is simply amazing)

Newsflash: my conservatism - which extends from my Canadian values to my love for the United States - doesn't allow me to get "on board" with a guy who is, essentially, as liberal as his opponents (speaking of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders). It doesn't allow me to support a guy who states "This is the Republican Party, not the conservative party, and I don't need conservatives to be unified in order to win."

My conservatism is centered on values, principles, and core beliefs which transcend the borders of our two countries.

My conservatism embraces the individual liberties, small government, personal accountability, and love of country the Founders of the USA embraced, and which my former Prime Minister - Stephen Harper - did as well.

In fact, Stephen Harper was not the first conservative PM of Canada, but he was most definitely the purest conservative in terms of his values and the way in which he ran my country.

I was about to live vicariously through the USA this year. Last October, we lost the government of Stephen Harper to a fledgling/substitute drama teacher whose pretty hair and brand name were responsible for his popularity among low-informed voters, and subsequently his election.

This year, I was going to live my dreams of conservative government when the USA elected a true conservative to heal my neighboring country. I would rejoice with my friends and loved ones in America that, finally, there would be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and we would see sanity prevail at last.

Well, you all know what's going on, and I've been vocal enough on social media for anyone in my realm to know exactly how I feel about Donald Trump; he is not conservative, he is not sane, he is not for the people - he is a liberal chameleon out to win for his own narcissistic ego stroking, and his sanity is most definitely in question.

He's not even by the people: with 27,052,068 votes cast so far, he has amassed merely 10,994,897. That's 16,057,171 who have not voted for him. 44.13% of the vote. Clearly not the majority of voters in these primaries.

But due to wall-to-wall free coverage across the media (network and cable "news" networks), an outrageous personality with a brand name, the loudest mouth on stage even when there were only 4 candidates debating, and refusal to debate the one remaining conservative (who terrified him to the point of cowering from one-on-one), he rose to notoriety and somehow, in farcical fashion, the nomination within reach.

I supported Ted Cruz. I watched him since his election to the Senate, read his book, followed his speeches, and cheered when he announced his candidacy. I mourned when he suspended his campaign, but those hopes of mine did not die; in fact, I still - realistically or not - hope he can command enough of a following before the convention to at least cause a stir.

But today, I began to think about the Bigger Picture. Beyond 2016. I've resigned myself to the reality that one of the two New York leftists will, tragically, take Office on January 20, 2017. That's the simple reality.

Thing is, rather than give into anger, frustration, head-exploding astonishment, I've been thinking about What Happens Next.

See, I'm always inspired by Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Isn't that how the United States of America came to be in the first place? Who's to say that can't - or won't - happen again?

When Ronald Reagan failed in 1976, he didn't leave his dreams behind. He built on them. The country fell further, and when he came back in 1980, successfully to the nomination and then the White House (with a landslide 44-state victory), it was when the country was at a low point on every level.

When he won his second term with an even more impressive 49-state landslide, that - to me - was a definitive statement by the people: in unison, voices raised. The healing had begun, they needed it to continue, and they trusted Reagan to stay the course.

When he left Office in 1988, it was as the most successful President the country had seen, and to this day, that designation stands.

We can recapture that. I believe the next 4 years will be that Rock Bottom the USA has to hit in order for there to be a massive wake-up call. It is frightening to think about all that will happen, no matter who takes the Oath of Office that day in January. But it is a necessary evil for healing to finally begin.

And whether it is Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, or any other up-and-coming conservative who emerges as the Reaganesque figure to heal the country, I truly believe we will see a mirroring of the 1980 phenomenon that propelled Reagan to historic infamy.

We're in different times now, for sure: social media has all but replaced journalism, journalism has become more social media (where is the objective news anchor these days?) and people believe everything they hear - because they saw it on the Internet.

We're in a time where low-information voters are outnumbering - or at least out-blogging - those with critical-thinking skills. We're in a time where low-information voters mimic their idols in cults of personality and abandon any pretense of values, principles, or common decency.

But there are many principled conservatives who are not standing by and letting that happen. The #NeverTrump movement grew legs, to the point where more conservatives are willing to let the chips fall where they may by shunning both choices, rather than become sheep who simply kowtow to the Establishment or cross the aisle to choose the lesser of two evils.

There is no lesser of two evils this time around: just the evils of two lessers.

The true conservative voices raised in protest of a candidate who commanded only 44.13% of the vote in the party he purports to represent are louder than the cultists who proclaim that he is the One to lead America back to her former self.

(Again, incredible irony of those who mocked - rightfully - the cultists of 2008/2012, fawning over Barack Obama who could Do No Wrong, now behaving in exactly the same ways over Donald Trump)

I won't go into why I know their justifications are folly; nothing he has said is even close to what the Founders envisioned, and in fact, I don't believe he's ever spoken of, quoted from, or even read the Constitution.

So here's where my head is at: a New Day. Tyranny comes in different forms, and the Founders came together to fight it militarily. Who's to say a political uprising cannot do the same, fighting a different form of tyranny?

I would like to see conservatives rallying the troops, forming, perhaps, a new party in which principles and values are honored. A new party in which liberty is cherished. A new party in which conservatism is celebrated, and in which voices are heard, not stifled or drowned out by rhetoric.

I think there are more conservatives than not who are looking for a new home. The GOP is not dying; it is dead. Donald Trump is the symptom, perhaps, not the cause, but his nomination and (I shudder to think) possible election will kill it for good - especially as more GOP politicians and civilian members begin to surrender to what they believe to be inevitable.

There is nothing Grand about that Old Party; and it's time for a new one. One that represents what is being lost in this election, that which has been ridiculed, stifled, derided, and attacked in the past 2 elections.

So why not mobilize? Why not rise up against the party whose members are more invested in their winning than in doing the good work of the country? Why not rise up against the party whose citizens are selling out either in resignation of (and surrender to) what they see as a binary choice, or in osmosis with a populist movement that has as much to do with traditional Republican/conservative values as it does to constitutionalism?

What if a new party were formed, and we used the next 4 years to help it gather speed, members, a doctrine, and a Voice?

And what if we started now?

I may be physically on my side of the border, but the Internet knows no boundaries; my heart is with those in the USA who want and deserve better, and I am a single, but very prolific voice willing to do what I can to rally the call and do the work.

This possibility has grown larger in my mind since I began workshopping it earlier this evening, and instead of just being an idea, it is now a Mission.

It is also serving to do something I did not have when Stephen Harper was voted out October 19th, 2015: giving me faith, and giving me a way to cope with the devastation that is reality.

I can now start to see beyond 2016, to 2020, and it will help me - and I hope more than just a few of you - to truly get through the next 4 years of chaos in order to come out the other side with the sun still shining and principled optimism stronger than ever.

If we can start healing now, I believe this election will not be a source of depression, but of action.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's on board.

Let's start a dialogue.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Case Against Trump

I've been vocal on Facebook and Twitter, making no attempt to hide my utter contempt for Donald Trump. It's time to do that in a more formal way.

When Trump first announced his candidacy, it was laughed off - I mean, Pat Paulsen ran too, right?

But he started rising in the polls, and the curious phenomenon grabbed my attention. I listened to him, and while his antics were mild and entertaining, I heard the message: Americans are angry and they need someone who will say it as it is.

In The Spirit Of Transparency: I will state here and now, I have never wavered from my hopes that Senator Ted Cruz would enter the race, secure the nomination, and go on to become the 45th President of the United States. I had been watching Cruz since his rise in politics, and he appeals on all levels. More about him later.

But Trump was Everyman. He said it without eloquence, but he said it. He expressed the no-holds-barred anger of Americans in what their president had done to their country, and he made some points, I had to admit.

Then things changed. He became extremely derisive of those who either criticized him, or threatened his political aspirations.

  Nasty On Steroids 


 It began with Dr. Ben Carson - a mild-mannered man who also wants to help in the fight to make America great.

Aside: I leave off the "again" - unlike Trump, I happen to feel America's great by virtue of her values, her history, her beautiful land, her people, and that she needs healing, not transformation. Also, by giving into Trump's catchphrase, one would have to admit that Obama has succeeded in "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" and while things are bad, America's basic roots and founding principles stand strong. I know many Americans who love their country and happen to believe, as do I, that she's pretty darn great already.

Back to Dr. Carson. He is a Seventh Day Adventist, and back in October of 2015, Donald Trump questioned that faith:
"I'm Presbyterian, he said. "Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."
It was an odd statement, because Trump was clearly taking a shot at Dr. Carson. He also derided the doctor for his past:

Dr. Carson, in his autobiography, told a story of how, in his troubled youth,  he had attempted to stab a classmate but that the knife had hit a belt buckle. Trump not only called Carson a liar, he mocked Dr. Carson at rallies.

He also compared the "pathological" Carson to a child molester.

I began to take note. This was not politics, this was ugly and cheap. And while politics CAN get nasty, this was out of the ordinary. Dr. Carson had done nothing to Donald Trump but exist.

Then it got worse.

As Senator Cruz was in the race alongside Trump, Trump was asked in a September interview whether he felt the Canadian-born Cruz was eligible for the presidency.

(For the record - and in case you've just returned from your trip to Outer Space: Cruz was born in Calgary to an American-born mother, and the Constitution states very clearly that his mother's citizenship makes him a natural-born American citizen)

But, as Cruz began to surge in Iowa, and it looked as though he could be a threat to Trump's heretofore runaway candidacy, Trump flip-flopped.

Suddenly, he was not only questioning, he was making veiled threats that he would sue Cruz for eligibility.

The attacks escalated. And when Donald Trump came in second place to Ted Cruz in Iowa, he turned full-force hate on Senator Cruz.

I won't recount every detail. It's not only well documented everywhere across the Internet, I'm sure you're all familiar with the attacks and accusations.

But it's when I decided that no matter what, I couldn't fathom ever supporting Trump.

It got worse, still. In New Hampshire, Trump used a vulgarity to describe Cruz. Oh, he'll say he didn't use it - but he did. A woman in the front (likely a plant) used the word. He feigned shock, fake-chastised her, asked her to repeat it, and then repeated it himself so that everyone could hear it.

There's no call for that. It's the shock-jock mentality of his supporters who love every crass statement that crosses his lips.

The Trump Temper and a Question Of Conservatism


 Trump has a temper(ament) problem. He gets angry and when he does, he turns into a victim. Suddenly, he's the one being attacked - and this is when normal, politically motivated discourse even lightly criticizes something he's said.

(He never sees it as wrong when he attacks his opponents, with either ordinary criticism or the all-out ugliness I outlined above; he epitomizes the Double Standard)

When he is attacked at a debate, or a rally, he comes out with the same whiny "they're not fair to me" complaint we have heard from Barack Obama.

Obama complains that Fox News isn't fair to him when they ask him hard-hitting questions (like why the IRS targeted Conservatives or why Obamacare was such a misleading premise from the start). Fair game for those who dare to practice journalistic integrity.

Trump complains that his opponents cite his deeply-liberal record. Also fair game.

How does someone who has spent most of his lifetime as a far-left liberal, who has contributed millions of dollars to liberals and their organizations, supported partial-birth abortion, still supports funding Planned Parenthood, promises socialized healthcare suddenly become conservative?

On February 17, 2016, in a town hall he scheduled on MSNBC in order to directly compete with the one on CNN in which Ted Cruz was appearing, this happened:

I'm not sure how anyone can look at that and not start to question his conservatism.

But Trump is teflon. His minions seem blinded to his glaring flaws. I recently learned of a term coined to describe a typical Trump follower: "Trumpanzee". No term could be more descriptive or clever, and no image could be more glaring: appealing to the basest instincts, with no need - or concern - for diplomacy or finesse; unleashed, uninhibited, poo-flinging misbehavior.  They don't even seem to care if he's conservative or not.

This came into my timeline this morning - and it is terrifying:

Why is it terrifying?

Because this election is critical. It is crucial to pulling a country that has been steered so far to the left it is almost unrecognizable, back to at least the center, if not toward the values on which it was founded.

Conservatives who once held fast to the desperate need to regain control of the House and Senate, to defeat Democrats who were taking the country to lawlessness, socialism, and values so liberal they were alarming, who would criticize any politician, pundit, voter, or analyst if there were a (D) after his/her name, are now saying that the Party doesn't matter as long as their leader-of-choice runs the country.

How is there to be any differentiation between ideologies if party lines are blurred? Yes, it's commendable for any leader to cross party lines and work with the opposition.

But politics are about ideologies. Doctrines that describe the very spirit of each Party. Conventions are held with full days spent outlining those doctrines and their tenets. People who have deep connections to their party ideologies stand strong for what represents their values, their very way of thinking, and for how they will vote in order to influence their very lives.

And if those ideologies are put second, so does the entire body of the party being impersonated.

These are your values, people. And the conservatives I know hold those values so deeply, it is written in their DNA. If that ceases to matter, if there is no need for party, just person, how will your values ever count?

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

Misleading is one thing; masquerading is entirely another.

Donald Trump may be tapping into the anger of the people, but so have a lot of other candidates. Saying it "like it is" is not particular only to Trump.

He has made a statement that is extremely alarming:

That was after the vulgarity he used about Senator Cruz, and an example of his odd, misguided notion that people who use profanity are those who eschew political correctness (more about that below).

But he doubled down on the 18th of February, stating in a CNN Town Hall: "I can  be different with different people."

That, to me, reeks of a lack of honesty, lack of integrity, and lack of trustworthiness.

If he can change so rapidly, how do voters know which Donald Trump they are electing? What happens if he is (*shudders*) in the Oval Office and decides to change to pro-socialism? Pro-Communism? Pro-Palestinian?

Given his statement this week that he will remain neutral on the Israel-Palestinian issue (a deal breaker, for me), he is certainly capable of that chameleonesque transformation.

(Aside: Israel is a key issue in my mind, no matter which side of the border; Canada elected an anti-Israel government; the USA has one now. For anyone to suggest neutrality is to suggest that there is moral equivalence on this issue, and when there is one nation fighting for its very survival, and another trying to see it destroyed and its citizens dead? There is no neutrality. Not standing up for Israel is a decidedly liberal stance in both the USA and Canada. Jewish Canadians who voted liberal did so despite Trudeau's lack of support for Israel; Jewish Democrats in the USA stand up for politicians who easily snub Israel. This is a topic for another article, but I had to mention this in regards to Trump, who raised yet another red flag this week with his neutrality statement)

Narcissism In Red

But principles seem to be less of a valued commodity to him than his power. His ego is enormous. Asked any question, he begins with how he "loves" whatever-it-is-in-question. He goes on to talk about how every time he addresses it at a rally, he gets a standing ovation. He skirts the question but seems to feel that if he tells his interviewer how much his audience loves him, and how well he gets along with others, it is enough to convince the listener that he has a handle on whatever-it-is-in-question. And perhaps encourage the interviewer not to follow up with "But Mr. Trump, you didn't answer the question." (That, by the way, rarely happens)

I made this in August; it was probably when the pattern of bristling-when-criticized began to emerge:

But Trumpanzees don't see this. They like his personality. The parallels are invisible to them.

He spends most of his time talking about himself, not the country. His website has an "issues" section but each issue is addressed via a video of - you guessed it! - Donald J. Trump talk about it. He knows his followers want All Donald, All the time.

Serious candidates will talk about themselves vis-à-vis their positions on the issues. Trump's site has a "positions" section but it is lacking, to say the least (nothing on healthcare anywhere on the site, which is a huge issue with many voters).

Trump's Appeal

Trump has appeal to people who laugh at Jackass, nut-shot videos on YouTube, and fart jokes.

His ideological record and continued twisted-journey through changing stances put Lombard Street* to shame.

*Lombard Street, San Francisco, narrow road, eight hairpin turns

His candidacy could have been serious, had he displayed an ounce of finesse. He says he's not politically correct. But that's the wrong term. Tell me: if your kid came home using the kind of vulgarities Trump used to describe Senator Cruz, you likely wouldn't praise him for being politically incorrect. You'd lecture him about common decency and having manners.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that being the leader of a country - especially a super power like the United States of America - requires a certain personality as well. A polished, diplomatic, personable aura that is in place even when being attacked by one's critics.

A true leader will rise to the critics, taking them on by systematically proving them wrong, answering their charges and coming back with a thoughtful clarification.

Donald Trump turns on his critics, attacks them, insults them, fabricates rumors about them (see Tom Coburn incident, just this week), and then threatens frivolous lawsuits.

Or there was the time he made fun of a disabled journalist (and women, and a war hero who was a POW):

This is not presidential. It is high-school level taunting, petulance, and arrogance. It is Bullying.

And it is a major reason I feel he is unsuited to be a candidate, much less the nominee or (*shudders*) elected to Office.

Teflon Trump, Substance-Free 

Watching Trump at his rallies (in small doses - I cannot take more), I am struck by how he presents himself. He delivers his stump speeches more like a stand-up comedian than like a serious candidate. He loves to get a rise out of his audience.

 And he can talk about anything, prove nothing, provide nothing but slogans and catchphrases ("Build a wall!" "China!" "Make America Great Again!") without any red meat whatsoever; but what baffles so many is that his poll numbers rise. His followers are impervious to their idol being substance free.

They don't want boring old issues. It isn't why he draws the crowd. So he manipulates them with his faithful standby line. He told the New York Times:

You know, if it gets a little boring, if I see people starting to sort of, maybe thinking about leaving, I can sort of tell the audience, I just say, ‘We will build the wall!' and they go nuts.

They want the stand-up routine. Issues are irrelevant.

Telling, as well, is his unabashed egotistical arrogance:

 "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?" Trump remarked at a campaign stop at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible."

Another problem with Trump's followers was beautifully phrased just this weekend, by Jonah Goldberg:
Trump’s total lack of ideological or intellectual rigor and consistency is making fools of people who once claimed they cared about such things.
(I urge you to visit the Goldberg link; he describes how Trump's supporters follow him blindly, no matter how much he shows his bull-in-a-china-shop clumsiness and warns about the "Middle Finger Politics" being toxic)

I see people - including those I have known as staunch conservatives - suddenly, unconditionally defending Trump.

But a problem I've found is that so many defend him by stating he's "what the country needs", by trouncing his competitors, and by attacking his critics. I don't see a lot of principled, substantive debate going on.

Sadly, this is too reminiscent of my own country's elections just a few short months ago. I challenged those who supported the inexperienced, bumbling Liberal candidate to please state why they wanted him in power.

Not one person gave me substance. They gave me fluff. Lemming Logic that wouldn't stand up at any elementary-school debate, much less on the national stage of politics.

He's also shown an utter lack of substance in his attacks on his opponents. His current line is to accuse Senator Cruz of lying. That's what he says, over and over, with his inarticulate high-school whine. But he never addresses the reasons. He accuses without merit. I just wish more media would ask him to clarify what it is being said about him that is untrue. Because Ted Cruz, in a press conference this week, outlined exactly what he's been saying, with evidence backing up his statements. 

Same with Trumpanzees. I've had to block followers on Twitter for the personal attacks, the vitriol, and the zombies who, almost in monotonal unison, chant the name and slogan of their Hero as though that is enough to ward off the coming storm.

Liberals did that during the 2008/12 elections in the USA. Liberals did it in the 2015 election in Canada.

Now, it is conservative against conservative, because it's Trump. Whatever appeal he holds has no basis in conservatism. He is making a mockery of conservatism, the Party, the process, and the country. His followers are encouraging him to do so, even as he encourages them to behave badly.

I do stand by my defense of Senator Cruz; I will outline my reasons in my next piece.

And I am praying that people wake up, see how the right is being torn apart, and see the true conservatism in Ted Cruz who is being called "the closest in our lifetimes we have ever been to Ronald Reagan."

I'm not sure many conservatives care about the fate of the country; or if they do, and they believe Donald Trump is the solution, society is in worse shape than anyone could have predicted.

I welcome your thoughts, as always, in civil discourse.