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.


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