On Losing Patriotically

On Losing Patriotically August 3, 2016

People ask me what I will do if Trump wins.  I think the best prayer of benediction from a loser in an election I know is the one offered by John Wayne after the 1960 election.  Of John Kennedy, whom he has voted against, Wayne said, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my President and I hope he does a good job.”  That is how every American should respond to the outcome of an election.

It is not, however, how right wing culture warriors have responded to their losses over the past eight years:

This enormously popular bit of piety among Good Conservative Christians is an allusion to the single most bitter imprecatory psalm in the psalter.  The passage says “Let his days be few and let another take his office.”  It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a prayer for Obama’s death.

So much for All Lives Matter from the “prolife” Right.

And now we have Trump already pre-emptively ginning up his mob of revanchists with the completely baseless claim (which they will believe along with every other baseless lie he tells tell them) that the election is “rigged“.  This paranoid prattle from a man who alleged Ted Cruz’s father was somehow complicit in the assassination of JFK and who thinks the National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer is an invitation to every nut in the GOP base to commit violence if they don’t get their way.

Trump knows that his chances of winning are slim.  He would not be calling the election rigged if he believed he was going to win.  So he is poisoning his fact-averse base against the entire democratic process itself in order to maintain the lie of a win when he loses.  It is a fundamentally treasonous attack on the Constitutional order itself.  And it could well lead to bloodshed when his pack of fools in the Party of Personal Responsibility are faced with yet another loss.

When will the GOP renounce this guy and admit that he is profoundly unworthy of office and a menace?

On a related note, I had a really beautiful conversation with friend yesterday who was troubled by my contention that, given the binary nature of our system, the manifest unworthiness of Trump means that Hillary, bad as she is, *must* win.  He asked for my reasons and I gave them:

Me: It’s one or the other and it must not be Trump. If I lived in a swing state I would feel moraly bound to vote for her under Ratzinger’s “proportionate reason” caveat in order to stop him. I regard him as *the* most dangerous human being ever put within reach of the White House without any exception whatsoever. Hillary is, in the words of PJ O’Rourke, “wrong within normal parameters”. There are a host of dangers he presents, up to and including, a constitutional crisis, a major chain of command crisis for our military,the destruction of the prolife movement’s already shredded credibility, an assault on the first amendment that will dwarf Christian jitters about Hillary, jailing of media and other Americans critical of him, as well as nuclear war. He represents a *colossal* threat at the helm of the mightiest military power in the history of the world.

Happily, I don’t live in a state where I have to vote in order for her to win the electoral vote and so can vote a third party protest vote. But if there were a doubt she could carry Washington, I’d vote for her to help stop him. As to abortion, he’s functionally the same as her. He supports it and will do nothing to change Roe. But on a host of other issues, he is immensely worse. I’ve never feared the outcome of an election before. With Trump, I am fearful of the irreparable damage he will do the US and the world.

Friend: Can’t see how he’s functionally the same. Picked a pro-life VP, while Hillary had Cecile Richards speak at the convention. They are miles apart. I think you’ve bought into the mainstream hype. I’ve never seen a candidate demonized like this one. He’s not as bad as Hillary, not by a very long shot.
Me: VPs do nothing. He’s there to sucker prolifers. That’s all. Trump’s not been demonized. He’s been quoted. What he says is appalling. What he will do will be catastrophic. He must be stopped.
Friend: OK, Mark. End of discussion. Sorry I weighed in. This election may destroy the country, but not our friendship.
Me: You’re a good egg, Mike. 🙂 Jan and I have to get across the mountains again one of these days and sponge off you again. You’re welcome here anytime you visit Seattle!
Me: And pray for me too. This is a hard election. Forgive me if I’ve hurt you (any of you) in any way.
Friend: Not offended. Just confused how two individuals (you and me) can arrive at different conclusions. I respect your intelligence and discernment. I agree with your views 99.9% of the time. So this season will pass and we can get on with praying for our poor country, the world and humanity in general, together.

That’s how things should go as we strive to order the common good.  Lincoln was right:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

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