A reader writes to admonish me

A reader writes to admonish me January 31, 2017

Sez he:

I’ve been reading your blog and other work for at least 15 years.

Thank you!

Like you, I live in a non-swing state, and so voted third-party in 2008, ‘12 and ’16. Even so, this year was different. I definitely thought Trump was such a radically poor choice that I would have owed McCain and Romney apologies if I would have pulled the lever for Trump this year just to stop Hillary.

I hear you.

Having said that, go ahead and count me among those who think some of your scorn for the Right seems to paint all conservatives with a broad brush and is beneath you. Mocking NR (which did, after all, do an “Against Trump” issue) for things Breitbart and the Trump administration have done not only seems sloppy but unfair. It disappoints me deeply when the likes of Bill Bennett climbs aboard the Trump train, but it also heartens me when someone like Jonah Goldberg stands against the tide: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432708/donald-trump-media-supporters-principles-conservatism and  http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435214/donald-trump-rick-perry-republican-party-sold-out.

I’m glad there are still conservatives who are resisting.  But NR and others are making their peace with him too.  And that is tragic.  He is going to remake conservatism in his image and likeness.  But the most tragic aspect, for me, is how *Christian* Trump supporters are willing to now defend every evil thing he does.  Mock the disabled, scapegoat immigrants, lie, promote torture, whatever.  His Christian supporters are in the tank.  Happily not all Christians are his supporters, but it is a heartbreaking scandal to watch so many Christian ruin the name of Christ defending this filth.

My memory isn’t perfect, but I don’t recall you ever crediting people such as Goldberg, George Will, David French or Maggie Gallagher for taking their very public and principled Anti-Trump stands.

I’m not omniscient.  When I can, I have tried to credit principled stand against him.  I have noted Will’s and French’ opposition (and the price the latter paid at the hands of vile Alt Right Nazis).  I don’t follow Goldberg or Gallagher closely, but I’m not surprised a Jewish guy is not going to buy the lies this friend of anti-semite and Nazis is selling.  Good for him!

Part of that may be because I don’t read you as often as I used to, in part because my professional demands allow less time for lingering on my favorite blogs, but it’s also a factor that in recent years it feels like you devote a lot of energy to what may be your own sort of in-group signaling: “I am so not a member of their tribe anymore.” Of course, that is probably just my own flawed perception, so I beg your pardon if you think I’m now being unfair.

I’m honestly perplexed at the madness that has gripped the Right.  I don’t really care about political tribes and never have.  What I care about is the Church and the way in which the amalgamation of American conservatism and conservative Catholicism has now radically poisoned the Church’s witness.  I believe Catholics *must* decouple from that incestuous union or Trump’s seduction will pervert and destroy that sector of the Church and inflict incalculable harm on us.  That’s why I’m yelling myself hoarse.

Part of the reason I write, though is because I think over the years your writing has helped keep me honest and clear-headed about subjects such as torture. Yes, I was saddened and disturbed by how many of my fellow self-identified conservative Catholic friends seemed to ready to side with the President over the Pope and the party over the catechism on that. I suspect reading your thoughts on the subject helped prevent me from doing the same. Well, my perception may be flawed, but it seems to me your disillusionment with the dominant currents in the GOP has you going after the Right in a spirit perhaps less generous than one of fraternal correction.

I think you are right.  But at the same time, as Trump’s new emphasis on torture (eagerly promoted by dissenting Catholic propagandist Sean Hannity) makes clear, it’s all back, worse.  Now he’s combining blatant xenophobic racism directed at singling out immigrants and associating them all with criminals (speaking of lumping).  He is already the absolute worst president we’ve ever had, a narcissistic authoritarian who is consistently working from the fascist playbook.  We have to form a united front against this dangerous man.

Thanks for reading,

Please pray for me.  I really am doing my best.  Meanwhile, thank you for gentle and irenic admonishment.  It’s good to hear from reasonable people.

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