My daughter has hit that phase. Parents, you know the one—where screams and sippee cups launched across the room have replaced your sweet baby who once just stared up at you and cooed from the bassinet.
It’s testing time.
She’s trying to figure out just exactly where her limits are—and just how far she can push us both until we give up and give in. Naturally, I love my daughter. I’d do anything for my daughter. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to support her little temper tantrums or applaud when she continues to do something after I’ve clearly told her “no.”
Instead, I’m going to do exactly two things:
1) Be an instructive corrector. In other words, I’m not just going to tell her when she’s doing something wrong—I’m also going to show her what she should be doing instead. And why.
2) I’m going to hold my ground. In other words, I’m not going to excuse any bad behavior away just because she happens to be my kid.
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I was thinking about this recurring scenario as I watched Donald Trump pull another less than consverative move (right after I announced I’d be voting for him to stop Hillary Clinton). I
n this latest announcement, Trump plans to have the federal government, as Emily Peck of the Huffington Post writes in this piece, “guarantee up to six weeks of paid maternity leave to new mothers.”
Side note: I find it mildly entertaining to watch Ms. Peck twist and turn to call this move potentially “discriminatory” towards women, when just recently she wrote a piece decrying the fact that mothers in the U.S. live in the only country without federal paid leave policies. It’s impressive to watch the contortions some go through to defend a policy when it’s their party’s idea, and decry it when it comes from a candidate they don’t like.
Nonetheless, Peck’s political contortions bring up a great point: I’m watching conservatives do the same thing with Donald Trump. As Jon Stewart so brilliantly illustrates in this video, certain prominent conservatives have been more than hypocritical in their rationalization of Trump’s less-than-conservative actions when they’ve been vehemently critical (and rightly so) of President Barack Obama for espousing many of the same things.
So where does that leave those of us in this sort of odd “middle ground;” those of us who aren’t voting FOR Trump so much as we’re voting AGAINST Hillary? After all, we’re not in the business of actively throwing punches at Trump, because we’re betting on him beating Hillary. And then again, we do NOT want to be in the business of excusing away or rationalizing certain policies that are clearly progressive.
Let me take you back to my modus operandi when dealing with my daughter.
First, we need to be instructive correctors.
No, Donald Trump is not the conservative candidate we wanted … by a long shot. But it’s not just about pointing out what’s wrong with some of his stances. You know those bumpers that you can use in a bowling alley to keep the ball on track? I’m saying we be those to the Trump campaign. Be the people that we’re hoping he surrounds himself with and listens to for sound policy and principled direction.
Which brings me to No. 2:
Second, we need to stand our ground. Resist the tempation to begin rationalizing policies we’d otherwise recognize as wrong, simply because they’re being peddled by “our” candidate. Because here’s the deal—if Trump actually beats out Clinton in the end (and we avoid the certain death that a fully stacked leftist Supreme Court would bring), we certainly can’t stand up for the right direction if we spent the election cycle rationalizing away the poor choices this candidate has made.
Let’s look at this completely pragmatically. Trump’s maternity leave stunt is a quintessential Republican tactic (and also, consistently a failure). That is, throw a big progressive bone to the moderates in the hopes of pulling over a few more of their votes in the waning weeks of the campaign.
But let me clue the Trump campaign in: I believe there are far more conservatives currently sitting on the fence because they can’t see much daylight between Trump and Clinton—and it’s this kind of junk that convinces them to stay home on election day. After all, if we’re looking at this pragmatically, it gets hard to rationalize that Trump’s got the potential to be the better lifeboat when his campaign strategy keeps revealing holes.
I’m not going to lie. I’m not voting for Donald Trump because I think he’s currently conservatism’s next hero. I’m voting for him because I think he might be a bulwark against something far worse. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do my best to articulate what he should be doing (and why).
Who knows—what if he listens? At this point, it’s worth a shot.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Monday-Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: email@example.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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