So, unsurprisingly, I want you to think about another scene from yet another movie.
It’s “Hook,” where the late, great Robin Williams plays Peter Banning, a workaholic businessman who discovers that he’s actually Peter Pan all grown up.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.
He makes it back to Neverland—except the Lost Boys have since gotten a new leader: the much younger, stronger, decidedly fiercer Rufio.
“Rufio, Rufio, RU-FI-OOOOOOO!” the Lost Boys cheer as Rufio soars down to challenge the old Pan.
“Oh that is SO dangerous,” says Banning as Rufio pulls a couple of acrobatic tricks on the way down. “That’s ENOUGH!” Banning shouts. Rufio lands and pulls out his sword. “Ok mister, alright, show’s over, now you PUT that thing away, now put it down before you poke somebody’s eye out!” says Banning.
They all laugh.
Banning continues: “You’re not even old enough to shave! What are you doing flying around… this is an insurance nightmare! What is this, some kind of Lord of the Flies preschool? Where are your parents? Who’s in charge here?”
The laughing stops and they all point instantly to Rufio.
Before long, the boys are running back and forth in a hilarious huddle between sides, as Tinker Bell and Rufio each try to convince them who they’re supposed to follow.
It’s that back-and-forth scene in I’ve had running through my head lately.
Because I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do when I walk into that ballot box this November.
I’m having a heart-and-gut-wrenching conscience battle with myself right now over what’s least worst. I think Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is an immense danger to this country. And, if his record and his campaign show us anything, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump looks to be just as bad.
Do I end this ridiculous cycle of voting for the lesser of two evils by writing in a candidate or not voting at all?
Or, since I know exactly what kind of damage Clinton will cause, do I risk it on the slim, slim chance that I’m wrong about Trump?
I heard someone say once that this election has become about debating the merits of donkey poo versus horse poo. That sounds about right.
And it sucks—which is why the rhetoric I’m hearing from both sides bothers me so much.
I’m not alone; I’m one of countless conservatives trying desperately to make a decision I can live with, without sacrificing principle and without feeling like I’ve harmed the country with my vote (or no-vote).
I know I’m not alone when I say I feel exactly like the huddle of boys going back and forth between Pan and Rufio. After all, both #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary have solid arguments.
The #NeverTrump crowd has a solid argument when they point to Alexander Hamilton’s wise words as their guide:
“If we must have an enemy at the head of the Government, let it be one whom we can oppose & for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”
Then again, the #NeverHillary crowd has an equally solid argument when they point to the fact that whoever wins this election will nominate the next several Supreme Court justices—and we all know for an undeniable, irrefutable, unquestionable, incontestable fact what kind of country-wrecking, Constitution-shredding justices Clinton would choose, whereas there’s a sliver of unknown with Trump.
Can you picture the mental back and forth now?
As if this decision isn’t hard enough, we’re taking in on the chin from both sides.
The #NeverHillary crowds tells the #NeverTrump crowd they're sitting on a "high horse;" the #NeverTrump crowd tells the #NeverHillary crowd they're sellouts.
Listen, #NeverHillary-ers (and frankly, the pro-Trump crowd): You have to understand something about the #NeverTrump crowd. They’re not the proverbial snotty child who didn’t get his way and so he takes his ball and goes home. They’re not just ticked that “their guy” didn’t get the nod. They're not pitching a hissy fit. Just like you’re genuinely and rightfully concerned at the thought of a Clinton presidency, they are genuinely and rightfully concerned about a Trump presidency—because everything about Trump’s past and present screams progressive.
(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
And if you think they’re wrong, that’s ok. So convince them otherwise. Don’t treat them like traitors—because that’s the last thing they’re trying to do. And let’s get one thing straight: while not voting for Trump does, yes, inadvertently help Clinton, can we please stop treating these people like they’re actively checking the box for her? They’ve made a decision based on their own consciences: they’re no longer going to play the “lesser of two evils” game. That’s all.
Your turn, #NeverTrump-ers: You’ve got to understand something about the #Never Hillary crowd. Those who have decided that they’ll vote against Hillary by voting for Trump are people who are trying desperately to do what’s right for their country, too. They’re not fakes. They’re trying to do what’s least worst. They’re hardly beltway establishment RINOs who bend with the wind. They haven’t sold out their principles—they’re trying to preserve them in their own way.
While we’re at it, just as egregious as bashing these people as “faux conservatives,” let’s cut it out with the “real Christian” talk, too.” I get it, I really do—there are many #NeverTrump Christians genuinely trying to understand how any Christian could vote for a guy so clearly devoid of moral character. So, you claim they’re not “really” Christians. Here’s the thing: I know incredible people of great faith (some of them are pastors!) who’ve made the difficult decision to vote against Clinton by voting for Trump. Their faith is just fine. So let’s stop pretending we have eyes into everyone’s soul, shall we?
I know I’m not the only one in this position.
I also know that we are not sellouts. We aren’t faux conservatives. For crying out loud, I write for TheBlaze. I'm only a little committed to preserving freedom... just a little.
Let me be very clear: I'm not talking about the (as Brittany Pounders rightly puts it) "men who were former Governors, sitting Senators, and now struggling to stay relevant saw themselves in important and comfortable Cabinet positons" who decided to support Trump for reasons of personal gain and political prominance.
And I'm DEFINITELY not talking about the die-hard Trump supporters blinded by epic showmanship and "candor."
That is selling out.
But I've digressed.
I love this line from #NeverTrump-er Brad Thor’s epic Facebook post: “We are stewards of our Republic and as such, our greatest responsibility is not to ourselves, or any political party, but to the next generation of Americans…”
That’s all any red-blooded constitutional conservative like me wants - to be a good steward of this Republic. Period.
We’re at each other’s throats, and enough’s enough.
Look, #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary, you want to help me finally decide one way or another?
Start by acknowledging that nobody here is making this decision because they like Trump, or they want Hillary to win.
And you know what else?
Just be civil.
Leave the digs, jabs and name calling at home. Just bring your cogent arguments to the battlefield of ideas.
Follow the example of people like Chris Salcedo or Brittany Pounders, both staunch #NeverHillary-er always willing to have a productive, fact-based, spirited debate—or Glenn Beck, a staunch #NeverTrump-er whose modus operandi is equally as constructive.
You never know—you might just help me (and quite a few others) decide once and for all.
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, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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