Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in indiana on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
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Unity for unity's sake? I'll pass.
Trump fans are now asking that we "unify" around their leader. Well, not asking so much as demanding amid insults and accusations and violent threats. I can't tell you how many emails I've received in the last few days that contained sentences like "you're a f***ing faggot" and "f*** you, cuck scum" and "HAHAHAHAHAHA loser!!!!!!" and "die, you filth" and "I'm going to hunt you down" and other charming phrases, but ended with a call for unity.
"Unify, you piece of s**t!"
Tempting, but I'll pass.
ALBANY, NEW YORK - APRIL 11: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally on April 11, 2016 in Albany, New York. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
It's no surprise that some Trump fans think you can unify a party by calling everyone "faggots" and telling them to kill themselves. After all, they support a man who strove valiantly for unity by being nothing less than the most divisive Republican presidential candidate in American history. Trump lobbed smears, invective, lies, mockery and scorn at anyone who failed to properly worship him, even encouraging his supporters to physically assault their political opponents, but now, because he needs to expand his discipleship to seize the power he desperately covets, he wants to fashion himself a unifier.
This is why I'm wary of some in the "Never Trump" crowd who say they could perhaps support Trump if he "cleans up his act" and becomes "presidential" and whatever. These people know full well that any "cleaning up of the act" will be purely self-serving, temporary and manipulative. We've seen what sort of man he truly is, and a few months of being slightly less reprehensible (assuming he can manage such a feat, which I highly doubt) changes nothing. The folks offering this caveat are really just laying the groundwork for their eventual and inevitable surrender. They've created their escape hatch and are now waiting for Trump to put together one 24 hour stretch of decency so they'll have their excuse to jump on the train. I think they may be waiting a while.
At any rate, even if I could remotely believe that these newly minted proponents of "unity" are sincere, it wouldn't matter. Unity is an empty, vapid slogan. It means nothing without qualifiers. It's like when Trump fans (or Obama fans in 2008) insist that their guy "will bring change," seemingly unconcerned with the nature of the change.
"Things are bad! Make them different!" Trumplings shout, apparently unaware that "different" can also include "worse" and even "way worse." If you have no idea about what sort of changes you want, you probably shouldn't be advocating change at all. Asking for change non-specifically is like going to the barber, pointing at your head, and shouting, "cut this!" Maybe your hairstyle does need a revamp, but are you quite confident the one you have now is literally the worst hairstyle possible, and any hairstyle at all would be preferable? And, if that is how you feel, why be picky about the barber? If all you want is a cut, any cut, just a different cut, then pay the drunk hobo down the street 5 bucks and let him take a crack at it.
Trump will bring change, to be sure. He knows a fair amount about change. He's changed his stance on every issue a dozen times a piece throughout this campaign. In fact, just in the last couple of days he's "changed" and become a proponent of tax increases and minimum wage hikes. Is that the kind of change we're after? Or should we qualify this "change" slogan with some precise details about the types of changes we want?
And so it is with unity. Unity is only good if we are uniting around something that is good. The 9-11 hijackers were unified because they shared a common desire to slaughter infidels. That's not good. It would have been better if they'd argued among themselves and in the end accomplished nothing. There have been many occasions throughout history where division and contradiction would have been greatly preferable to unity. Nazi Germany is another example.
Uniting around a single man, irrespective of his ideas and his character, is how you end up with cult encampments and mass suicides. The type of unity we should be encouraging is the kind that forms around a common cause and common principles, and that cause and those principles must be right, just and true. So if the options are to unite around Trump just because he's Trump, or to unit around Trump's bad ideas and flimsy principles, or to be divided and at each other's throats, I'll take option C every time. The choice, to me, is self-evident.
And here's another self-evident truth: To unite purely for the sake of uniting - to throw in with the crowd just for the sake of being with the crowd - is cowardice. It's the sort of popular conformity we warn our children against. "Don't jump off a bridge just because that's what your friends are doing," your mom used to say. From your mom's perspective, and from mine, it's far better to stay on solid ground alone than plunge unified to a certain death.
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. (Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Trumpism will indeed plunge both the conservative movement and America to its death. We've been marching towards this demise for quite some time, but Trump and Hillary would only hasten it. Telling us to unify around Trump because he's better than Hillary is like telling us to jump off a 400 foot bridge rather than a 300 foot bridge because at least we'll have a few more seconds before we splatter all over the sidewalk. No thanks.
So forget about these "unity" pitches, Trumpites, and start talking about your ideas. If your ideas are worth considering, present them. Don't tell me I'm under some kind of cosmic mandate to support your candidate. Don't try to guilt me with your sudden enthusiasm for peace and harmony throughout the land. Don't tell me about Hillary Clinton. Don't sell me a slightly longer fall to my death. Sell your ideas, such as they are. Give me something real to unify around.
As it happens, I'm already quite familiar with the "ideas" at the root of Trumpism. They're very much like progressive ideas, but slightly less cohesive, tinged with white nationalism and always shifting at the behest of the god-king Trump. And that's why I reject this unity - because I reject the thing around which we are supposed to be uniting.
There will be no unity, then. There will be intense division and conflict, even more than before. The left continues to unite around false notions, and now many on the right are uniting around falsehoods of their own. The two will compete over which brand of tyranny will rule, and somewhere over on the side, a dwindling number of conservatives will oppose both and be detested by both. We have not been a popular bunch for a long time, and now we'll be more reviled and despised than we've ever been. I'm not particularly excited about this, but I'd rather embrace that fate than "unite" around a lie just to avoid it.
And there may be even more division if the Bernie Sanders supporters have the guts and the gumption to abandon their party when Hillary's coronation is complete. I don't know that they have it in them to reject Hillary the way conservatives are rejecting Trump, but I hope they do. Not because I agree with the Sanders crowd, but because it is far more American to fight for your ideals, however flawed, than to passively accept the ideals handed to you by a political party's national committee.
If liberals have that kind of courage, there could be an ideological war fought between four or five factions, and it could get uglier than any of us can imagine. It could rip the nation apart. But however ugly it gets and however deep the divisions become, it will be far better than an America where two unthinking, subservient, homogeneous groups "unite" around ideas and principles most of them would reject if they had the stomach for it.
I didn't ask for it to happen this way. I didn't ask for our nation to descend to a state so lowly that Trump and Clinton could ascend so high. I didn't want any of this. But even less do I want Trumpism or Clintonism to become the law of the land. Unity would be nice, but if the only unity that is available right now is a unity that requires me to dump the truth and the Constitution on the side of the road, I'd rather we be divided. I'll take a real fight - even a bitter, awful, cataclysmic fight - over a false unity.
See, I'm no more "against unity" in principle than the Trumpites or the Clintonites. It's just that they want unity on their terms, around their vision for America, and I want it on the terms of the Constitution, Christian values and Natural Law. This vision - what we once would have called the conservative vision - is vastly superior to the vision offered by the Trumpites and the Clintonites, and I won't give it up on their account. They can give up theirs if unity really interests them so much. But I suspect they are no more willing to unify for unity's sake than I am.
I've been told that there is no choice but to unify around Trump. It's either him or Clinton. Well, I've already explained why I find neither superior to the other, but this claim is demonstrably false anyway. We voters are not actually required by law to stay loyal to the two parties at any cost. We could take charge of ourselves, of our country, of our political process, and unite around a third party, or start a new party altogether. We are able to do that, and the only reason "it won't happen," is because the voters will elect, of their own free will, to remain obedient to the powers that be.
That is surrender and compromise. We who will now strike out on our own and oppose both parties are the ones truly fighting. And we are also offering an opportunity for true unity. If that invitation is declined, we are no more rejecting unity with the Trumpites than the Trumpites are rejecting unity with us.
And it appears that's the situation. We're at an impasse. All sides have declined to find unity with the others. Let us be at odds then. It's what we've all chosen.
So be it.
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