Saturday, June 4, 2016
Hooray For Donald Trump–Confessions Of A Traditional Conservative Who Came Out Of The Political Closet
Anyone who lives in the Northeast has become used to the assumption of liberalism. One takes for granted in boardrooms, churches, sports clubs, and cafes that progressive ideas are here to stay; that they have a longevity based not only on reasonable conclusion but moral rectitude and principle.
A close friend worked at a well-known Washington non-profit organization whose charter was unequivocal and absolute – to help the poor out of their misery, their servitude, and their destitution.
No one in the company either doubted these founding principles or questioned the means to the universally accepted ends. Employees were to work with host country governments in mutual partnership to alleviate poverty, reduce the affliction of disease, and to promote human and civil rights.
Although these host country governments were notoriously corrupt, venal, and impossibly dismissive of such rights, those working in bilateral partnerships never questioned either the rightness of the cause or the modalities of action. Government, for better or or worse, was more representative of and responsible to and for the common people than any other sector of society. Certainly not the private sector which arrogated economic and financial power and political influence to itself in the early 20th century, accumulated wealth on the backs of the poor, and retains more than ever a disproportionate share of such power and influence today.
It was taken for granted in the board rooms, conference halls, and corridors of my friend’s company that there was one way and one way only of proceeding professionally; and it was not surprising that such ‘progressive’ ideas bled into the operations of the home office. Decisions were made collectively. Individual dissent clotured and dismissed; and objection marginalized as ‘reactionary’ and irrelevant.
The culture of Human Dignity International was respectful, participatory, inclusive, and collective. The company ensured that deliberations in the home office reflected approaches ‘on the ground’; and that since the means were as important as the ends, the bottom line – results and performance – meant little if the means to achieve them were faulty and unresponsive.
The company was as attentive to the disadvantaged, previously marginalized, and other-abled in the office as it was to the desperately poor and suffering in the Third World. It assured ‘safe places’ for women and employees of color; encouraged complaint at the slightest perceived insult; and defended women and minorities at the risk of reactionary legal action.
Israel was an evil, predatory state. The Palestinians – oppressed, downtrodden, and disgraced by the Occupation could do no wrong. America’s imperialism was unchecked, its wars adventurous, vengeful, and self-serving; and the extension of its bourgeois, anti-intellectual culture a word tragedy.
Into this environment came Hadley Chase III, the latest descendant of an old New England family of some repute and history. The Chases had built New Brighton into an industrial powerhouse which provided armaments of war against the British in Revolutionary times, materiel to the Union army in the Civil War, and small arms and ammunition for the Allies in the Great War.
Hadley had been brought up in the classical tradition of Cato the Elder whose pedagogical precepts were the foundation for the education of future Roman leaders. Honesty, justice, compassion, courage, determination, hard work, responsibility, and respect were no less important in mid-Twentieth Century America than they were two millennia before.
It was no surprise that the Chase family was politically conservative. They believed in noblesse oblige – the obligation of the privileged to see to the welfare of the lower-born – and had been patrons of those institutions that offered enterprise, education, and promise to the workers of their factories. They, for all their genuine concern for the less advantaged, never succumbed to the siren song of early American progressives, and never gave away anything. Any eleemosynary contribution on their part had to promote opportunity and enterprise.
To be sure the Chases were socially conservative as well. Heterosexuality was, had been, and always would be the foundation of human society; and although one could tolerate deviations from the sexual norm, there was no room for such deviance as a rule. Although one could be sympathetic to the plight of the poor, such sympathy did not justify entitlements and perpetual safety nets. The nation had been built on risk, enterprise, and the acceptance of consequence, and no post-modernist inclusivity could change the calculus.
Because of the dramatic disconnect between Chase family values and the zeitgeist of the early 21st century, Hadley Chase felt put upon. He believed inn and adhered to the diptychs of Cato the Elder without hesitation, reflection, or question; and yet he was shouted down at Quaker meeting (despite serious misgivings his parents had sent him to Salem Friends School, a premier private secondary school in Washington, DC), dunned out of informal peer-group political forums, and left alone in the corridors and on the sports grounds of the school.
The ‘progressive’ atmosphere was stifling and in fact choking. Any semblance of free speech or respect for divergent opinions has been expunged. No difference of opinion was tolerated and non-believers in the canon were left on the curb.
It was for these reasons and because of this experience that Hadley Chase III became an ardent Trump supporter in the presidential election of 2016. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he, given his socially conservative and rationalist rearing, was initially critical of Trump’s very anti-intellectual, populist posture. Trump simply did not make sense.
There was no way that any wall along the southern US border would ever keep out desperate Hondurans; nor would it ever be possible to deport every Muslim in Detroit. Mexican illegals were not rapists. McCarthyism was dead and buried and patriotism still alive. Gay marriage, abortion, and women’s rights were not unraveling the fabric of America.
Yet there was something about Trump which appealed to him – the outrageousness of the man and his political defiance. Trump had no well thought-out policies on the national debt, immigration, the dollar, or the integrity of the European Union. In fact he had no policies at all; nor was he campaigning on ‘the issues’. His was a candidacy based on the frustration, resentment, and disgust of much of the American electorate concerning Washington, Obama, and the PC hegemony of the progressive Left.
Could he – Hadley Chase III, scion of a storied New England family, Harvard and Yale graduate, champion of the Enlightenment, the principles of the Founding Fathers, and Cato the Elder – possibly vote for this….ignoramus?
You bet your life. Finally, Hadley came out of the closet. For decades – at Mather Country Day, Salem, Harvard and Yale – he had been forced, badgered, insulted and manacled into a semi-progressive ethos. For years he had tolerated insidious progressive intrusions into education, family, and social organizations. He had taken, despite the rankling, nettling reminders of his family, a live-and-let-live approach to American politics. Women have a gripe. There is no denying the legacy of slavery. Homosexuals were born not made. The poor have been shuffled and shuttled by capitalist excess.
By the time 2016 rolled around and Hadley had lived to late middle-age, the old adages, precepts, and diptychs once again kicked in. American society had gone over a moral precipice so steep that no moderate persuasion could reverse. It was too late for intellectual deliberation, parsing of moral texts, or considering the on-the-one-hand-on-the-other postulates.
In fact, in this complex, bewildering, incomprehensible world, only subjectivity was left – a core, fundamental, and primal response to everything. Yes, Hadley admitted, he was hostile to Muslim extremists, to transgender activists, to Bay-to-Breakers and the Folsom Street Fair; to arrogant pro-choice abortionists; and especially to his own kind – pompous, self-assured, self-righteous claimants to American justice.
Hadley hesitated only for a moment in the voting booth – the old rational, elitist, New England plutocratic genes pulled and howled as he raised his hand towards the Trump lever – but then he voted his conscience.
Hadley did not vote for the man, Trump, nor what he supposedly stood for; but for the outrageousness of it all. He was finally coming out of the closet and felt no longer intimidated by his progressive friends and their persistent drumbeat of race, gender, ethnicity, equality, and inclusivity. Fuck ‘em, he thought as he pulled the lever. A traitor to his class, he voted Hollywood, Las Vegas, glitz, bimbos, and Miami Beach…and it felt good.
If Hadley could pull the Trump lever, just imagine how many tens of millions of equally passionate but more legitimately disenfranchised will also pull it. Trump is not simply an eccentric, out-of-the-mainstream candidate. He is the one who finally lets us all out of the closet.