A grave mistake has been made in today’s political minefield. The word “conservative”, used to label an ideological slant, has become stigmatized. Throughout history, the Democratic and Republican Parties have shifted and even traded ideals. However, the bedrock of what makes American conservatism has remained forever consistent. It is merely the “brand” of conservatism that has been stolen by the Republican Party. This need not be the case. If we look closely, the proof is in the policy. A true conservative operates on principle and must take action when their so-called “representation” has abandoned them.
Draining the Swamp Means More than Cropping Bureaucracy
“The swamp” has largely been referred to in the context of big government. Bureaucracy is obtuse, and taking responsibilities out of the the private sphere results in inefficiency.
However, the largest threat to the conservation of capitalism lies not in the clash between the public and private sectors, but in the realm of campaign finance. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United (5–4), allowing corporations and unions to finance campaigns as if they are individual people and undoing Theodore Roosevelt’s Tillman Act. As we know, a core concept of conservatism is individual liberty. It is without doubt that our individual liberties are compromised when grassroots campaign contributions are a minority source of funding. By minimizing the influence of the common person, we encourage the top-down, “ivory tower” method of federal governing that conservatives despise.
And while there are caps on campaign contributions by individuals, weighty private interests often create non-profit fronts, through which individual donations need not be disclosed. It is because of this process that millions are raised by various special interests on behalf of a candidate.
Considering the best-funded candidate wins over 90% of the time, donations are heavily coveted. How they are obtained matters little when the campaign finance system is easily available for exploitation. Legislators and presidents alike cater to the needs of their wealthy donors, unfairly skewing policy to their benefit. As a result, the virtuous free market is made obsolete.
How can we expect competitive liberty and sound conservative policy when Republicans are receiving 59% of lobbyist donations, 57.3% of pharmaceutical and health product donations, 64.9% of insurance-related donations (health, life, property, car), and an overwhelming 89.2% of oil and gas organization donations?
Long has environmental conservation been a part of the conservative agenda. Old-school Republican and populist icon, Theodore Roosevelt, thought conservation of our national parks to be his crowning achievement. In fact, the 25th president of our great nation used executive orders to establish 121 forest reserves in 31 states.
Richard Nixon, elected because his conservative ideals represented the “silent majority”, established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the year 1970. Much like today, there were widespread concerns about pollution and the proliferated use of pesticides. In order to conserve the purity of God’s green earth, Nixon took action. For his many faults, the 37th president had no reservations when addressing the mounting evidence and concern over environmental destruction. Dictated by conservative ideals, he upheld his obligation to protect this nation.
Over time, the conservative agenda has split from that of Republicans. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change and the resulting alterations to our many environments, the issue of planetary conservation has become politicized. Sneakily making the issue synonymous with “Al Gore” and “Liberalism”, Republicans have managed abandoned an issue that conservatives have championed for a century. One cannot help but realize the correlation between said abandonment and the lopsided donations given to Republican representatives from the oil and gas industry.
Judeo-Christian Values and Social CONSERVatism
The term “Judeo-Christian” first appeared in a book review by George Orwell, referring to the ethical values shared by Jews and Christians. While these values have been asserted across the political spectrum, more recently they have served as an underpinning for conservative culture.
Within these values, there are several blatant infractions committed by Republican leaders, namely Donald Trump, that have conservatives appalled.
One hallmark Judeo-Christian value contained in social conservatism is the prevalence of family values — chiefly the institution of marriage. Donald Trump has personally admitted to one act of infidelity and has allegedly performed another with pornography star, Stormy Daniels. The latter alleged infraction is of particular shock, as the consumption of pornography (involving women) is in stark contrast with Christian values. Just ask the apostle Matthew:
“Everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
Compare with a passage from President Trump:
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. […] Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Concepts such as unconditional love (“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” [Luke 6:27–28]) and renunciation of vengeance (“If a man strikes you on one cheek, turn the other cheek”, [Luke 6:29]) are also afterthoughts. To offer a single example of Republican leadership violating both principles, look to the literal penis-measuring debacle between then-presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
This debauchery is not acceptable for conservatives. It is, however, the new normal for Republicans.
A Stance Against Authoritarian Rulership
The United States Constitution was created to limit individual powers and unilateral decision making. Conservatives seek to uphold the sanctity of its jurisdiction.
Our 45th president, Donald J. Trump, is in open violation of our country’s most sacred document. For the Republican administration and its supporters, this may be okay. For conservatives, it is a travesty. The violation comes in the form of emoluments: Taking payment or benefit from a foreign state.
The Founding Fathers saw the capacity for foreign influence to upset the balance of the republic they wished to fortify. Tradition bares that a president relinquish such interest upon swearing into office, performed by selling off the assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust. President Trump has instead chosen to maintain ownership of The Trump Organization, transferring management over to family members. This is widely considered an ethical disaster and a blatant defilement of the Constitution.
Furthermore, we have justice system meant to hold all peoples of the United States to a standard of laws, preventing the rise of an authoritarian regime. Republican President Donald Trump has shown temperament that strikes fear into the heart of any well-minded conservative. As is self-evident, a well-minded conservative would not entertain a president who calls unilaterally for criminal investigations on political adversaries. Similarly, a well-minded conservative would never support a president who champions the FBI when its investigation fits his personal agenda, and fires the director when it does not.
Why? Because such behavior is a fundamental threat to the integrity of our nation.
Rhetoric-wielding politicians have long prodded our collective underbelly to manipulate our votes. Conservatives, ever fearful of having their voice and culture lost in the sands of time, cannot fall victim to empty pandering. Your legacy is in your beliefs, not in those who speak of them without corresponding action.
Listen not to those who preach small government, then subsidize the highest bidder. Listen not to those who say they will protect our nation, yet fail to defend the land upon which it grows and the sky under which it rests. Listen not to those who would dangle your faith before you, while desecrating its teachings. And listen not to those who speak of freedom, of our country’s greatness, only to violate the constitutional liberties that have made it so. Conservatives, listen not to the Republicans who seek to pull wool over your eyes. The United States of America needs you.
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