January 17, 2021
What Do We Do with a Pretend President?
I was struck by David Atwood's "The Right will Neither Forgive nor Forget." It struck close to home because I'm a boycotter. It takes a lot to get me to such a point, but if someone goes through the effort to do so, it sets in hard and deep.
I've never been an NFL fan. I played baseball. But I knew I was in the minority, so I watched the Super Bowl every year and tried to be somewhat conversant in the game highlights I'd watch on the news. Many of my friends were rabid fans and would have weekend get-togethers to watch a game. This was throughout most of my adulthood and working career in the Air Force. Then Colin Kaepernick came along and disrespected my flag, and the NFL let him get away with it. And then a clothing brand built an advertising campaign around him, paying him to disrespect my flag. I no longer watch the Super Bowl, or the game highlights, and I never buy that brand of clothing. There's also a pizza chain, an American auto maker, and one food company I boycott. That was it. Until now.
Atwood's characterizations of the latest Democrat shenanigans brought back a thought I had long ago forgotten. "All politics is local." Tip O'Neill said that. To college-aged me, that meant that what happens in Washington, D.C. should not have much impact on my life. Local politics was far more important. But then I entered the military, and what happened in Washington, D.C. touched my life every day. Over the years, my military life and family life merged so much that I lost that thought. I didn't make the connection when gas prices skyrocketed, when a friend was thrilled to get an 8% mortgage, when almost everyone I knew lost nearly 50% of his home's values, or I drove by abandoned houses in my neighborhood on my way to work.
My political coming of age was in the Clinton years, and I was surrounded by men and women who loathed him, so much so that Air Force leadership issued a memo emphasizing our prohibition from criticizing the commander in chief. He was in the news daily for some scandal or moral failing, and he abused the military, which impacted me and my family. Bush was better, but my time away from home was worse. Obama was a nightmare, and to this day, I will not display my retirement certificate because it has Obama's signature. As each president touched my life in an increasingly more invasive and personal way, I didn't separate the personal from the professional until I read Atwood.
Going to a child's high school sporting event is a one-game deal, often played over and over again, but win or lose, it doesn't normally impact your life, affect your family, or change your core beliefs. Presidential contests have become more and more life-impacting events. For conservatives, national elections are about moral character, tradition, adherence to the Constitution, and allegiance to the founders. Conservatives know that not all of our history is pretty, but we revere it because it collectively made us who we are. Liberals have no respect for history, blame it on all their current grievances, and vow to enact so much change as to fundamentally alter who we are. Rather than debate the merits of their beliefs and policies, they name-call, insult, and assassinate character through lies and exaggerations, then enact damaging policies with even worse unintended consequences.
The last four years for liberals have been one long temper tantrum. I mean that in the most childish context imaginable. A famous liberal campaign donor, an outsider somewhat morally compromised, promising to enact strict conservative policies, defeated the liberals' thoroughly corrupt, establishment first-female-president opportunity. It wasn't just that he won; it was that he wasn't supposed to win; he never had a chance; had they just known, they could have prevented it.
That's what they did this time. While Trump kept his promises and built the biggest following since the Beatles, the liberals whined and worked in the shadows to steal any chance he had of being re-elected. And they did it in our faces, blatantly, openly, proudly — with another thoroughly corrupt, establishment, unappealing oldest-and-most-senile-candidate-ever, who couldn't attract a dozen people to a rally but could manage to draw more votes than Obama the Great. It was the stuff of novels, boring movies, and conspiracy theorists. It was crazy, absurd, impossible, you-can't-make-this-stuff-up kind of stuff, and it was all real.
Mr. Atwood concludes there must be a discussion about free and fair elections, which he notes the Democrats don't seem to be interested in. After all, they still reference "baseless allegations" in slandering Trump. They believe they've found a good thing in free and unfair cheating, and they won't give it up voluntarily. But they've misjudged Trump-supporters. I know I'm not alone as a boycotter. I believe there are nearly 80 million others out there who, like me, will never donate to, support, or vote for a Democrat again as long as they live.
The Pretend President may ask for unity, but it's not at all different from a thief asking his victims to agree to let him keep what he's already taken. He can't have the Oval Office and unity; they don't go together without the legitimacy of rightfully sitting in the president's chair. When the criminal calls the victim a liar, and the victim's allegations of what the criminal knows he did as baseless — and the criminal plays himself as the victim of baseless allegations from a "sore loser" — he has quadrupled down on dishonesty, corruption, hypocrisy, and illegitimacy. The chair is vacant to me; there is no voice coming from that office. There is no longer a possible remedy; we are past making it right. There could be forgiveness and acceptance for acknowledgment and repentance, but neither of those has occurred. That leaves only condemnation and boycott.
As for unity...we 80 million Trump supporters have plenty of that.
Donald N. Finley is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.