The party that is supposed to represent my beliefs, and carry the torch of American conservatism, has fallen into absolute ethical and moral bankruptcy.
The Republican Party no longer deserves the title of “conservative.” Conservatism is supposed to be the tactful, sober, and dutiful counterpart to activist liberalism. It adapts to and accepts with open arms the changes in social attitudes as society matures, grows and develops. It is a philosophy of evolution; a philosophy that acts on the basis that guaranteeing the most liberty to all Americans makes our nation the most free, equal and prosperous that it can be.
Today’s Republican Party is not, in any way, in step with this crucial notion of conservatism. It is more intent on settling the political scores of Christian fundamentalists who have no regard for the separation of church and state that is crucial for a functioning, pluralistic democracy.
As a conservative I enthusiastically endorse abortion rights and women’s access to healthcare, the liberties of same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, marijuana legalization and the recognition and support for LGBTQ+ Americans across society. I applaud the changes in our society because they extend the most liberty to the most Americans. I scoff at the notion that reversing court decisions that have led us to these freedoms and liberties is some twisted form of progress.
The second tenet, in my estimation, of conservatism is the fact that our governing class must be of a sober, ethical and dutiful nature. With the passing of Senator McCain, the maverick light of good conscience and civic duty has dimmed considerably. President Trump has little concept of his duty to the United States of America and its citizens: he is nothing but a dim-witted, egoistic and puerile specimen of New York City’s worst stereotypes. His crassness, ill manner and absolute lack of tact or respect deserve no place in the great halls of power, and the same can be said for his rotating nepotistic clan of sycophants. They cheapen the image of the presidency, and that of the United States of America.
This brings me to the nomination and unfortunate confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. Sexual predator or not, in the afternoon-long rant that somehow passed as Senate testimony, Brett Kavanaugh singlehandedly showed that he concerns himself less about protecting the Constitution of the United States and promoting justice within her borders than he does with settling petty political scores. He hasn’t the sober and dutiful comportment required of a justice of the court, rather showing himself as hysterical, accusatory and conspiratorial: qualities not remotely becoming of one of our nation’s most important offices.
Thirdly, in writing on the lack of tact, ethics or respect, I must touch on the foreign policy undertaken by this current administration, which has a fondness for autocracy and which is based on the shallow premises of greed and self-congratulation. The recent murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, and our president’s response, is an example of this. In today’s world, there is no need for the American people to be the sugar daddies of ungrateful dictators. With the growing shadow of Russian irredentism, there is no place for the United States to be picking fights with NATO allies like Turkey. While Erdogan’s democratic credentials are slowly revoking themselves, Turkey is a far more important ally than a pseudo-medieval Kingdom that is in denial about its own waning significance. As an importing nation, there is little but harm in slapping on tariffs that will make end goods more expensive at home.
The United States of America is a beautiful, intrepid and revolutionary experiment, and it is the duty of all of us as citizens to make that experiment successful. In the face of authoritarianism, dictatorship and oppression, we must always stand as the shining example of good government, liberty and republican democracy. Whether the Republican Party endorses any of these things, in my view, is deeply questionable. The party needs time out of power to purge itself of the scourge of demagoguery and return itself to the grounded, clear headed and unifying party that conservativism should be represented by. So, as a conservative, I humbly ask you to vote against the kind of “conservatism” exemplified by current Republicans this November.
Andrew Orme is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs on alternate Fridays.
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