As I write this, the Electoral College has elected Donald Trump as the next president despite much anguish from the “alt-left.” From the extreme rhetoric, one would expect global coverage of the resurrection of Adolf Hitler with Nazi hordes marching on the bastions of progressivism. In actuality, I think Trump will be somewhat conventional in his approach to governing, despite the campaign rhetoric and the millions who placed their trust in an unknown political personality.
Having watched Trump over the last few years, there’s little in his résumé to identify him as a conservative, at least as conservatives usually define themselves. Trump is not a social conservative, already stating that the issue of gay marriage is settled law. His pro-life stance during the campaign has yet to be tested, with his appointees having a mixed bag of ideological beliefs. Although his first judicial appointee will be made to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative member of the Supreme Court, replacing him with another conservative will simply restore the court balance to what it was in January of this year. Nobody controls the biological clock on the remaining justices, and most of them are contrary enough to live and serve well into their 90s, just to make a point. I think many dedicated conservatives will be quite disappointed in Trump, at least on social issues, which seems to be the fuel for the fire that is stirring the “progressive pot” into apoplexy.
The men and women Trump has thus far selected to fill his cabinet are, contrary to slurs hurled in their direction, some of the most qualified and exceptionally successful Americans in their fields. It is truly a cabinet of the “Best and the Brightest,” to steal an aphorism, although the “alt-left” should be afraid for their agenda. Trump’s people are quite capable of dismantling a good part of the regulatory structure that has been imposed on Americans for a generation.
I’m personally acquainted with Trump’s pick for national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn; we were junior officers together 30 years ago. I know of the others by their reputations, which among military officers were stellar. They will serve the nation well. The attorney selected to lead the EPA will no doubt cause extreme heartburn among radical environmentalists but will give hope to the millions of Americans who’ve seen their livelihoods destroyed by the imposition of draconian regulatory regimes over American manufacturing and energy industries. Scorn them if you will, but the people in these industries built the foundations of the American economy. These were forgotten and spurned by privileged coastal elites, so during this election the favor was returned.
Once upon a time, I too was a Democrat, as were my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That was a time when being patriotic was still acceptable for Democrats. Men like Sam Nunn, “Scoop” Jackson, John Glenn, and President Kennedy and others tried in the cauldron of WWII and Korea led the nation and the Democratic Party. They’re all gone now, forgotten and likely scorned, replaced by those who sneer at patriotism, despise the flag, ridicule the faith of others, and persecute those who disagree, much like Sen. Joe McCarthy did to liberals in the 1950s. Today’s ideological test is less political than blatant anti-religious bigotry disguised as “tolerance.” There is no tolerance for anyone with sincerely held religious beliefs; the philosophy of “live and let live” has been replaced by “you will be made to care … and you will not just accept but celebrate … or else.” When the state demands not just compliance in action but conformance of thought, it’s called tyranny. Ask any North Korean; they are intimately familiar with state imposed conformity of thought and speech. America isn’t there yet, but the left is working hard to get us there. Ask the Silicon Valley dot-com exec who lost his job and was blacklisted from the industry because someone revealed that he, along with a majority of Californians, voted eight years ago to restrict marriage to just biological men and women. He was also a Christian, which just confirmed the verdict of his “ideological guilt.”
One of the main reasons progressives lost the election is the radical ideological turn taken by the Democrats. Americans are far more conservative on social and religious issues than one usually encounters in California. Having lived in all of the national regions, rest assured the rest of the country is about as alienated from California social values as they’d be from invaders from Mars.
Most of all, progressives engaged in tribal warfare, dividing Americans into sub-categories, dismissing a natural constituency: unionized tradesmen. You’re doing it locally by attacking Phillips 66 refinery workers, natural Democrats whose starting salaries are $80,000 a year. Energy workers, steel workers, miners, and others were betrayed by slavish adherence to radical environmental policies that destroy livelihoods, and disrupt families and communities. Please keep it up; your ideological conformity is the best hope Republicans have of governing for the next 30 years.
Al Fonzi is the chairman of the Republican Party of SLO County and an army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor at [email protected].
-- Al Fonzi - Atascadero