Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher made this statement in 1840 in his work Democracy in America. The words reign loud and true today as America will celebrate its two-hundred fortieth birthday this July 4. Reviving de Tocqueville is a reflex response to the Trump candidacy and his slogan Make America Great Again. The problem is Donald Trump does not understand the origin of America’s greatness.
Let me begin by saying The United States of America was never a great nation according to the worldly definition which is more suitable towards the great empires that reigned eons before the U.S.A. was a gleam in anyone’s eyes. George Washington, our first president, professed isolationism and no permanent alliances. He was not wrong in the late eighteenth century, it is just that the world changed a lot since then forcing us to compete economically and defend against modern day tyrants with long range and nuclear weapons. We are the greatest country in the world because we no other is any better. This is not to say we are the only good nation; no nation is any better because no nation is any freer. Freedom is our most precious commodity and the tyrannical Donald Trump will take a good portion of it away. He wants to rewrite the First Amendment guaranteeing us free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to petition and assemble. I have been a Republican conservative since I was old enough to vote but I cannot support Donald J. Trump.
Talk show host Sean Hannity acknowledges how people like me feel about Trump but swears up and down we would feel the same way about Ted Cruz. Not so. Cruz is a constitutionalist and would have made executive decisions only if they would be constitutional. You could argue he is a different type of insurgence, but he is who he is and would allow the establishment to continue to be the establishment and the onus would be on him to sell his ideas. Trump is a very different beast who has never held public office in his life. His appeal is that he is not a career politician; he is a beast far worse. Many of my fellow Republicans did not take his candidacy seriously and were sure he would ride off into the sunset and someone else, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich would be in slot one. Now that Mr. Trump is the presumptive nominee, the Republican Party is fighting for its conservative life, facing an unwelcomed overhaul with Trump being the new establishment. For now, establishment and grassroots Republicans are taking a very reserved approach to supporting him and I hope they hold their ground. But the Republican Party dilemma is not the worst of it; American Democracy is fighting for its life. It is beyond the dangers of socialism and left-wing politics. It is beyond Hillary Clinton’s emails and Benghazi and the war on ISIS. It is beyond whether to clear the way for Merrick Garland to be confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court or let the new president select. It is about whether or not we will maintain our fundamental freedoms and continue to foster a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
I am not prepared to answer as to whether I will bite the bullet and vote for Hillary Clinton and hope conservatism can be reborn four years later, or do a write-in in protest of the two choices. I will definitely show up at the polls on election day in November to vote the congressional ballot and in so far as writing in a name of a person with no assigned set of electors in the state is no different from writing in Mickey Mouse, I probably will not leave the first column (President) blank. My penultimate admonishment is whatever you do, don’t sell out to Trump.