This is a message for my loudmouthed conservative and Republican peers now repudiating their prior commitment to vote for Trump, and seeking to wash themselves free of Trump’s tiny “pussy-grabbing” hands in the wake of the “locker room banter” revelation.
If you think that your integrity can be so easily repaired by some public magic words or a well-liked social media post, you’re not getting off that easily. There is no return and refund policy for selling your soul.
It is quite a time to be alive in an era where nothing can be real until it is learned firsthand by the human senses. And yet that’s what we have before us.
Consider the locker room banter revelation: Donald Trump’s reputation precedes him as a serial womanizer, a verbal abuser, an attention-craving, narcissistic crony, a pathological liar, and a braggadocios demagogue. Forests have been sacrificed for profiles of his repugnant behavior, and the internet is ablaze with recordings and personal accounts of his trespasses. Then a recording goes viral of him saying what probably sounds like the worst of what we have always known for a fact are well within the bounds of his “character,” and only now do some of his previously committed supporters jump ship.
There is nothing about the locker room banter that makes Donald Trump’s candidacy for President different than it already was before.
The society we live in gushes with corruption and facile morality, and nowhere is that tragedy clearer than in the way we digest new information about the personal character of the powerful. I once quipped that we are an animalistic voting body that cuts off our noses to spite our faces, and that no political culture with that kind of moral rot will ever truly fret that the noses of its “leaders” keep growing longer without consequence. We stopped caring long ago about the moral standing of leaders and political figures so long as they could satisfy our primal, immediate, tribalistic desires. It became too inconvenient, which is another way of saying that we were happy to condone atrocious behavior unless it was really, really bad. Bad enough to shock whatever was left of our starving, unheeded conscience.
But apparently it took the act of actually hearing it for that to happen. Those with buyer’s remorse after drinking the Trump Kool-Aid, despite the abundance of buyer beware signs, were entertaining a fantasy. You wanted to believe that the reports were exaggerated, or that it wouldn’t matter to you or anyone else. You wanted to believe that your identitarian ends justified the means of electing the Donald.
This is what a myopic, single-issue voting public reduces itself to: dogmatic, absolutist appraisal of complex social problems that the individual cannot unchain himself from his personal stake in. We are a nation of bloodthirsty, wantonly-aggrieved factions that will hold extremism in the torch carrying of some pet political project (abortions, wedding cakes, gun grabbing, etc.: take your pick) as not vice, but virtue.
And we are a nation that communicates this ostensible “virtue” the same way Donald Trump does. “Look at me! I’m an advocate for equality, inclusion, justice, and fairness!” “Look at how I’m checking my privilege!” “Look at me punch up to some backwards hicks carrying “Make America Great Again” signs!” “Look at me taking selfies with the good guys!”
Do not pretend for even one moment that anyone’s public repudiation of Trump in wake of that locker room banter is anything more than the same kind of habitual virtue signaling that is now routine and instinctive in the worst, most intellectually barren meadows of the American Left. I and my conservative peers, who didn’t need to hear the locker room banter to reject the Donald, have watched in lamentation as you sullied your integrity and the conservative name brand with it. The future belongs not to the fainthearted, but only the brave. And you have shown us the true depths and colors of your cowardice.
Credit to leftists where it’s due – they stopped pretending to care about degenerate behavior long ago. No amount of alarmism about the reckless (at best) security habits of Hillary Clinton or her family Foundation is going to convince them that she is as dangerous, maniacal, and disgraceful as any candidate who has ever sought the office (including Trump himself), and they made their peace with that. They don’t get to lecture anyone about sexual closet skeletons, but at least they aren’t lying.
Conservatives only now jumping ship from Trump, on the other hand, have committed a special sin, for we, or at least those of us who were genuine, actually took it upon ourselves to continue emphasizing the importance of character in leadership. It was supposed to help make us better, keep us morally and intellectually anchored to the Earth, and sustain the social order we crave. When Donald Trump rose to the front of the polls on a surefire path to become the nominee of a party that no longer resembled that of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, it was your categorical imperative as conservatives to reject him. You had all the chances to do it, even a movement of support and encouragement.
You didn’t, and now you’re just virtue signaling.
I wish no shame upon anyone, for it is better to see the light of Trump’s darkness late than never. How you live with yourself and your choices in the Era of Schrodinger’s Outrage and Virtue Signaling is between you and God. But if you were supporting him early on, especially at the expense of his primary opponents, do not think that you can suddenly count yourself among our proud ranks and that it will extinguish the bitter memory of your failing.
You bought the Kool-Aid at the cost of your soul. There are no refunds.