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On Exhaustion: Life in the Age of Trump

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“I’m tired, Boss.”  So says John Coffey in the movie The Green Mile.  I know the feeling.  As CRTV’s Steve Deace has stated on several occasions, trying to keep up with the goings on of the Trump administration feels like aging in dog years.  Every month, week, day, sometimes even every hour, is going to be some new fire to put out.  When will it end and where will it leave us?

Now, when I say I’m exhausted, I don’t mean physically.  All things considered, and most people probably feel the same way, I have a good life.  I’m happily married.  My wife and I have three wonderful children.  I’m active at a wonderful church and I enjoy the work I do as an attorney.  With that said, like many of you, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I have followed politics closely most of my life and I have never been so mentally drained from trying to process it all.  Just checking my news feeds can be excruciating.

Death by A Thousand Cuts

Last night, President Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.  These are serious issues, and are times where a President can shine by focusing national attention on our collective security.  However, almost up to the moment he took to the podium, we were discussing whether or not he’s a racist and why he’s providing moral equivalency to white nationalists.  From one minute to the next, there is no down time.  It’s constant crisis, with no time for the adrenaline to level off and get the heart rate back to normal.

This type of leadership, or lack thereof, leads to exhaustion for the average citizen.  This is a problem for the President.  Full disclosure, I did not vote for Trump.  I left the Republican Party in May 2016.  My fears of what a potential Trump presidency would look like have become reality.  With that said, I do want the President to be successful, in that I want what’s best for my country and fellow citizens.  President Trump’s problem now is that the dumpster fire is so big, he’s lost any moral authority to push any type of agenda.  Even those agenda measures we may agree with.  No matter the issue, for the remainder of Trump’s presidency, his motivations will be second guessed.  Sadly, nothing of the conservative agenda will be advanced.  As the recently unemployed Steve Bannon said, the presidency that millions voted for is effectively over.

Take last night’s speech for example.  We’ve been in Afghanistan for sixteen years.  I served in the US Navy during, and after, 9/11.  That makes me very hesitant to be critical of any mission where men and women are still in the field, but there are concerns.  I do not sit in the Pentagon and I have no idea what the current intelligence looks like.  I have to trust that the President and his military advisors are making the best decisions for the safety and security of our nation.  They very well may be, but how many among us looked at that speech and somewhere deep down thought “he’s just trying to move on from the Charlottesville controversy?”  How many have thought the timing of the speech a little too suspect?  We judge actions and motivations based on past performance, and with this president we’ve got a lot of material.

The eight years of the Obama administration were a disaster for the political right.  We watched as policy and culture raced leftward at an extraordinary pace.  Yet, somehow I do not recall being as mentally and emotionally drained, politically, over those eight years as I have been the last seven months.  It just wears on, day after day.  Week after week and month after month.

Getting Up Off The Mat

Republicans cannot win this two front war.  They cannot simultaneously defeat the left in the war of ideas and institute a conservative agenda in the age of Trump.  They will continue to suffer losses and lose ground on both fronts.  Trying to defend and deal with each crisis being inflicted by “your side” is exhausting.  That is constant damage control.  Attacking an opposing ideology actually invigorates and bolsters one’s resolve.  It provides a clarity of purpose.

There does appear to be a new voice emerging.  The Federalist Party has stepped into the breach and is attempting to return us to our founding principles, which served this nation so well for the first 150+ years of our existence.  They wish to return to the system as founded.  At the nation’s founding, the federal government was limited by the Constitution.  The many States had the power to regulate their own affairs, so long as they did not violate the Constitution.  Decisions affecting communities were made by those who lived in the communities affected.  The people’s representatives were citizen-servants, not career politicians.

Being a part of renewing the Federalist Party has given me a new sense of purpose and a renewed political energy.  It is exciting to look to the future and see what could be, for the sake of our children and our nation.  We are in a time of binary choices, which have led to nothing except bad choices.  Democrats and republicans are beholden to special interests that do not reflect the needs and wants of the citizens.  The Federalist Party is creating a home for those who realize the real power lies with the people.  The party trusts our fellow citizens to be able to debate ideas.  Residents can reach solutions which are most beneficial for their own communities.  They are building the party from the ground up.  Local elected offices are just as important, if not more so, than national office holders.

I’m not saying we all need to wear powdered wigs and debate the issues of the day in hot rooms.  After all, it is not the middle of summer circa 1776.  However, the time is ripe to establish a place where we can once again debate issues respectfully and win over our fellow citizens on the merits of our ideas.  All I know is that it will be much more beneficial to our metal and emotional health if we can establish a new paradigm.

Attorney, husband, father, and Provisional State Chair of the Federalist Party of North Carolina.

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