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Here’s to being woke rather than a MAGA

Here’s to being woke rather than a MAGA

Several months ago, I was having lunch with a friend and the topic of politics came up, specifically how bitterly polarized and angry the country has become in the last ten years. 

“Honestly, do you think there is any hope of this ever getting any better?” he asked.

I’ve been thinking about that question ever since. You see, these days, I am part of a group that is considered the enemy by about a third of the country, literally tens of millions of people, who remain absolutely and unwaveringly loyal to former President Donald J. Trump, regardless of what he says or does or however many felony counts he is facing.

He once famously proclaimed, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”  He has spent the last several years proving it.

This is what passes for “conservative” now. You see, the problem is that I am woke. I’m a liberal. A progressive. A bleeding heart. A socialist. A globalist. Choose your favorite epithet.  

The odd thing is that I generally think of myself as a moderate rather than a radical. I have a few core values that shape my worldview.

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I support public education. I don’t think anyone should lose everything they have because they get sick, or that anyone should die because they cannot afford a procedure that could save them if only they could afford it.

 I am fine with capitalism, but I am also pro-union and pro-working class. I believe that 40 years of trickle-down economics has been a massive failure, destroying the middle class and redistributing the wealth to the top one percent.  

I believe in science and actual research and data. I am pro critical thinking.

I believe in equal treatment and opportunity for all people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or anything else. I think people have the right to bear arms with sensible limitations.

I am fine paying taxes to support things for the common good. I am OK with a “safety net” or social programs for “the least of these” who may be unable to provide for themselves for some period of time. I’d rather my tax money go to support hungry children or paying teachers than to corporate welfare.

Oh, I am also pro democracy. I am in favor of our constitutional republic. I support elections and the peaceful transfer of power, even when elections do not go the way I wish.  

I am not in favor of gerrymandering or any attempt by anyone in power to undermine an election. I am not in favor of any initiative or attempt to make it more difficult for any American to vote.  

These days, this is the resume of a radical, I guess. We get hung up on our differences and forget that there is one thing both sides have in common, and that is really the only thing that does give me hope.  

The popularity of Trump — especially in the beginning — is that he was the ultimate “outsider.” His campaign was not just against Democrats, but against the entire “same old same old” two-party political system, which includes “establishment” Republicans.  

That is why even today as we are ramping up toward the primary season leading up to the election in November, none of his challengers can get anywhere near him. They represent politics as usual, and he is still running as the ultimate outsider, albeit one facing 91 felony counts in four separate indictments.

It’s also why he continues to run neck and neck with President Biden in the polls. Biden is a career politician if there ever was one. Detractors think he is too liberal, which is ridiculous. He’s about as centrist as it gets. If he were a real liberal, we would have seen a serious push for universal healthcare over the last four years. We would have seen him use his office as a bully pulpit to address our gun drunk culture.

When Trump loyalists charge that Biden couldn’t have gotten 81 million votes because they didn’t see any of his supporters wearing Biden T shirts or waving Biden flags from our vehicles, what they fail to understand is that most of us have endured elections for many, many years voting against dangerous candidates rather than voting enthusiastically for someone in whom we wholeheartedly believe.

You think the system is lousy? We do, too. It is rife with corruption and in a stranglehold of lobbyists and special interest groups. The system is broken. You think so. We think so. And that explains not only the popularity of Trump, but also the campaign of Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Americans on all sides are fed up with politics as usual. I don’t know a single person who is excited about the prospect of voting for Biden a second time.

On the other hand, it would be nice if we could find a viable outsider who was not equal parts huckster, gangster and narcissist, someone capable of understanding what all Americans are hungry for — a genuine leader, someone who could lead the effort to reform the system and bring real change to the election process.

Ironically — and frighteningly — the Trump movement can no longer be viewed as an outsider campaign. Whether the Republican establishment likes it or not, the party belongs to him now. It has become a party of grievance, of retribution, of pettiness and of lies.  

Most disturbingly, it has become a party willing to subvert the Constitution in order to win elections. The party that for generations has made such an ostentatious display of its patriotism is no longer much of an advocate for democracy.

Furthermore, the party that has aligned itself so lockstep with evangelical Christianity remains foursquare and rock solid behind a candidate who posted this touching Christmas Day message on Truth Social, his favorite social media platform:

“Merry Christmas to all, including Crooked Joe Biden’s ONLY HOPE, Deranged Jack Smith, the out of control Lunatic who just hired outside attorneys, fresh from the SWAMP (unprecedented!), to help him with his poorly executed WITCH HUNT against “TRUMP” and “MAGA.” Included also are World Leaders, both good and bad, but none of which are as evil and “sick” as the THUGS we have inside our Country who, with their Open Borders, INFLATION, Afghanistan Surrender, Green New Scam, High Taxes, No Energy Independence, Woke Military, Russia/Ukraine, Israel/Iran, All Electric Car Lunacy, and so much more, are looking to destroy our once great USA. MAY THEY ROT IN HELL. AGAIN, MERRY CHRISTMAS!” 

I’ll give this rant no more attention or consideration than it deserves except to say this. You may not see a Biden flag flying from my vehicle this year, but I will show up this fall and vote for him. I’ll vote for Biden for the same reason I don’t burn my house down when the kitchen sink springs a leak.  

Before we have any chance of fixing our Republic, we have to see if we can keep it first.

(Chris Cox is a teacher and writer who lives in Haywood County. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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