I saw a McMullin tweet earlier wherein he stated that real Republicans and Conservatives put principle over party – it sounds like a reasonable statement until you examine it closely. What McMullin is saying is that any Republican or Conservative who supports Trump is unprincipled. That is an astonishingly arrogant thing to say.
I think it is pretty clear that I take a dim view of President Obama (for a mere $3.99 you can get all the details here), but I would never say that all those who back him are unprincipled…I believe most of his supporters back him precisely on principle. They are wrong principles, or misunderstood principles, but principles nonetheless. To be sure, a large collection of unprincipled hacks have attached themselves to Obama, and are also attached to Hillary…and, indeed, some such have attached themselves to Trump. That is in the nature of things – unprincipled hacks always try to hitch themselves to something the believe they can profit off of…but almost all people who back a candidate for elective office sincerely believe that candidate is the best choice on principle.
What McMullin’s tweet shows is a level of sneering contempt for people – for regular, honest folks who are making what they think is the best decision at the time. They may be wrong – they may, indeed, be fabulously wrong – but to think that they are all stupid, or venal is outrageous. And in practical terms, if one is Conservative, how are you to win if you just wrote off what will be – even if it is in defeat – about 60 million Americans as stupid?
The people are what they are – human beings being prone to error and folly…but the key to understanding is that no matter how gauche a person might be, that person is still a child of God, made for eternal joy with God. You dare not denigrate such a person – because, after all, given the observation that the last shall be first and the first, last, the person you are holding in contempt might be raised quite higher than you, in the End…and, as an aside, if you do hold that person in contempt you might find that in the End that you’ve chosen the very worst part of it. For better or worse (and in the long run, mostly for the better) we have decided that our government will be decided upon by the votes of the people – this means that you must first and foremost respect the people. Yes, even the barely-literate, poorly dressed, loud and vulgar lout who is making a ruckus. If you can’t respect that person then you’ve no business seeking office.
The people who are held in contempt are the farmers, the mechanics, the plumbers, the family men and women. In short, the people being held in contempt are those who actually do the business of making our society work day by day. You might not think much about that clean, running water which is unfailingly delivered to your tap every day, but it takes a lot of hard work by dirty, gritty people to make sure that water gets to you. All the investment bankers, artists and fashion designers in the world won’t help you much if someone isn’t willing to get down into the drains and fix things for you. And those people who do that sort of work for you – no matter how vulgar they are – deserve your absolute and immense respect. If you can’t give it to them, then you’re one of the saddest specimens of human being imaginable. Smart guy – you go listen to them, first; once you’ve done that, then you can tell them what you think; and if you truly listened, you are going to think differently than before you listened.
It isn’t that McMullin’s statement was the first bit of sneering contempt we’ve seen in politics this year – plenty of people have that attitude, left and right. I can’t see that working long-term as a viable electoral strategy. Come what may on November 8th, the future of Conservatism rests upon the ability to show respect for the people.