I’m a middle-of-the-road guy watching too much of this nation take an offramp.
I’m a middle-class, middle-aged, unaffiliated independent voter: a white, college-educated suburbanite dad; a Suffolk-raised Nassau resident who lived in New York City for a few years in between.
I’ve voted in each election since I turned 18 and I’ve supported Republicans and Democrats alike. I should be uncertain about election day, but it’s not even close.
Change is good but it needs to be managed. My amateur reading of Burke and Kirk has steeled my hesitations about unintended consequences.
Yet, the call to work towards a more perfect union resounds deep in my bones as a citizen. Political protesting is an absolute right; violence and vandalism is a crime.
President Trump’s calls for change are all oriented toward codifying the worst attitudes polluting this nation from its beginning. The change he wants is the freedom to celebrate everything the rest of us have been trying to atone for.
National office calls for extraordinary skills with an ordinary instinct. Elitism is a poor fit for leaders. They need to be connected to common concerns.
This doesn’t mean, however, that anyone can do the job. The number of incalculably complex issues that cross the Resolute Desk insurmountably excludes anybody who is merely ordinary.
President Trump’s much-documented reliance on “gut-instincts” is a proud declaration of his refusal to learn or even try to grasp the intellectual rigor of the job. With a president who has been so catastrophically wrong on so many critical issues, public support of this man needs to end.
The oval office needs to be bigger than the man. So much of the presidency comes down to us through history as a steady accumulation of norms: the Constitution’s description of the office is really quite slim.
Leading from George Washington through Barack Obama, those norms of decency, decorum, and deliberation are all we have. Mr. Trump’s insistence on ignoring these customs is an insult. He’s pissing in the pool of our republic and I’m sick of it.
Fitness for any office is the ability to rise above partisanship. Congressional Republicans who condone or passively allow the president to act the way he does are betraying the public trust.
And even beyond that complicity, forcing through a Supreme Court nominee after denying the Garland nomination is a body-blow to our Constitution and a sign that party power trumps civic responsibility. Not one officeholder supporting this move deserves reelection. The needs of the nation have to be a unanimous priority.
These are all needs. They’re not political opinions. I’m not calling for one policy or another: that’s what good people duly acting in good faith have to work out.
This crisis is about our existence as a nation. Bad people acting in bad faith are threatening that existence.
I can’t be middle-of-the-road when one lane takes such a sharp right turn. I’ll keep going straight, but this time it’ll be a straight ticket on the Democratic Party line. That’s the only way to address what the United States of America needs.