Stop invoking the “liberal” bogeyman

February 4, 2017

Faith & Action, Uncategorized


Trumpians are banging the “liberal” drum again: Alleged softy progressives whine because the ’16 election didn’t go their way. Memes pile on memes, like this one:


Yup. It’s just liberals. Take Eliot Cohen, for instance:

To friends still thinking of serving as political appointees in this administration, beware: When you sell your soul to the Devil, he prefers to collect his purchase on the installment plan. Trump’s disregard for either Secretary of Defense Mattis or Secretary-designate Tillerson in his disastrous policy salvos this week, in favor of his White House advisers, tells you all you need to know about who is really in charge. To be associated with these people is going to be, for all but the strongest characters, an exercise in moral self-destruction.

For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.

Like every other whiny liberal, Cohen …

… Oh …

… Wait …

Cohen served the Bush-43 State Department from 2007 to 2009.  He signed the Statement of Principles for the Project for the New American Century, a now-defunct neoconservative think tank, and manned the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee when it relentlessly pushed for the 2003 Iraqi invasion. Cohen is as hawkish as they come – and he’s rabidly anti-Trump.

Other supposedly crabby lefties braying Trump worries, especially over his anti-immigrant moves:

  • Russel Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • The National Association of Evangelicals
  • World Vision, an evangelical-associated non-governmental relief agency
  • Pope Francis
  • The US Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • The Koch Brothers (filthy-rich oil magnates, climate change deniers, and founders and funders of right-wing think tanks).
  • Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (the pilot who saved all those passengers when he slid his disabled plane into New York’s Hudson River)
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a Republican.
  • Neo-conservative author and columnist David Frum, a Bush-43 speechwriter.
  • Retired US Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus
  • Conservative op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin
  • Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a retired foreign service officer, Republican, and assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
  • Republican Senator John McCain
  • Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian, conservative op-ed writer, and Bush-43 speechwriter.
  • Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker
  • Charles Sykes, conservative radio host
  • Republican Senator Lindsey Graham

The list goes on, but I’ll stop there.

The “liberal” meme is one more bogeyman in our alt-fact universe. Opposing Trump is both reasonable and patriotic in the real world. My guess: all Mount Rushmore’s faces yearn to en-flesh themselves so they can resist.

Stop soiling the American flag by wrapping yourself in it, oh Trumpians. I love this country because it has usually been a force for good through the strength of its ideals, despite its real flaws (genuine patriots face those flaws without a blink; they love their country, they don’t worship it). This nation rescued Europe twice, orchestrated the Marshal Plan, contained and eventually defeated a colossal communist tyranny, and (very imperfectly) fostered democracy throughout the world (Latin Americans would beg to differ). Those lofty ideals usually rear up and (again, imperfectly) begin to heal the country’s historic ills.

Don’t even dare hint that I’m unpatriotic. My patriotism motivates me to resist a Putin-loving narcissist who lost the popular vote, knows nothing of those ideals, and who placed a dictator-friendly extremist on the National Security Council. Donald Trump is, essentially, burning the American flag even as we speak. I resist him precisely because I passionately believe in the creeds behind that flag.

Pull your heads out of the sand. Run away from a fan club chaired by a former KGB agent ruling Russia like a Mafia don. Think: You’re backing Russia’s man. Why doesn’t that give you the creeps? Why aren’t you losing sleep at night? Spare me your but-Hillary deflections. She’s gone. She’s not the issue. Bannon-Trump leers before us. Besides, you would’ve howled “rigged-impeach” if a foreign enemy messed with our election in favor of a Putin-applauding Democrat who then played musical chairs at the NSC. Think again: How will your grandchildren remember you? Will they brag because grandpa and grandma joined the patriotic coalition that shook its fist at potential tyranny?  Or will they whisper words of shame because you hid behind a make-believe universe’s jingoistic memes?

Think one more time. Carefully consider Cohen’s words: “… this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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