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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Can #NeverTrump claim a ‘moral imperative’ to primary Trump in 2020?

The controversy over what happened in Charlottesville a week ago certainly hasn’t died down with pundits on both sides making point and counterpoint while America’s municipalities continue to tear down historical monuments and rip up the American fabric along with them.

John KasichAnd there’s still a lot of talk about “morals” and lectures on how everyone should think.

David French wrote last week at National Review, “It’s time for conservatives to remember the cultural power of the presidency. It’s time for us to understand that Trump’s persona is — certainly for now — more influential than his policies. Sure, seek lower tax rates and better judges. Sure we praise him when he’s right and critique mistakes. But we must lift our eyes from the strike zone and look at his overall impact. And that means not holding back from speaking the larger, more important truths.

“[Charles] Krauthammer was right. Trump’s conduct yesterday was a ‘moral disgrace.’ He exacerbated divisions that have existed since before the nation’s founding. He gave the vicious and vile alt-right it’s most important public victory. If he keeps it up, his ‘agenda’ will be a footnote to history. Hate, division, and rage will be his true legacy, and that legacy will have far greater consequence than any policy he manages to pass.”

Thank you for another sanctimonious scolding, Mr. French. Despite the fact French is a leading member of the so-called “conservative” resistance I actually find his pieces interesting, for the most part. French is dead wrong on the “culture” part, however.

It really boils down to, should we always decide how much we like or respect something based on what others’ opinions might be? Weren’t we taught it was okay to have our own tastes and personalities just about the time we reached junior high school?

A little personal anecdote will help demonstrate the argument.

Back in the days when I was first discovering a musical taste more sophisticated than what was offered in children’s programming, my mom bought me a “Beatlemania” album (from the famous Broadway show of the same name in the late 70’s). She knew I liked Beatles songs like “Here Comes the Sun” and “Yellow Submarine” and thought I might enjoy hearing some more of the group’s repertoire.

I recall playing the record over and over again, uncovering an appreciation for the “Fab Four” that remains to this day.

But at the same time I was learning to enjoy the Beatles’ music most kids my age were grooving to the trendy sounds of “Grease” and the Bee Gees’ tunes from “Saturday Night Fever.” I didn’t think my fondness for the Beatles would fit in with the “cool” crowd since, you know, the British rock invasion was so “yesterday” in their minds (or so I thought). Besides, the Beatles had already been broken up for what, seven or eight years already?

The pop radio stations also weren’t playing Beatles songs anymore. My unrefined tween intellect reasoned you could like disco, Donna Summer and Elton John and get away with it, but not the Beatles.

So I buried my Beatles crush until one day at school I remember the hippest kid in the cafeteria said something like “The Beatles are cool.”

What a relief! I could like my own songs and still enjoy some semblance of social acceptance. In the process I also discovered a lot of what the crowd was into musically.

Is today’s debate over the meaning of history and culture really so different?

Perhaps it was because the Beatles were “history” that I took to them so easily because I’ve always loved the subject. I moved to Virginia partly due to its being the epicenter of not only Civil War military history but also as the home of the “Virginia dynasty” presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe) who presided over American government for 36 of the first 40 years of our country’s existence.

My family continues to spend several weeks every year in Williamsburg, Virginia, which I call the birthplace of American liberty.

History is everywhere in Virginia and it includes those statues that have become so out-of-vogue in today’s troubled image-sensitive culture. I’m not sure how all of this history-hatred began but these days I almost feel like I have to bury my love for the subject in the same way I submerged my Beatles fixation as a pre-teen to avoid being branded as an out-of-touch geek.

Only now it’s not to cower from the piercing glare of the popular kids. It’s to save myself from condemnation (and potential violence) from the leftists and judgmental set who won’t allow any kind of dissent to enter their cultural discussion. In their minds those monuments must come down. And anyone who thinks otherwise must be sympathizing with the white supremacist Nazi “nationalists” -- or whatever they’re branding people with Anglo-Saxon surnames and skin tone these days.

It’s sad. I’ve speculated there’s going to be an eventual enormous backlash from the elite left’s hyperactivity and it turns out I’m not alone.

George Neumayr wrote in The American Spectator last week, “A parade of ‘conservative’ prognosticators and effete Republicans say that this controversy will inflict permanent damage on Trump. Before you take their comments seriously, go back and look at what these cocky jackasses said about Trump’s chances in the Republican primaries. If any of these frauds ever tried to run against Trump, he would crush them. Pundits on stations with anemic ratings, and pols who couldn’t win their own states, claim that they speak for the ‘country.’

“These dolts still don’t get it. Trump won the presidency not in spite of his defiance of conventional wisdom but because of it. And he will win re-election for the same reason. If anything, the hidden Trump vote will increase. Trump’s strength is that he refuses to go wobbly in the face of fashionable lies — a trait no Republican president since Reagan has displayed.”

Neumayr scored a direct hit with this observation (is that even politically correct to say?). Trump is president today precisely because he wasn’t like all the other Republican establishment fraidy-cats who refused to acknowledge the writing on the wall and admit that it spelled “failure.” The list is long, starting with the Mitt Romneys, Jeb Bushes (and his family), John Kasiches and John McCains.

Ben Carson came from out of nowhere on a platform of not being PC. Unlike Trump, no one even knew who Carson was before he spoke truth to power and called out Obama in the president’s presence at the National Prayer Breakfast. Ted Cruz also went mighty far in the GOP primaries specifically because he was seen as someone who wasn’t afraid to poke the establishment in the eyes.

Still rumors persist that Trump is weakened from the Charlottesville episode and his perceived “racist” leanings. One of Trump’s former rivals even hinted he was going to challenge the party leader when 2020 rolls around.

Ariella Phillips of the Washington Examiner reported, “Former presidential candidate and current Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich may be moving closer to mounting a primary challenge against President Trump in the 2020 election.

“Sources close to Kasich told Willie Geist of the ‘Today Show’ there is a growing sense of ‘moral imperative’ to run against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020 following his controversial statements on the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va.”

What? A moral imperative to run against Trump? Even if this were true, which it’s not, is John Kasich qualified to judge what is acceptable speech and thought and also what is “imperative?”

According to the Encarta dictionary, “imperative” means “priority” or “way of commanding.” Should we now treat John Kasich as the “commander” of the #NeverTrump “resistance?” Where’s he going to get his army? And are Trump’s GOP primary supporters going to abandon their president over what he said after Charlottesville?

What was Trump’s crime? Is it saying there were good people on both sides of the issue who are drowned out by the radical freaks of the KKK and communist Antifa movements?

It’s all so stupid. Didn’t Rodney King famously ask, “Can’t we all just get along?

John Kasich is an opportunist bozo with an outsized ego, a small band of establishment holdout followers and a media that’s willing to give him a megaphone to disseminate his nonsense. As Neumayr wrote above, let Kasich try to challenge Trump. We’ll see how far he gets.

It certainly wasn’t the only reason but one thing Trump’s supporters especially liked about him was his complete fearlessness and willingness to stand up for American traditions and culture no matter how “uncool” it seemed to the #NeverTrumpers, leftists, snobby elitists and establishment name-droppers.

To many of us, Trump is like the “cool” kid in the cafeteria from our grade school days who made it okay to like what we liked without having to worry about whether we’d be kicked down to the bottom of the social strata. For all we care the ruling class can keep their noses held high and look down on those who love history and American traditions.

And the rest of us will keep our monuments.

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