Trump, The Ol’ Lamplighter
As Donald Trump’s candidacy was gathering steam over the summer, I asked a friend and longtime Republican activist what he thought about him. He replied that Trump was just like the old lamplighter going down the streets, firing up gaslights, chasing shadows away and allowing voters to see for themselves the state of American politics. Since joining the presidential campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly exposed the corruption, incompetence, arrogance, hypocrisy, and dearth of policy ideas that have dominated our political system for decades.
It began with revealing the so called political experts – the fabled strategists, pundits whose opinions have littered the airways and editorial pages for decades – as uninformed, out of touch, and with little influence beyond their own social circles. Over and over, they confidently predicted that the Trump campaign was right on the edge of imploding, and certainly would not make it past summer…or fall…or winter. They eagerly jumped on his every apparent gaffe as evidence that Trump was not presidential material, urging voters to abandon him and turn to candidates that they deemed suited for the Oval Office, only to have their advice rejected by the voters.
Next, the old lamplighter laid bare the chasm between rank-and-file Republicans and the party intellectual leadership. It turns out that white working class voters were not supporting the GOP because they were enamored with tax cuts for the wealthy, free trade or foreign wars; rather they were voting against the Democrats who let their contempt for them be known when Obama called them “bitter clingers” — a contempt that apparently is also widely shared by conservative pundits, who see the GOP base as ignorant, racist, xenophobic, and an embarrassment to conservatism.
The most recent public service the lamplighter has performed is to expose the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement, which claims that abortion is murder, a zygote is no different than a born child, and that its opponents are baby-killers — and yet they absolutely reject any form of punishment for women who seek and pay doctors to perform abortions. If a woman hired someone to kill her two year old son, would anyone suggest that she should not face prosecution? In Texas, pro-lifers pushed additional regulations designed to raise the safety standards of abortion facilities to protect the health of women — or so they claimed. On one hand, the supporters of the bill claimed that abortion is a crime against humanity — and yet, they want to make sure that when this crime against humanity is perpetrated, it is done in the medically safest environment and, of course, with absolutely no prosecution of any women.
Pro-lifers don’t believe their own rhetoric. That’s exactly why Trump stumbled when he gave the common-sense reply that if you are going to make something illegal then there have to be consequences; that otherwise it is just meaningless symbolism. But there is nothing intellectually honest about the pro-life movement, a gathering of grand-standers and fundraisers whose last priority is to actually reduce the abortion rate. Study after study has shown that the most effective way to reduce abortions is a combination of birth control and comprehensive sex education: all the measures that pro-lifers vehemently oppose. Instead, they prefer to rage against Roe v. Wade as if it mandated abortion, when the reality is that if tomorrow all women in America chose to carry their pregnancies to term, abortion would be eliminated while Roe was still in effect. They claim that they want the people in each state to vote on the issue of abortion and then ignore the fact that every state ballot initiative to ban or restrict abortion has been rejected by large margins — even in deep-red states like Mississippi. They will do anything except constructively working to reduce abortions in America — or else their movement would be out of business.
What will the old lamplighter shine the light on next? Who knows? There is certainly no shortage of hypocrisy, corruption, phonies hiding the shadows. Keep going ol’ lamplighter — keep chasing the shadows away.