I got into blogging in 2004. My first blog post was political in nature based on anger about people spite voting for John Kerry. Through the years, my blogging has changed from the overtly political all the time to a more well rounded website which encompasses the disparate interests I hold dear. But lately, I have found myself less and less inclined to talk about politics here at my site. While some may enjoy my random reviews of products, there is a reason why: politics is awful.
Now, many will argue, “But Matt, it’s always been awful. I mean, look at politicians – they are just the worst.” And to that, I generally would not disagree. There are obvious exceptions of upright people running for office for the right reasons, but sadly they are few and far between. But before this election cycle, I was intrigued, energized, and active. I was motivated to get out and vote, excited about the candidates, handed out fliers on election day, and found some reason to be ready to get to the polls for my preferred candidate. I always had signs on my lawn since I had my own home/lawn in 2009. I don’t right now and may not until closer to the general. Even then, I have no idea if I will.
This election has reached an epic level of pettiness the likes of which I have never seen before. I follow a lot of people on Twitter. Never before have I seen such vitriol directed at fellow conservatives than have I seen during this primary. As the stakes are raised in each consecutive election being “more important” and “the most important in history,” so has the tribalism among the factions within the GOP and in the greater electorate. Establishment, tea partiers, hacks, pragmatists, moderates, paleocons, libertarians – whatever you call yourselves, were all at war with one another for so long that we outside of the trenches now watch helplessly as Donald Trump with his “Know Nothing Party” attitude marches toward the nomination. It’s infuriating, disheartening, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.
I’m not a politician, I’m just a dude who likes to write for fun in my spare time. This election…has not been fun. It’s been frustrating. It’s been angering. It’s been disappointing. It’s gotten me to a point where I find myself yelling at the television, and no longer merely because a bad call was made during a Ravens game (i.e. during every single Ravens game, but I digress). It has made me weary with politics to the point where my wife noticed my lack of enthusiasm to even watch some of the later debates. I did anyway, but walked away even more frustrated.
The thing about all this is, first, I am a Christian. Before every other label you can tack onto me, I’m defined by Christ. My faith comes first. I cannot willingly vote for a candidate for office who violates the faith which I hold dear. A candidate who mocks my Lord by claiming His name, but denying His faith by their actions (Trump) is a non-starter for me. Candidates who do not value the sanctity of life are as well (Clinton, Sanders). After that label, one can call me a conservative. I am unashamedly conservative long before I am a Republican. I believe in limited government, free trade, and allowing people to be left alone. I believe we need a strong military to be used when necessary. Trump, Clinton, and Sanders are nowhere near me on these issues. Trump has been wildly inconsistent to the point where his platform and ideas make no sense. Clinton and Sanders have been less inconsistent, but their views are well to my left.
Thirdly I become a Republican, which is the primary in which I will vote. It may be one of my last. My choices I have left are realistically Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Kasich is the man who tried to use the Bible to push expanding the government and proposed in Congress the individual mandate long before Obama was in Congress. His “I’m totally not from Washington” charm is offset by his decades in Washington; and his “OHIO OHIO OHIO” campaign saying “I’m not one of THOSE conservative guys” is not very inspiring and, frankly, off putting. Cruz is the man most of Washington hates to the point where Lindsey Graham, who is now supporting Cruz, said if he were killed in DC no one would mind. That’s far from a ringing endorsement and makes it hard to get things done when you’re unliked. Also, in debates, he comes across as a smarmy lawyer. Whether intentional or not, that’s where he’s at. I would have prefered a number of candidates before our remaining two. Perry, Jindal, Walker, Rubio…just to name a few. But, this is where I am.
I will vote for Cruz in the primary, but it’s not really with any enthusiasm. It’s more with exasperation to where this primary has led us to, and where the party of which I currently belong is heading.
Paying close attention to politics has become emotionally draining. If I could stop caring so much, I would…but I can’t. So, I will press onward, but with less commentary here and probably more reviews of gimmicky foods…