Two universal truths of human nature are that humans are flawed and that power is a corrupting force. Why then, do we desire so much to put politicians above us, to make them some type of deity?
As a movement, freedom loving Americans are united by five broad principles and five broad principles alone: freedom of expression, freedom of speech, capitalism, individualism and a desire to be left alone by the government. These principles unite Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals, while allowing us to disagree on more complex issues, such as abortion, the role of government, regulations, and much more.
Indeed, as the data shows in this pew research poll, the Republican party, and more broadly the right, has become a broad swath of different ideas ever since the left started their leftward march, leaving many moderates disenfranchised and looking for a political home. Obviously, we open our new-found friends with open arms, willing to discuss and debate our differences and letting the marketplace of ideas decide.
A potentially disastrous problem on both sides of these debates however, is our tendency to excuse the heinous behavior of politicians we identify most with, while condemning the similar behavior of people we disagree with or don’t like. We as humans, feel the desire to make Golden Calves out of people we line up with ideologically, for the same reason many Jews brought out of bondage built their Golden Calf at the base of Mount Sinai while Moses conversed with God (Exodus 32); you cannot see principles just like you can’t see God, so you make something imperfect that you can claim is God— just as we do with politicians.
Now I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t have favorite politicians, but I am saying don’t put him or her above you. They are human beings, they are as flawed as you are flawed. They are people. They are normal people that WE pay to govern on behalf of us, the People.
A tendency to put politicians above all else is the first step into political tribalism, and is especially toxic in the new right. If one group on the right makes an untouchable deity, naturally other groups on the right will tend to follow, creating unneeded strain. Tribalism on the right would largely have the same effect tribalism on the left has had. Based on the data cited earlier, the right would either go increasingly farther right or it would swing towards the middle, ending the broad array of ideas either way by excluding the ideas of one or more of those groups. Ultimately, this could lead to the end of the conservative and or Libertarian movements that are flourishing into today’s political climate by being on the same side as each other.
Making politicians into God-like figures can also put us in undesirable positions. This can be illustrated clearly within the fandom of the Clinton Family. Whether it be Whitewater, Lewinsky, the Clinton Foundation, the email server or Uranium One, the Democrats who put the former First Family on a pedestal have continually had to defend immoral, and sometimes illegal, behavior. Defending this immoral behavior has hurt the Democratic Party’s approval rating.
The right should take note of this when it comes to Trump and some of the more vociferous politicians of the right. While Trump and others have pushed conservative policy, his rhetoric has been indefensible at times, and it’s unwise of the right to defend the things he says.
We can applaud these policymakers, we can have favorite politicians, but we must hold them to the same consistent standard we hold other people to, while also holding the left to that same standard. We don’t have to defend everything about the politicians we admire or pretend everything they say is 4D chess; it’s usually not. When politicians become our Golden Calves, they, along with their followers, are susceptible to sharing the same fate as that Calf and its followers: an end of a movement.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.