Opinion » Viewpoint

Unite Against Trump!

A conservative activist extends an olive branch to progressives to resist the “gold-haired tycoon” in the White House.



The election of Donald Trump presents an unique opportunity for conservatives and progressives to find common cause, if we're willing to recognize it.

The conservative opposition to President Trump is difficult to find. Several of his once-vociferous critics are now members of his cabinet or candidates who interviewed for positions therein. Others are rushing to the front of the parade, eyeing a place of influence within a solidly Republican federal government.

But those Republicans who still refuse to don that red MAGA cap have something important to offer our progressive counterparts: experience. We are about six months ahead of Democrats in advancing through the stages of grief, having lost both our party and our ideological movement to that gold-haired tycoon. If progressives feel like they've lost something important, we understand.

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For anyone hesitant to believe us, remember that President Barack Obama agreed. Reflecting on Trump's nomination acceptance speech, Obama said, "What we heard in Cleveland last week wasn't particularly Republican — and it sure wasn't conservative."

Maintaining a set of principles has cost the "Never Trumpers" their reputations and their positions of influence among the party faithful. But we refuse to follow along, because we meant it when we said character mattered, and we have yet to find evidence of it in this president.

We also choose to believe the line from President Ronald Reagan, "America is great because America is good." We are not made great by installing any one individual in the White House, and certainly not one who behaves as this one does.

Outnumbered on the right, it's time for such conservatives to extend a hand of friendship to our brothers and sisters on the left. Neither side must abandon its policy preferences, its priorities, or its political persuasions, but we ought to be willing to open our ears, put the interests of each other ahead of our own, and acknowledge our common humanity. If we do that, we will find strength in our diversity.

The success of any form of resistance to the Trump administration depends upon its fidelity to the motto claimed by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention: "When they go low, we go high."

If that statement is true, it must be true now. Our country needs it to be true.

It will not serve for us to become little Trumps ourselves. "Going high" means becoming as unlike Trump as possible, following the opposite course, and behaving in the most divergent manner.

If Trump spreads insults to inflate his own ego, we will sacrifice our own honor to protect each other from shame. If he attacks, we will support. If he seeks personal gain, we will renounce it. If he oppresses, we will stoop down and raise each other up. If he speaks lies, we will bear witness to the truth.

When Trump says, "America first," we will stop to ask, "what for?" Instead of his nationalism, we will adhere to the creed of our Declaration of Independence, the promise of our Constitution, and the hope of that beacon of liberty in New York Harbor.

As the anti-Trumps, we will not be distracted by every controversy that crosses the newswire. We will not feel compelled to comment on every instance of political intrigue. No slime or vitriol will emanate from our social media accounts. Instead we will focus on the issues of greater importance, and we will add maturity, positivity, and levity to the national dialogue.

We un-Trump Americans will not dismiss news reports because they fail to adhere to our preconceived notions, and we will not seek refuge or find entertainment in fake news of any kind.

While he divides us by race or gender and attempts to exclude certain groups, we will band together under one flag, in a cause that singles out none.

We will match his exploitation with our charity, his braggadocio with our humility, and his superficiality with our authenticity.

We can do all of these things as conservatives and progressives without denying any of our core convictions, and we should.

Together, we will live up to our calling as Americans.

Mick Wright was an elected delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Tennessee's 8th Congressional District. He is a former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Shelby County and a past president of the Northeast Shelby Republican Club.

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