As a Republican who will be voting for Trump in November, I feel obligated to critically look at the political future of my country. Trump has accomplished more than anyone could have ever anticipated during his time as president. With that said, I see many folks on the right wing becoming complacent with the era of Trump, as it were. This is to say that they have completely convinced themselves that the current president is the answer to all of our problems. On the left side of the political discussion, a similar yet opposite phenomenon has occurred. The left has turned Trump into the incarnation of everything they despise as well as a political distraction from actually addressing the legitimate concerns of most Americans. Whether it be current or future socio-political dilemmas, Americans have all but given up on discussing them critically. Instead, we have collectively decided to allow the cult of personality of our current president to dominate our entire world views. Nothing can be analyzed without injecting Donald Trump into the conversation. This is not only counterproductive, it is pathological and profoundly unhealthy.
In the past four years, we have witnessed unexpected economic flourishing, an awakening among the American right and a vibrant discussion about what it means to be an American citizen. To deny these realities is intellectually disingenuous. However, we have also seen an exacerbation of political polarization and hysteria. The Democratic Party is running on an overtly anti-Trump platform. Trump supporters are free game for public dehumanization. Conservatism has now become synonymous with Nazism. Political radicalism has become the norm. Fears of international conflict are becoming a reality in the public’s imagination. For all of the achievements made by this administration, we are staring at a potentially chaotic, violent and ideologically broken future for the United States of America. Trump’s accomplishments are great talking points for his 2020 campaign. But are they enough to push the country towards a positive, societal trajectory? Personally, I don’t think so. The sensationalism and exploitation of our current political environment has clouded our long term vision for any sort of cohesive resolve to this national fracturing. What we are currently engaged in is a reductive, hyper tribal, political game. We are actively avoiding substance, nuance and transparency in order to win superficial, political victories.
There are at least four major issues that are weighing on the minds of many Americans today. All of which have not been fully addressed by Trump or his administration. First and foremost is immigration. This issue, arguably, is the one that single handedly got Trump elected. The concern of non-assimilation, industrial displacement and cultural disorientation due to waves of third world immigration; has been a bi-partisan discussion for quite some time now. Demographic change went from being an alleged “right wing conspiracy” to becoming one of the primary strategies of the modern, political left. From New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal to The Guardian; mainstream outlets have blatantly identified the projection of demographic change as a political weapon that can be yielded against the Trump administration. Besides being insidious, this form of racial politics merely exacerbates the already volatile race relations within our country. This plus an increase of anti-white, pseudo-academic rhetoric is leading to the rise of reactionary, white identitarian politics. A plethora of voices on both the far left and right are clamoring for Americans to embrace militant, racial tribalism. This is both unstable and, to the average American, terrifying.
The second issue that continues to dominate much of the political discussion is transgenderism and gender roles as a whole. What seemed like a national discussion about an extremely rare, complicated, sexual mode of being; has shifted gears. It has now accelerated into a politically charged assault on sexual norms and binary parameters. With celebrities like JK Rowling, Dave Chappelle and Boy George under fire for questioning the “trans rights” orthodoxy; the general public’s tolerance for this bizarre new political crusade is beginning to wear thin. Transgenderism has its roots in much of the modern, feminism movement. The insistence that gender is merely a social construct, has been the driving philosophy of the third wave, feminist campaign. Ironically, both are beginning to come into conflict with one another. Transgenderism threatens the validity of biological women and has subsequently galvanized a visceral reaction from many feminist activists and intellectuals. The effects that this movement has had on the perceptions of male and female identity are catastrophic. We have also seen the push to impose gender reassignment upon prepubescent children; take hold in American politics. All of these occurrences accompanied by the routine denigration of masculinity, nuclear families and traditional gender roles; are leading to a decline in healthy relationships between the sexes.
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The third issue that has been amplified, is directly linked to the second. The issue of sexuality. It seems that popular culture has embraced a militant stance in regards to projecting alternative, sexual preferences. Non-heterosexuality is being promulgated as both the normative and preferred, sexual orientation. The ever increasing additions to the LGBTQ acronym are emblematic of just how ridiculous the modern discussion around this topic has become. Heterosexuality and, in many cases, conventional forms of homosexuality; have been eschewed by many on the left as vestigial and non-viable. No longer is even being attracted to the same biological sex, while acknowledging your own biological reality, enough to appease the progressive, cultural Marxists. Instead, activist driven, gender-bending and radical, sexual abnormalities have become the left’s vision of contemporary, western, sexuality. The weirder, the better. An obvious example of this can be seen in the politically, exploitative forms that Drag Queen performances have taken in recent years. The once, adult-themed, theatrical satire; is currently being weaponized to indoctrinate and sexualize underage children. A vengeful hatred for Christianity has become the basis for this breed of propaganda. Anything that smacks of traditionalism is instantly viewed as bigoted and archaic. As a result, hyper-moralistic, reactionary voices and ideas are beginning to emerge. A large portion of generation Z have begun to reject non-heterosexuality, as a whole.
The Fourth and most multifaceted issue is American, national sovereignty. This administration has done the best job at avoiding massive, foreign entanglements; as opposed to its predecessors. This is undoubtedly true. With that said, very real concerns still linger. One being, war in the Middle East. With the retaliatory killing of Qasem Soleimani, many Americans are afraid of rising tensions within the region towards the United States. Although the response from the Iranian people has been one of animosity towards their own government, the average American can’t help but ask questions about the long term implications of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Questions like, what will be the next step that the US government will take in Iran? What will this mean for US forces in and outside of the region? Will this and the plurality of conflicts in that part of the world actually help the American people directly?
There has been a steady decline in American approval for foreign conflict, specifically after the start of the Iraq war. According to Pew Research, even though support for Israel has increased, the overwhelming consensus among Americans is one of non-interventionism. According to a 2016 survey, 57% of Americans believed that America needs to deal with its own problems, 37% thought that America should assist in foreign affairs and 5% said they did not know. Another survey from 2019, done among all adults and Veterans, showed that more people were opposed to war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria than not. We have also seen a rise in concerns regarding tensions with Russia as well as the civil unrest and geopolitical threat of China. When it comes down to it, American citizens are frustrated with seeing their government launch military campaigns across the world, foreign countries interfere with domestic infrastructures and the trauma that many of their servicemen sustain after fighting in seemingly, fruitless wars. They are right to feel this way.
The only other pressing issue that I have left out of my analysis is the second amendment. The reason why is because it can be and is being fought against via state level, activism. Whether it be the outcry on social media or events like the Virginia Citizen Defense League Lobby Day rally that will be taking place on the 20th of this month; folks are already pushing back in a visceral manner against the unconstitutional, anti-gun stance of the Democratic Party and establishment Republican capitulation to it.
However, the other issues cannot be resolved solely, if at all, by state legislation and local efforts. These issues require a national and federal shift in political priorities. Trump has made headway on the economic front. Now we need federal politicians to tackle the cultural dilemmas that plague our times. We need representatives who understand that the current trajectory of immigration, both legal and illegal, is unstable and detrimental to maintaining a cohesive nation. We need politicians that are not afraid to stand against the incremental, legislative impositions of anti-heterosexual, anti-religious and anti-science ideologues who seek to deconstruct the existential stability of more than half of the American population. We need folks in the federal government who no longer expect us to sit back and watch as our men and women go overseas to fight endless wars while our leaders and influential figures do business with some of the most barbaric regimes on earth. We need to begin to solidify the concept of “America First”. Even though these issues are being presented to us as partisan; survey numbers, polls and vocal, bi-partisan criticism say otherwise. We need to reject any narratives that frame them as such and refer to them as what they truly are, American issues. The political landscape of America and the west is changing. We need to adapt. In short, Trump was the beginning but he is not the end.