I know I've been quiet on the blog since the election and New Year. There is so much to say and I have learned so much about our government, politics and activism. This might seem like a great leap but this is big given this moment in time as things keep changing every few hours in this new administration.
One of the things I do everyday now is to learn about other points of view, specifically the conservative one. It’s admittedly challenging but I feel it’s important to find connection and places of agreement.
I’ve taken a friend's advice, who used to be a political staffer, to look at Fox News on a daily basis to see how that organization frames the same news I look at on more neutral or liberal sites. There is a slant (obviously) but what is interesting is to see what is given emphasis and what is downplayed.
I have even subscribed to a Conservative podcast by Ben Shapiro who is a political talk show host and nationally syndicated columnist. To be sure, there are cringe-worthy moments but I can follow the thread of his arguments--even though I don’t usually agree with him. He is sane, he knows history and policy but most importantly he’s consistent with his values/approach. I can begrudgingly respect that.
But I am really looking at Conservatives and politicians because I am wondering if they see what I see. When some of their own begin to call out to warn of the grave danger Trump poses, are they listening? We are in uncharted territory.
Eliot A. Cohen is a respected Conservative professor and the director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From 2007 to 2009, he served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. These are his words from a piece in The Atlantic today:
“Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him.”
“For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”
“There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account. Those in a position to take a stand should do so, and those who are not should lay the groundwork for a better day. There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him.”