I have been, and continue to be, unabashedly pro Trump. For all the good he has done one glaring weakness flows from him to the GOP: the democrats have room to argue they represent the moral high ground. It’s a flawed argument that only plays well with their base and the “social justice warrior Jesus” crowd, but the media will gladly promote the flawed narrative that the democrats have the moral high ground.
Statesmanship is like chivalry, a noble concept that enriches all who follow the discipline… and is a faint vestage of times past. As we follow the democrats in losing statesmanship we erode one buttress in the warrant that we hold the moral high ground. A good definition of statesmanship is found in The Art of Manliness’ excellent article discussing what constitutes statesmanship.
Do the philosophical intangibles matter in politics? Sure they do. A background argument regarding who holds the moral high ground wouldn’t be taking place if they didn’t matter. But, more importantly, do the higher order intangibles like statesmanship matter? Absolutely.
Politics at it’s essence is the battle for hearts and minds, and we are fighting from a disadvantage. The social elite are, by and large, left of center. So, too, the media. Although time and experience tend to moderate the leftist message that is pervasive in the media and institutions of higher learning; the struggle we face is accelerating the process and combating the tenticles that spread from the leftist message.
The unformed conscience can recognize when words and deeds do not align. That’s what made Trump’s “grab them” comment damaging in addition to repugnant. Anyone who sat back and objectively looked at the statement in the context of what values we hold as a party can see it’s irreconcilable. The floodgates for arguing who has the moral high ground opened.
We can’t afford to add self inflicted wounds on top of what has been placed before us. As the poisonous tenticles of the left propagate into areas such as the church in the form of social justice warrior Jesus the battle for hearts and minds comes to us and we must defend.
Our remedy is to better form the conscience so the importance of the Hierachy of Truth is better understood, expand the tent to replace those we have lost, or take the battle for hearts and minds to areas that have been traditionally sympathetic to the left to capture those who really are aligned with us but do not know what we actually stand for. Prudece dictates some degree of action in all three areas.
If we aren’t the party with the big tent we are a party in trouble. Just as cement is useless without other materials the philosophical ideals of the party need other considerations to be useful. If only sand is added to cement mortar is the result. Adding in coarse and fine aggregate along with the sand turns cement into concrete, not mortar.
Empower Texans and fiscal moderates both add value to the party. Having only one makes the party mortar – the philosophical ideology will hold together, but can’t be used as a base of strength from which the party can grow and flourish. Both sides of the rural-urban divide add strength. The ongoing hostilities between the various factions within the party is where the weakness lies.
Which brings us to Straus. I am glad he chose not to seek re-election, and would have been in favor of censure if he were running again. However, when he elected to not seek re-election that should have been the end of the saga.
We hold ourselves out as holding the moral high ground and as the party who values human dignity. Censure after the fact doesn’t fall within those beliefs and doesn’t fit within the bedrock of principles or moral compass upon which we base our beliefs. The lack of statesmanship exhibited perpetuates the false narrative that we are the party of extremists rather than the party of the common good. This self inflicted wound will do more to weaken the party than to strengthen.