Not in My Name, NeverTrumpers

Many of my close friends in the conservative movement are NeverTrumpers.  As a result, I find myself in an awkward position.  The NeverTrumpers are appealing to their conservative friends based on emotional claims that I recognize as false, deluded, and selfish.  One friend said, "Who wins the election does not matter as much as the need to vote one's conscience."  This statement is stunningly prideful and childish.  The voting booth is not a ride at Six Flags, and elections are not part of a consumer experiences.  The White House is not Burger King, where you get things your way.

Of course who wins the election is more important than your precious conscience or how you feel about voting.  Your country matters more than you do.  Has America become so weak and self-absorbed that people no longer understand what it means to say, "It's not all about you, honey"?

I guess that's why I could never be a libertarian.

Part of the impasse between me and NeverTrumper friends is that they have never actually sat down and listened to the full horrors that I endured firsthand, which make it undeniable to me that this election is about stopping Hillary Clinton and saving America.  Some games are won by offense, and others are won by defense; elections follow that pattern.  We have to vote against things sometimes.

I know that the dark side of a Clinton presidency would be not merely difficult, but also intolerable, and that Clinton as president would be incomparably more damaging than the likely flaws of a Trump presidency.  Clinton must be stopped at all costs.  We often say "at all costs" without understanding what the term means.  In this case, it means voting for Trump despite whatever shortfalls one sees in him, to save America.

After having served for eight years under a dean who headed the Clinton Global Initiative on my campus (see here and here and here), and after having been essentially driven out of that job, I know on a visceral and personal level what a Clinton presidency will mean.  I know that conservatives, especially those who are NeverTrumpers, will be completely powerless to protect social conservatives such as myself from the crushing machine of corruption that will operate under a Clinton presidency.

I know because of the reality of the last eight years I experienced under Obama.  While Obama has had his share of corruption, the primary threat he posed to America was his ideology.  Clinton is in a class by herself, for she has all the ideological problems of Obama plus a deceitful ruthlessness several times worse than his.  Her cronies are even more ghastly.

You don't know how bad things can be unless you have been a powerless pawn under a Clintonista regime.  Hillary Clinton did not run the California campus where I worked, but the leadership of the dean who supervised me for eight years bore all the hallmarks of the Clinton style, which thrives wherever Clinton money flows.

Clintonworld throws up the thinnest façades of helping little downtrodden groups: Latinosblacksgayswomen who've been raped, Muslims, and even veterans (particularly veterans who were harmed by the war).  All these groups are used and spit out.  If they don't toe the Clinton line, they go from being special snowflake groups to targets of unshackled and gloating bigotry.  Homophobiaracism, anti-veteran bigotry, and religious hostility were as powerfully wielded against me, as was any direct antipathy based on my Republican conservative politics.

Under a Clintonista regime, investigations are phony, mind games become incredibly complicated, you cannot trust anybody, all conversations border on blackmail, and everybody's two-faced.  The people in business attire are typically working in tandem with thugs.  "We found no evidence" is the surefire response if someone who's unfavored files a complaint.  When someone who is unfavored is the respondent to a complaint, suddenly no stone is left unturned, deadlines are extended for months and years, and any possible chance to inflict discipline without getting sued is taken.  Clintonistas not only make the rules as they go along; they also break the rules they make up as they go along.

After several years of working in this environment, I would wake up shaking, not knowing what was going to happen today.  Would I suddenly be accused of a new crime made up out of whole cloth?  Would I be shamed and slandered on the internet again?  Would a student have an outburst in class, carefully timed to look random but bearing the marks of my enemies' behind-the-scenes choreography?  Would I come to campus to find vandalism?  Would I open my email to see yet another Orwellian trap, a reprimand based on my dean's fantasy, a fake email sent from a friend's hacked account, a threatening message from some nom de plume who might be halfway around the world or down the hall?

The conservative movement cannot combat Clintonista corruption.  I know, because the same NeverTrumpers who now claim he is too undignified to support were once people who drafted me into their battles.  They asked me to testify and give speeches against gay marriage, even revealing things about my family life.  I believed in the cause and trusted them.  Then, just when my dean and her vast network of Clintonista wasps swarmed me day in and day out, I found it harder and harder to rally help.

The NeverTrumpers seem to think we have no memory.  Unfortunately, I remember everything in vivid detail, though I will leave these folks nameless for decency's sake.  One of the NeverTrumpers once wrote emails about me behind my back, telling conservative groups to distance themselves from me because I was toxic.  Another NeverTrumper sat passively while a group of hecklers shouted me down at a university lecture, and then got angry when I wrote an article about it.  Catholic priests sat passively as well, letting me take the heat for defending their stances in a way none of them had the courage to do – and now scores of these types are claiming they are NeverTrumpers because Trump isn't pro-life enough or strong enough on opposing LGBT issues.

Another NeverTrumper stands out in my memory as someone who emailed me to tell me I was disinvited from speaking before his group because I was too controversial.  And then there are the NeverTrumpers who chastised me for making arguments that were too harsh in the lead-up to Obergefell.  Those who devalued me as too vulgar hogged all the airtime and print about the gay marriage issue, lost the debate spectacularly, and then would not help me with my nightmare on my California campus.

There are a shocking number of publications full of NeverTrumpers, which made it clear they would not publish any story I authored or any story about me, because I'd been too harsh toward LGBTs – merely by recounting my life experiences, applying my scholarship, and advocating for their supposed position!  These are the same people who were frantically against gay marriage and then did absolutely nothing when the gay adoption cases wound up at the Supreme Court.  They ignored my multiple emails asking if there were going to mobilize against gay adoption, which to me (and to many people) was a far more concerning trend than gay marriage.

On March 26-27, 2015, I'd organized a trip to Washington with a half-dozen adults who'd been raised by gay or trans parents and opposed same-sex marriage on the grounds that it harmed children.  Would this not have been a key group to give a platform to?  Many of the think-tanks full of NeverTrumpers refused to host or even meet with us.  I had flown people who should have been star witnesses to D.C.  They were interviewed by reporters who were then told by conservative editors they would not run the stories; they were also greeted by twenty-something staffers in the hallways outside the offices of Republican legislators who'd scheduled meetings with us.

This history matters.  I am not the only person who found the web of social conservatives in Washington closed off and ineffectual.  Having been in the trenches as a fighter for socially conservative causes, I cannot take the NeverTrumper position seriously.  If you want Hillary Clinton to win because you feel it would be too much trouble to change gears and consider new ways of doing things, then by all means, vote for the apocalypse.  Throw your vote in the trash or cast a ballot for Gary Johnson, so that Clinton can win and refashion millions more people's lives into the kind of nightmares that I survived.

But NeverTrumpers have no right to rationalize what they are about to do by saying they oppose Trump because he's too liberal or too coarse.  Dismissing people for being "toxic" is un-Christian and generally lousy behavior.  Don't the NeverTrumpers know that if someone comes and bad-mouths a third party to you ("Isn't he so gross?"), that someone is assuredly bad-mouthing you all over town, too?  How many of us can recognize the same country-club and blue-haired snobbery that we hate having to deal with in the statements NeverTrumpers make about Trump?

And even if Trump's beliefs are too liberal, who cares?  What have the social absolutists done for us lately?  Ted Cruz's brave posturing in Congress didn't stop abortion, gay marriage, gay adoption, or transgender bathroom access.  Like a broad swath of the Republican base, I'm actually not that obsessed with free-market economics.  I joined the party in search of pro-faith, pro-life, and pro-family policies, not for low corporate taxes, military machismo, or union-busting.  So I'm not freaked out by the prospect of a Republican president who talks about slowing immigration, raising tariffs, avoiding war, and helping American workers.

I actually cannot listen to people talk about the need for a pure Republican brand without laughing hysterically.  That streetcar was named Eric Cantor, my friends, and it went off the rails.

Many of us are not freaked out by the fact that Trump has dallied with liberals, wasn't always that socially conservative, and doesn't necessarily agree with us 100%.  That makes him human, like a lot of us whose parents did not read G.K. Chesterton to us in the crib.  And when you say, "His only qualification is that he's not Hillary Clinton," a lot of us say, "Great!  That's exactly what we're looking for."  He isn't Hillary Clinton, who will bring the meanies and the whole Clinton machine, complete with all its vendettas and enemies lists, into Washington where the lefties can wage perpetual warfare against Christians.

If you are a NeverTrumper, do not go dumping on Trump in my name.  By that, I mean in the name of social conservatives.  I was involved in national political debates just long enough to get a sense of who's who, and this game isn't working anymore.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif, Soundcloud, or Twitter.