The greatest tragedies are injuries inflicted on the innocent. There are, however, other sad moments of our time, among them the collapse of responsibile conservatism into Trumpian irresponsibility & dishonesty. So many conservatives have become what they once despised.
A local example would be proud conservatives who now insist, nationally or locally, that government is needed on the border and in their communities. They’re now quite sure that government will work just fine when it takes care of them.
Tim Miller writes of this in They Are What They Say They Hate (‘Trump is a triggered loser who embodies every trait conservatives spent decades decrying’):
Donald Trump is a snowflake who cares only about his feelings not the facts.
He’s a pampered millennial child who can’t handle losing and wants a participation trophy.
He’s a coddled, out-of-touch elite who cares more about what his media friends say about him than the struggles of forgotten Americans.
He is everything that they ever said their “evil” opponents were. And worse.
They do it [embody Trump’s outlook] because their crusade stopped being about anything other than causing their opponents pain a long time ago. They came to the crossroads and struck a deal to make a human troll the president of the United States, because he put Obama in his (birth) place and made all the right people mad. He was their vehicle to give the finger to half of the country.
Their end of that deal paid off in spades the past four years.
Well, yes. Conservatives who once (rightly) insisted upon personal responsibility, hard work, honesty, and individual rights now wheedle and whine that simple tasks are too hard, facts are mere alternatives, that they need government support (now, damnit!), and proudly identify as a majoritarian, nativist volk.
This transformation is no faraway change – it’s present in every corner of the country. Pretending it hasn’t happened won’t make it go away; head down and eyes averted is no posture for a worthy man or woman.