Principles Over Party

Oprah Magazine, Nov. 2016

Oprah Magazine, Nov. 2016

I’ve worked on this blog post for almost two days now, and a few times, I’ve almost deleted it, because I realize most people, like me, are sick of politics. But, after reading the above quote, I decided to post it anyway. You can read it or not. Believe me, I understand if you don’t.

There is very little that keeps me awake at night and I count that as one of my many blessings. But in the last few nights, politics, the chatter swirling around it and my fears associated with it have–like a solo cricket I can’t find, or a barking dog I can’t shut up–kept me awake.

A few days ago, I read David Brook’s New York Times article, “The Governing Cancer of our Time.” Though it was written in February, I only recently happened upon it in a Twitter retweet. It becomes more relevant as each day passes in this bitter, divisive campaign cycle.

If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s a list of bullet points that struck me most:

  • There are essentially two ways to get things done in a diverse society: politics or some form of dictatorship.
  • Politics recognizes the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions.
  • “Antipolitics,” or the move toward dictatorship, “tramples the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making.” It does not recognize anyone with a differing opinion, refuses compromise and wants nothing short of total victory.

And in walks Donald Trump. ~~David Brooks


If you’ve read any of my recent political posts, you already know I’m a lifelong Republican, and have always voted Republican, at least for presidential candidates. You also know that this time, I can’t.

In this election, I think for the first time, I considered two different criteria about the candidate before I’ll vote for him/her:

  1. Is he/she a sane, principled human being?
  2. What is his/her platform?

Before Trump’s candidacy, I don’t recall having to be so consciously and completely concerned about #1. Here a few reasons why I’m so concerned about Trump:

In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump said: “When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even.”

  • He lies constantly. True, most candidates lie. But one can hardly keep up with Trump’s lies, and most of his self-contradictions can easily be discredited by looking at his past tweets or videos.
  • BREAKING NEWS 10/12/16: Four Women Accuse Trump of Forcibly Groping, Kissing Them. You may ask, “How do you know it’s true?” Because Trump himself confirmed it in past recordings. He either truly committed these acts, or he blatantly lied about committing them in these recordings. Either way, he’s not the person I want for president.

Then, there are my concerns with his platform/policy:

Oh, heck. This post has gone on long enough, so I’m not even going to get into the details of the platform part. But generally, my concerns lie in the fact he doesn’t seem to understand world politics or the Constitution, including the checks and balances of the three branches of government, as evidenced by his belief that “he alone can fix it.” So my point is, the platform part doesn’t matter to me if the above foundational criteria hasn’t been met.

Trump has gotten so far because people are angry at what Congress has not gotten done. I get that, and I’m fed up, too. But I think the muck in which Congress wallows is made of partisanship, divisiveness and refusal to compromise. They (aided by the media,) have set the example for the rest of us, and THIS is the cancer about which David Brook’s writes in his article referenced at the start of this post, “The Governing Cancer of Our Time.”

Donald Trump is NOT the candidate who will begin to heal this cancer. Many say Hillary Clinton will do no better, and I’m certainly concerned many in Congress will refuse to work with her. But, here’s the difference as I see it.

I don’t think she will refuse to work with Congress.

Based on what I’ve seen of Trump in this last year, he will refuse to work with anyone who disagrees with him. Instead, as we’ve already seen, he will go on a “scorched earth” media frenzy.

David Brooks closed his article with a quote by Harold Laski:

We shall make the basis of our state consent to disagreement. Therein shall we ensure its deepest harmony.

We need a principled person to be our president. Sadly, both candidates are lacking, maybe even void of the principles I’m looking for. Which brings me to what I believe our country most needs now, and that’s the ability to negotiate and compromise. I know for certain, based on what I’ve seen and learned from Trump, that he is NOT that person. I can only pray that Hillary will be better. If you don’t believe in compromise, how can you believe in democracy?

I could care less about party affiliation when so much is at stake.

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15 Responses to Principles Over Party

  1. Anonymous says:



  2. Claudia says:

    Well put and thought out…the time for division and blindly supporting any party is over. Sometimes life can’t be put into black/white, right/wrong, up/down, evil/good, etc.
    Sometimes we are in a situation or place with ONLY two negative choices.
    Then we have to use critical thinking skills and make the choice for the least damaging or lesser destruction bearing decision. We are right there right now.


  3. John Fawcett says:

    Nicely said.

    I am a registered Democrat but in saying that I have a problem with some of they’re more Neo-Liberal policies. Having said that the last two congresses guided by the Republicans have been a disaster for the country and as it turns out for the Republican Party. The ACA is an example of “we we’re for before we were against it”. It could be so much better for all if both sides of the isle had worked to make it better. The old saying elections have consequences was thrown out the window after the 2008 election to be replaced by just say no and do all in your power to make sure Obama doesn’t get reelected. What does anyone think a uninformed electorate is going to think? Couple this with a media that is profit motivated and you have made the soup to spawn a Donald Trump.

    You can throw out much of what going back to the way things used to be, but I, like Jan think compromise would be one to re-establish.


  4. Extremely well said, Jan!!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Today It’s easy for people to live in their own world, supported by others with similar attitudes, outlooks and “facts.” Holding onto those “facts,” is like holding on to personal identity that connects them to others in a pretty profound and emotional way. To compromise is to be disloyal, weak, and humiliating; like surrendering to the enemy.

    The gerrymandering of congressional districts creates a situation where candidates on both sides must cater to their most fervent supporters, at least for a time, who may hate the performance of congress as a whole but love the ideological purity of their congressman.


    • Jan Morrill says:

      Anonymous, I agree with everything you said. We are becoming more and more deeply entrenched on our respective “sides.” One of the best ways to change this is to start listening to each other beyond the sound bites and finding ways to compromise.


  6. Tricia says:

    Amen! Thought post.


  7. Pingback: I Am Who I Am (And Politics Is Just One Tiny Piece of the Puzzle) | Jan Morrill Writes

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