Why I’m still #NeverTrump

I just re-read my blog post from back in July and it still rings true now more than ever in my opinion. I feel obliged to give one last written update on my feelings regarding the election before it’s finally all over and we can go back to normal life (if there is such a thing) in just a few short weeks. If only just to address some of the sad themes that keep recurring.

I recently received an email from a friend that articulated why they had been pushed over the edge to vote for Trump. It was a long summary of why Hillary is corrupt/evil/lied/cheated/ etc. A well articulated list of reasons why most of us can’t stand her and won’t vote for her no matter what. I told him this is a respectable opinion and he had done his homework which led him to that decision. He didn’t try to sway my thinking, just articulate the path he went down with his reasoning to get to where he’s at. It was solid. And I agree completely with it.

However, I still won’t be voting for Trump even with all the ample evidence of her corruption. I have two main issues why. (and several smaller sub issues)

1. Evangelicals are destroying themselves and their credibility this election.
2. Republicans are worthless and conservatives really need a new party.

But first a small summary of where we are currently and my thoughts on it.

  • I have no preconceived idea than any politician or outsider will be not be corrupted by the system to work within it. I’m not that naive.
  • Wikileaks and Veritas just prove what we’ve known all along. People (the general public) obviously still don’t care. I don’t see riots or marches on Washington with people protesting this unprecedented evil and corruption and demanding change.
  • The media is beyond corrupt and an agent of the Democrats. Nothing surprises me anymore with the levels of low they will stoop to.
  • I honestly don’t think Trump can win, no matter what happens now, unless Hillary drops out for health reasons.
    See the following info:
    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/?ex_cid=rrpromo
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html
  • I think Trump has been a Clinton plant all along. His campaign has sucked the entire time.
  • I think Trump is just saying things to get votes. I don’t think he’ll follow through on more than a small amount of the promises he’s made. His whole life he has been a liberal democrat pragmatist. I really don’t see him being any different if he gets elected.

So now let’s address issue #1.  Evangelicals are destroying themselves and their credibility this election.

I don’t believe it’s ok for evangelicals to fear monger and bastardize scripture to convince people to vote for the big R no matter what in hopes to have a seat at the table of politics. Here are a few examples of evangelicals throwing away their credibility for politics. And they wonder why Millennials don’t come to church?

Jerry Falwell Jr interview on CNN
http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/10/13/jerry-falwell-jr-vote-for-trump-sot-erin.cnn

http://www.redstate.com/aglanon/2016/10/13/jerry-falwell-jr.-disgrace-liberty-university-resign/

Jerry Falwell Jr saying he’d vote for known womanizer JFK because he had good policies. He also stated that Trump’s sexual assaults (or comments) were in the past and should be overlooked. While his university is kicking out football players for….wait for it…. “sexual assault in their past.”
http://wsls.com/2016/09/12/two-liberty-football-players-suspended-for-violating-sexual-harassment-policy/ 
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/18/jerry-falwell-axes-anti-trump-story-from-liberty-university-s-student-newspaper.html?via=twitter_page
Ben Carson has/is destroying his reputation. He is a brilliant man, but he is making a fool of himself while he shrills for Trump.
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/10/ben-carson-christian-values-we-can-worry-about-piffle-later
http://politistick.com/ben-carson-set-aside-christian-principles-elect-trump/
Pence says we should forgive trump. I’m pretty sure the doctrine of forgiveness involves the person asking for it and then repenting / turning away from their sin. Trump hasn’t done that.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/10/12/mike-pence-liberty-trump-forgive/91948768/
Trump still hasn’t asked for forgiveness.
Christians seem to conveniently forget that Pence betrayed religious liberty in his state when he was governor. Apparently he gets a pass on this since he acts Christian most of the time. I thought we as Christians were supposed to do the right thing, even when its not easy or popular.
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-vp-pick-mike-pence-evangelicals-225623
These are just a few examples. It really looks like the church is worshiping at the idol of the Republicans because they fear Hillary Clinton more than they fear God. 
I’m not arguing that she won’t be a terrible president and do great harm to the church, our country, the supreme court, individual rights, etc. She will be awful! But God will still reign regardless of her winning or not, or the next Hitler being elected, or our country no longer existing. It seems Christians have forgotten that.
And finally on issue #1, a personal story. I have a friend who I respect very much tell me he couldn’t vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 because he was a Mormon, and then he told me, “We’re just gonna have to hold our noses and vote” this time, (implying we need to vote for Trump). I find that wildly inconsistent and frustrating. While I would agree that Mormonism is a cult, I could pragmatically argue using this same kind of logic that it aligns with baptist teachings probably 90% (other than the added book) and has probably produced a boatload of morally good people in the world compared to the character and actions of Donald Trump. In my opinion, he’s flat out wrong on this one. Regardless of whether Trump was running against the she-devil-incarnate or some other random politician. My friend also said that Todd Akin should resign from his campaign in Missouri for making the “legitimate rape” comment when he was running in 2012. Well Trump has said things way worse than that, so my friend is using inconsistent logic (unusual for him and his very methodical thinking) or using situational ethics. I’m not mad at him, or saying he’s a bad Christian. I just think we are all human and make mistakes, and I think he’s mistaken on this one. But hey, I make mistakes everyday too. So no judgment here. Just disagreement.

Now on to issue #2. Republicans are worthless and conservatives really need a new party.

People keep talking about how the Republican party is the vehicle for conservatives to use to advance their conservative beliefs. I think that time has long since passed and below are a few examples of how Republicans have betrayed conservatives.

“How much longer will they (conservatives) continue doing the same things and expecting different results?”
https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/10/why-conservatives-will-need-a-new-party-if-when-hillary-wins
People keep talking about the supreme court, but fail to forget President Obama has appointed over 300 judges to the lower courts. Less than 1% of cases make it to the supreme court. It seems to me all these pragmatic voters worried about the supreme court can’t seem to do math in this case. It’s worth considering due to the 30ish year terms on the bench and the power they hold, but weighed against the math of the number of cases that don’t make it to the supreme court really invalidates this fear based argument for Trump.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/31/obama-appointments-already-pulling-appeals-courts-to-left.html
Republicans have had the house and senate for how many years now? How many veto’s overrides have they done to President Obama? Just 1.
http://history.house.gov/Institution/Presidential-Vetoes/Presidential-Vetoes/
As far as the platforms go, It’s just words. Actions and votes are what I care about. Show me the 2012 Republican platform and I’ll show you numerous examples of Republicans crapping all over it for (insert political reason here). Print out the super conservative platform they just passed. Let’s wait 1 year, not even 4, and I’m sure that sadly I will be able to do the same. Rank and file Republicans don’t care about platforms. They don’t care about voters’ wishes. They care about power, lobbyists, and their pet projects, and how all 3 of those intertwine for their personal benefit. You’d be hard pressed to argue that I’m wrong on that last sentence. I wish it weren’t so. I don’t understand why people put so much faith in these words when they haven’t kept their word or fought for conservative values in the last 20 years. It’s mind boggling to me.
I have friends here in Missouri that support Roy Blunt completely. Roy Blunt has an F rating (39%) at Conservative Review. They support him because he votes conservative on religious liberties and abortion. (which are very important to me!) He doesn’t vote conservative on much else. Especially fiscal stuff. While I can understand that logic and can even partially agree that you have to take what you can get in politics, at some point you have to demand better. I realize there are no better alternatives in the Blunt race this fall, but I won’t support him. There are better flawed senators on the national level (see Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee) who have A ratings from conservative review. (Or pick your favorite conservative rating site, ACUHeritage, etc.) I’d rather support a candidate who votes conservative 92% of the time as opposed to 39% of the time, if I have to support one at all using the “take what you can get” logic they subscribe to. At some point, (other than the manual labor) I think the Amish may have gotten it more right than us. We don’t need to be a part of this hackery to get table scraps in return. And yes, I realize the standard to get my vote is becoming quite high. To politicians, I say “Deal with it. Do Better.”
This is my conclusion and reasoning on this election and Republicans in general:
  • If you don’t demand better candidates or change, you won’t ever get it. Even if it takes 30 years, (see Nigel Farage UK independence party for example) you have to play the long game and demand better.
  • I am demanding better by not supporting Republicans or Donald Trump. It will get worse before it gets better. I understand this. More and more people will have to demand better.
  • Donald Trump won’t win. Even if I held my nose and voted for him to stop Hillary, he’s imploded his campaign all on his own. Regardless of who they blame it on when it’s over. (see corrupt media, rigged system, or #NeverTrumper’s like me who voted 3rd party).
  • Christians should fear God more than they fear a Hillary Clinton administration.
  • The Republican party needs to go the way of the Whig party. They flat out suck on today’s issues. They are not conservative in any way.
  • I will most likely vote Darrell Castle from the Constitution party this election. I’m not completely sure yet.
  • I believe I won’t have credibility out in the world as a Christian if I support Trump. I can’t use the same morals, principles, and ethics exampled in the Bible (which I attempt to live up to and fail at quite often in my daily life) and then twist those beliefs to support someone who shows no evidence of any morals, principles or ethics.  I just can’t make that “leap of faith.
  • I’ve reached my breaking point with it all. I’ve studied and researched everything very much. I consider myself decently well informed. I’m tired of people thinking I’m dumb or naive because I’m not falling in line.
  • I won’t take anything at face value. I need data, facts, and figures. I live in the Show-Me state after all.
And finally, this is not an effort to get you to change your mind. I am just letting you know why I have come to the decisions I have. No, I will not name names for friends, family members, or acquaintances who read this. My intent is not to point fingers and start fights, but to have healthy grown-up disagreement. I will still love and care about the friends I mentioned in this article who I disagree with.
Later,
-Derek

Think and (Vote) for Yourself

I generally don’t care for politics that much. But it’s the season for it, so let me take the opportunity to articulate some of the conclusions I’ve come to.

I’m disappointed in all of the presidential candidates. They all have flaws. Some of them very major ones. I’ll get to more of that later.

First, lets start with some background on myself. Living in Missouri, I’m not required to register with one specific party affiliation regarding voting. In primaries, I can walk in and pick a ballot of any party and then vote on candidates. I guess I would have considered myself an independent Republican. I’m independently minded, and tended to lean towards issues first, then generic Republican support second usually in the name of “voting for the lesser of two evils.” I can’t say this strategy has worked well or that I’m proud of it.

Over the last few years, I’ve really learned to think for myself.  I would encourage you to go do your own research, study, learn about the candidates, and make an informed decision that you can live with.  I held my nose during the last two presidential elections and voted for the lesser of two evils and lost anyways. I’ve decided going forward that I’ll go support candidates I believe in and agree with even if they loose. I’d rather be able to live with myself and sleep at night.

Which brings me to my main points.

1. I will not vote for Donald Trump.

2. I’m done with the Republican Party.

Regarding the first issue, the reasons are many in which I will not vote for Donald Trump. I will not list them all. A few of them include: That he is a lifelong liberal democrat. He donated money to Hillary. His pick for treasury secretary is a leftist donor. He cozied up to the RNC establishment to get exactly what he wanted. He has absolutely no morals or principles other than making deals and stroking his ego. He won’t stand for conservatives values. He ran a very divisive campaign based on division politics. He has flipped flopped on so many issues you don’t really know what he stands for.  He doesn’t act presidential, and it’s hard to take him serious as a candidate.

And before the fear based statements start of “Well then Hillary will win if you don’t vote for Trump” Or “you’re supporting Hillary by not voting for Trump,” that’s absolutely NOT true. Each person is free to vote their conscience and should do so. My vote is who I’m supporting. Regardless of numbers. I predict this two party system majority will change in the next 15-25 years. It’s starting with me and a lot of other people not voting for Trump “because we’re supposed to.”

I honestly believe that Trump cannot beat Hillary. I’ve done a lot of research. He doesn’t have the numbers, the ground game, the money, or the will to beat her. His campaign has been awful. He’s losing this election all by himself regardless of me not voting for him.  Unless some major shift in the world happens he won’t beat her. I’d put good money on it.

If the only reason your voting for Trump is to not get Hillary, I can understand and respect that (even if I think it’s a narrow approach). My issue comes from people and groups that I respect who are throwing out their morals and compromising their beliefs and convictions to support Trump. People who wouldn’t vote for Romney because he was a Mormon are promoting Donald Trump– a man who admittedly has said he doesn’t need to ask for God’s forgiveness. The way he has lived his life and the stories of his business practices truly show his character (or lack there of). There’s also that sticky point of “past performance is the best indicator of future performance.” Do you really expect him to change? Do you expect him not to “sell out” or “make deals”? Whatever that means to you.

Anyways, I can’t in good conscience vote for someone like that who is such a wild card.

Issue two:  The Republican Party.

As someone who considers myself a libertarian leaning conservative, I’m tired of the Republican party. I’m tired of being told that “this is the most important election ever!” , “If you don’t support the Republican in this race, the Democrats will win and crap all over your ideas/beliefs/agenda/etc!”

Newsflash: It’s not the most important election ever. The country will continue to exist and move on. Many Republicans I supported ended up selling me out and moving forward with Democratic policies anyways. I will no longer participate in generic support of Republicans because they can do some good 8% of the time, while compromising 92% of the time. We deserve better. I’m tired of conservatives being sold out for years and years. I’m tired of being angry, feeling cheated, etc. I’m just not going to play that game anymore. I’m done with them.

With the circus that the Republican party has become this last year, I think they are on their way out anyways. Just like the Whigs. It’s only a matter of time.

But the “platform” the Republicans just passed is very conservative you might argue. I truly believe the “platform” is just lip service to keep leading people along who think that there is still a chance to reform and do some good in the Republican party. (i.e., most conservatives and evangelicals) I maybe 10% agree with the idea that some good can still be done, but the odds are stacked heavily against it. The Republicans (as a party, not necessarily all individuals) don’t give 2 craps about their platform. Mark it down, they will go against it and pass legislation in the next year that completely defies it. And people will still defend them for one reason or another. I GUARANTEE IT.

There will still be specific candidates that I will support who will have a R in front of their name. But they will be the exception and not the rule.
No candidate or party is owed my allegiance by default. They must convince me to give them my vote.

Only God can save our nation. Not the fear of a Hillary Clinton administration.

I don’t know who I’m going to vote for this Presidential election. I know it won’t be Hillary or Trump. I’ll continue to do research and make the best informed decision I can that agrees with my conscience. I hope you will do the same. Think and vote for yourself. Not because your favorite channel favors so and so, not because your parents, friends, mentor, preacher, boss, spouse, etc tell you that you should vote for someone. Take all their advice in with a grain of salt and think for yourself and then decide. That freedom is what makes our country great.

Later,
Derek

Some light reference material if your interested. There are plenty more examples out there. Here are just a few.
http://www.npr.org/2016/02/28/467961962/sick-of-political-parties-unaffiliated-voters-are-changing-politics

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/05/gutless-gop-insiders-sold-you-out-again

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/opinion/dump-the-gop-for-a-grand-new-party.html?_r=0


http://gos.sbc.edu/j/jorgensen.html


http://dailysignal.com/2016/03/15/the-gop-sell-out-continues/


http://www.fitsnews.com/2015/10/23/house-conservatives-ripped-for-selling-out-to-gop-establishment/


http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/Republicans-spending-bill/2015/12/18/id/706463/


http://www.pewforum.org/2016/07/13/evangelicals-rally-to-trump-religious-nones-back-clinton/


http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-exploits-progressive-morality-1465486485


http://www.epm.org/blog/2016/Mar/21/donald-trump-character


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/evangelical-christians-are-selling-out-faith-for-politics/2016/06/23/f03368de-3964-11e6-8f7c-
d4c723a2becb_story.html


https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/07/voter-fraud-is-now-an-inalienable-right


http://www.redstate.com/leon_h_wolf/2016/07/15/gop-isnt-worth-saving/


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435743/donald-trump-or-hillary-clinton-never-trump-people-dont-have-choose


http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-on-god-i-dont-like-to-have-to-ask-for-forgiveness-2016-1


http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/donald-trump-scandals/474726/


http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

Soldier Suicides

Today I had the displeasure of attending another funeral of a soldier in my unit that committed suicide. That’s the 2nd one in less than a year. Honestly, it’s an awful experience. If I never have to watch another mother bawl her eyes out for her child that is gone while hearing taps, I’d be ok with that. Sadly, I’m afraid it won’t be the last time I will have to go through this. As hard as it is for me and my fellow soldiers who were his friends, I can’t imagine what sorrow and pain the family is going through. I pray they will find comfort in this awful season of their lives.

There are not many answers. Mostly there are questions.
What signs did I miss?
What could I have done differently?
How did I not see this coming?
What can I do to prevent the next one?
Why is suicide so prevalent in the military?

Like I said, I don’t have the answers. However, I have a few suggestions.

  • Pray for your soldiers.
  • Be involved in their lives.
  • Ask them how they are doing. Then Ask them How they are REALLY doing and then be prepared to listen for as long as needed.
  • Offer to walk beside them through whatever demons or difficulties they are facing.
  • Confront them directly but gently in love if you feel or notice that something is not right.
  • Don’t just send them links to resources. Walk with them hand in hand to counseling, therapy, a chaplain or preacher.

If you know a soldier who is struggling through some rough times in their life, please check on them.

If you are alone and feeling suicidal, please know that there are people out there who care about you and love you. You have friends, family, co-workers, even total strangers that love and care for you. Your life is precious. Please don’t be afraid to call and ask for help. There is no shame in admitting you are human and that sometimes life really really sucks and you don’t know how to go own. There are no problems that can’t be overcome with teamwork. Please reach out to someone. Call me and I will be glad to help in any way I can. Call one of these numbers if you feel like anybody you know personally can’t understand. Sometimes talking to a total stranger can help the healing begin.
1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433

Every life is precious and I pray for anyone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Please know that we love and care about you. I hope we can make progress as a human race in dealing with this issue of suicide.

-Derek

Writing More Better (Often)

I keep mentioning the idea of wanting to write more. I definitely feel that I have things I can contribute to the world. Some of that is through writing. I’m a creative person naturally and love to create ideas, videos, music, etc. I tend to hesitate to create because it involves putting your ideas out there and waiting to see if people like/understand/approve of it. This fear and hesitation has held me back quite often from putting my creative things out into the world. So I’m working to overcome this and start creating more. I’m moving towards the attitude of not caring about your opinion of my work. If you like it, great! Share it, comment on it, etc. If you don’t like it, that’s ok too. When you create passionately, you are going to get people who don’t care for your work, don’t like it, don’t agree with it, etc. But at least you are being authentic to the creative process.

In short, I’m going to try and write a lot more. I’ve got thoughts, ideas, and opinions to share and I’m going to attempt to make them coherent, articulate and interesting. I’m going to try to avoid just name calling and mud-slinging with ideas or people I disagree with.

I have many ideas and projects in the development phase. I’ve actually decided to challenge myself to writing a book. I have two ideas. One for fiction and one for non-fiction. I’m already 4 chapters into writing the non-fiction book. It’s way harder than I ever thought it would be. But it’s exciting.

Stay tuned for more future content.

Later,
Derek

More Updates

Im going to try and start using my website and social media platforms more. I’m getting tired of reading stupid people on facebook and twitter. I’ll write and rant my opinions here and if people choose to come read it they may.

I haven’t really used my youtube channel in many years. I need to upload some videos, I just don’t have any ideas.

Periscope is cool when I use it. Mostly to watch kids soccer games back and forth between my wife and me.

Snapchat just seems to be for silliness. It’s ok I guess. But what is the point if your story goes away after 24 hours and there are no analytics, or your audience was busy/gone for the day.

Twitter is by far the best platform. My favorite of any.

Facebook has the most people showing their butts. Stupid opinions fly in the face of logic everyday. It’s just the easist platform to stay in contact with everyone, because odds are most people have it. Although I’m about to be done with it.

WordPress is still great and my blogging platform of choice. When i write something good, i’ve gotten over a thousand hits in over a weekend vs my normal 4 hits a month.

Instagram is just a less busy twitter.

IF is great for cross posting to all your accounts.

Google+ can anyone say myspace 2.0?

I’m thinking of starting an email list. I dunno. We will see. That’s all for now.

Later,
Derek