Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Fox in the Hen House

In the C.S. Lewis' children's classic, The Chronicles of Narnia, a family of four children is magically transported to the kingdom of Narnia which is ruled by the cruel White Witch.  Under the control of the Witch, Narnia has become a desolate land where "it is always winter and never Christmas".  The children find themselves involved in an uprising against this vile ruler, but one of them, Edmund, is jealous and angry and feels ignored and demeaned by the oldest brother, Peter. Sensing this anger and his desire to lash out against his brother, the White Witch takes Edmund into her carriage to sit beside her and feeds him Turkish Delight.  Flattered by her attention and greedy for sweets, Edmund betrays his entire family and the fledgling freedom movement in Narnia.  In a later scene, Mr. Tumnus, who has been arrested and tortured for his part in the revolution, is brought before the Witch and Edmund.

 "Do you know why you are here?" she demands of Tumnus. 

"I am here," the battered faun lifts his head and looks directly at the queen, "because I believe in a free Narnia."

"No," answers the witch coldly "You are here because he," pointing at Edmund, "sold you out for sweeties!"

I have thought of that scene a lot lately and was reminded of it again yesterday as I talked to a Donald Trump supporter after a real estate meeting. This woman was the stereotypical Trump supporter in the 55-70 age group that makes up his core base.  She used to live in California, where she made a lot of money in real estate and now she is living in Texas and working part-time in real estate and making very little money. One by one, she cornered people in the room to share her political opinions until finally she stood in front of me to explain how dangerous Hillary and Bernie are and how only Donald Trump can make America great again.

I listened politely but after a few minutes I told her, "I think Donald Trump is very liberal.  He is going to govern just like Hillary."  She looked so disappointed.  "Why would you say that?" 

I told her that he is FOR universal health care.  She shook her head and asked me why I thought that, and I told her I thought that because he has said so, on more than one occasion.  I told her he was FOR big government and expanding the role of government.  She said she did not agree with me about that either--why would I say such a thing?  I answered that he has SAID so--that his positions all call for more government.  I told her that he is AGAINST the North Carolina bathroom bill--a position so outrageously out of step with conservatives that even Michael Savage, one of Trump's most ardent supporters, came out against Trump on this issue and said he was wrong. She told me that I was wrong--he thinks it's just a states' rights issue and states can do whatever they want.  I told her he is FOR raising taxes "on the wealthy"--something every liberal Democrats runs on which translates eventually into raising taxes on everyone who works.  She actually did not argue that one since he just made this statement last week. 

"He is friends with Hillary Clinton; he has given money to Hillary Clinton's campaign and to other liberal Democrats," I cautioned.

"Sure," she responded confidently, "He's a business man.  He had to do that."
And then she went on to tell me that he will bring jobs back to America.

"He doesn't even hire American workers for his own hotels," I contradicted.  "This came up at the debate.  He hires people on H1B visas to work at the hotels seasonally and then he gets rid of them."

"He has to compete," she responded. "And he is not responsible for the subs his general contractors hire." (This was in response to my telling her that he hired Polish immigrants to build one of his casinos).

Finally, I said, "He is a narcissist." 

Her eyes widened, she smiled at me brightly and answered, "Of COURSE he's a narcissist!"  At that point I gave up.  At the end of our conversation she shook her head again and told me that she hoped I was wrong about all of this and that he would be the wonderful president she is counting on him to be.

For what it's worth, I would like to be wrong too--but I'm not.  These are not accusations other people are making about Donald Trump. These are statements he himself has made and made quite recently.  Now granted, Donald Trump has been known to reverse himself and change positions on a single issue four or five times within a 24 hour period, so I can understand how there could be confusion on where he stands.  But these are recent statements--they have not been repudiated and they reflect where he is today.  And none of them matters even slightly to a woman who self-identifies as conservative--perhaps in the same way that we now allow people to self-identify their race, gender and other formerly immutable characteristics. 

This woman gets her information from Fox News--she told me that at the beginning of the conversation.  And this in fact is one reason she is so completely ill-informed about who Donald Trump really is.  Fox News protects and provides cover for Trump in the same way that the MSM protected and provided cover for Obama.  So when I tell her that he is a liberal, she just chooses not to believe it.  If that were true, Fox would say it.  But Sean Hannity and gang have supported and protected and fawned over Trump in a way that they have not fawned over any other candidate in history.  They have whitewashed him to cover his faults, slavishly endorsed his every nonsensical remark and campaigned for him to the tune of billions of dollars worth of advertising.  So it is no surprise that Fox viewers like this woman don't know who Donald Trump is.  They are just drinking the Kool Aid.

This election cycle has been painful to watch, frustrating and exhausting, but it has revealed the true thoughts and motives of a lot personalities who have self-identified as conservative--again in much the same way that Caitlyn Jenner self-identifies as a woman.  They dress up in conservative attire, and they spout conservative sounding ideals, but they are NOT conservatives.  They are opportunists.  Being against Obama got them attention.  Speaking out against Obama actually revived some people's careers.  So they were against Obama.  Now they are for Trump.  If the AntiChrist shows up next week they will be for him.  What they really support is themselves--their own careers, their own success.  We have suspected this about many of them for years--Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham were given away in part by their friendships and close associations.  After all, do we really think that Ann Coulter is actually a conservative when one of her best friends is Bill Maher?   I don't think so.  Rush Limbaugh was a little more of a surprise, but not much.  He who hangs around Hollywood friends all the time is not going to hold permanently tightly to conservatism.  It's just too unpopular. Whatever principles these people had, they sold off to buy friendship with celebrities and a place at the table with the "important" people years ago. 

After the 2012 election, conservatives like Jim DeMint argued that we could not communicate our message effectively and that is the reason we lost.  But now I am beginning to understand that the real reason we lost is that the messengers who are supposed to communicate that message are not conservative themselves.  They don't believe that conservative principles work.  They don't believe that the Constitution has any value at all.  Like Edmund in Narnia, the Trump supporters, in and out of the media, are angry people who feel disenfranchised and want to punish those who disenfranchised them.  But also like Edmund, Trump's media arm, be it Fox News, Breitbart, or Drudge, want to sit next to the White Witch as her favorite and stuff themselves on Turkish Delight (which is very bad candy by the way--I tried it after the movie came out and it is a sickeningly sweet, gooey concoction that should not seduce anyone.  I think that is actually part of Lewis' point:  "He hadn't eaten his share of the dinner because he was thinking all the time about Turkish Delight--and there's nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food so much as the memory of bad magic food.") 

For Fox News, Drudge, Breitbart, and Trump's other surrogates: Sarah Palin, Robert Jeffress and all the others who have wholeheartedly abandoned their principles to get the nomination for Trump, their Turkish Delight is the concept that they could be kingmakers.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines, they could be to Trump what NBC and CBS and MSN were to Obama.  They can have the inside interviews and exclusive scoops.  They can be his personal advisors and private chaplains. They can have the positions of honor that have always eluded them.

What they have forgotten in their mad love affair with Trump is that while Trump is a smarmy New York liberal, he's NOT Obama.  He's not even Hillary.  He's an old, out-of-shape white guy wearing too much spray tan who says inappropriate things.  He's the Archie Bunker of this election cycle--a potential butt for every joke and comedy skit imaginable.  And Fox News is not CBS or NBC.  There is already a smarmy New York liberal running for president and when this primary cycle ends, she is going to have the complete attention and devotion of the entire mainstream media EXCEPT for Fox News, Breitbart and Drudge. Fox News at the end of the day is just a cable channel--a cable channel that has alienated a lot of its core base of true conservatives by showing itself to be just another opportunistic liberal media machine.  When the primary process is over, the MSM will no longer give Trump a pass the way they did Obama--they will skewer him for his affairs, his chauvinism and his scandals including the Trump University fraud case.  And Trump's never ending barrage of stupid statements will give them all the ammo they need--all they have to do is stick a microphone in front of him every 24 hours to have plenty of grist for the next day's news.

Only Fox, Breitbart and Drudge will be at his side.  True conservatives who have vowed #NeverTrump will not support Trump or his minions.  The Democrats who joined the party to make him the nominee--like the 60,000 who switched party affiliation in Pennsylvania to vote him in--will turn around and vote for Hillary Clinton.  According to polls released the day after the Acela primary on Tuesday night, 25% of the people who voted for Trump on Tuesday will not vote for him in the general election. They were only there to put in the candidate they wanted; now their work is done.  It's going to be a bloodbath.

In Narnia, Aslan the lion ultimately redeems Edmund and his bad choices and rescues the kingdom.  The story is an allegory of salvation.  In real life, I don't know whether the huge betrayal by the media and the conservative movement will or can be redeemed at this late date.  I pray that it is and that America can actually have a conservative president who will make America a constitutional republic again.  But no matter what happens, we will never forget those who sold us down the river for their version of Turkish Delight.  What happens now is on them.

If you want a good laugh, watch Andrew Klavan's piece on this:
Alexandra Swann has a master's degree in history with emphasis on the French Revolution. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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