Guest Post by Shak Hill
Raccoons are bad. When Robin and I moved into our first home after leaving the military, we discovered a raccoon family had moved in just before us, living in the ceiling of the garage. A story attributed to Newt Gingrich about the phenomenon of Donald Trump compared him to a raccoon exterminator. The belief is, we don’t care about the person who exterminates the raccoons, we just want the problem fixed.
With Donald Trump the presumptive nominee, many are now wondering whether they should leave the Republican Party. I don’t propose there exists the perfect answer to this question. But I understand why people are asking it (because we also want the raccoon problem fixed).
For the record, I’m not a “NeverTrump” person. In the two-party system that America enjoys (or, increasingly laments), the question is binary: Democrat or Republican. As a question with two possible answers, I can understand supporting him despite his lack of conservative track record. It is simply a pragmatic response.
But I’m not an “AlwaysTrump” person, either. What amazes me is that so many people are willing to table their core beliefs to support Donald Trump. Case in point: if you are arguing with a big Trump fan and you criticize Trump on any level for any action, eventually you often become the bad guy in the course of that argument. “You don’t understand!” “You don’t get it!”
No, I think I do. As a Major League Soccer (MLS) Official and a United States Basketball League (USBL) Official, I saw many games won by one play. Often, that single moment turned the tide of the game and secured victory.
Politics is not entirely different from sports. To use a football analogy: with Donald Trump, you are voting to start a quarterback in the Super Bowl who has never thrown a pass. Why? Because you are tired of interceptions and losses. You are the guy at home who keeps yelling at his TV on Sunday afternoons: “Start a guy from the stands! He’s gotta be better than this guy!!”
Yes, in the far flung possibilities of mathematics, it is possible that the random guy in the mezzanine might actually be better than your quarterback. Trump’s argument is that since he has done all the things to put him in the owner’s box, he should therefore be on the field. Voters believed him. They could have chosen from many more Republican candidates who were, on any logical level, more qualified than Mr. Trump. Voters only have Super Tuesdays, not Super Bowls, but many of those who voted in Republican primaries and conventions decided to start a guy from the stands.
Mr. Trump, you are now the quarterback. Many of my conservative friends want to know your first Supreme Court “play”. Release your selection of who you are going to nominate – so we can determine if your first moment will turn the tide of your administration and secure victory for our country.
As for whether to leave the Republican Party, I think we need to begin by asking a broader question: What do we believe? Do our beliefs lead us to be Republicans, or does the Republican Party lead us to our beliefs?
My support about a “party” is fundamentally tied to ideas: the ideas of freedom, liberty and the rule of law. Freedom is what I personally fought for as a graduate of the Air Force Academy (class of 1988), a combat pilot (Desert Storm) and now the father of two boys in the Army — who represent the fourth consecutive generation of my family to serve in uniform for our country. Liberty is to use our Creator given talents without crushing government intervention. Rule of law is adhering to the original contract with America – the Constitution.
One last thing, which is actually the first thing. Ultimately, my principles are not dictated by Reince Preibus or Donald Trump—they are formed in my heart by my Creator. And that will never change.
Yes, I too want the raccoon problem solved. But I need to know what comes after the problem is solved. Mr. Trump, this is your moment. This is your first play in the big game. We want to support you, but we need to know your Supreme Court pick.
Shak Hill is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.