It’s been building, but over the past few days, especially, those on the right who are Trump-leaning (or at least Trump-curious) have been pushing lines and rhetoric that, as somebody who agrees with much of what they say much of the time, I find disconcerting.
For example, Ann Coulter — the not-so-affable Eva Braun for Donald Trump — says Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and Republican presidential Ted Cruz are “traitors.” Then there’s Gateway Pundit’s clipped and slowed evidence supposedly showing that Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, never “even bumped” reporter Michelle Fields. The videos actually support her allegations and show that Lewandowski and Trump have been pushing a lie as they’ve simultaneously attempted a Clintonian smear of Fields.
The latest example is the Drudge Report’s picking up a left-wing lie that Cruz took the stage at the recent National Religious Liberties Conference right after Kevin Swanson “call[ed] for the execution of gays.” As I explained on Twitter, I don’t like Swanson’s style, his rhetoric leaves much to be desired, and (from my limited experience with his work) I suspect I differ significantly in my theology, but the extended clip from Swanson’s speech shows that he explicitly stated that he is not calling for the execution of gays and, moreover, that he told the audience that heterosexual sinfulness with adultery and pornography addiction is not much different at all from the sins of homosexuals and we should hope and strive for the sinful to repent and thereby avoid eternal damnation.
Indeed, even that extended clip (also from a left-wing source) is abbreviated, and the way it starts with the word “yes” suggests that Swanson’s entire spiel may have been intended to explain why Biblical passages regarding homosexuality shouldn’t be taken as a mandate for Old Testament prescriptions in the modern era. To be sure, he doesn’t disclaim the entire Bible in order to make his case, but that shouldn’t be a problem outside of the fevered secularist Left.
I fear that parts of the American Right are becoming like Boromir in Lord of the Rings, when he attempted to grab the Ring of Power from Frodo… but only to use it for a little while and in the service of good. J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel makes clear a point that conservatives have generally understood: An aggressive lust for strength and power is natural, but its emergence should be taken as a warning sign that something is amiss.
Something is definitely amiss with Donald Trump’s charge into politics if conservatives are losing sight of that lesson.