From the “What the Fuck Took You So Long?” Department, former Representative and current Leftist whipping woman Tulsi Gabbard announced she would be leaving the Democrat Party due to their extreme positions. This, of course, lead Leftists to thoughtfully consider the reasons Gabbard gave for leaving and took some time for personal reflection and introspection.
Just kidding! They lost their shit.
Meanwhile on the other side of the political aisle, Lincoln Project co-founder and batshit crazy Twitter user Steve Schmidt suggested soon-to-be former Representative and current member of the January 6 Debacle…I mean Commission Liz Cheney should run for President in order to put an end to the Make America Great Again movement. Cheney has received the ire of many supporters of President Donald Trump for participating in the January 6 Boondoggle…I mean Commission and for making anti-Trump statements.
And, as expected, many Trump supporters lost their shit.
Aside from the reactions from their respective ideological allies, Gabbard and Cheney share another distinction: they’re being called traitors. As a word guy, I take the term very seriously because it’s an accusation that carries a lot of weight. But right now it’s being tossed around like a football on fall weekends. Unless, of course, the team is more committed to the running game…
Nevertheless, I think we need to take a hard look at how cavalier we’re being with the use of “traitor” to describe politicians who doesn’t conform to what we believe 100%. To put it mildly, it’s a hyperbolic term, the most hyperbolic term of all time! (See what I did there?) Seriously, though, it’s not exactly a word that lends itself to softer interpretations.
Our good friends at Dictionary.com define traitor as follows:
1. a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
2. a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.
Although both definitions are workable, it’s the second one that people tend to gravitate towards because the definition carries a more significant implication. Not that betraying another person, cause, or trust is necessarily a less serious offense, mind you. But when you think about a traitor, your mind is going to go right towards the betrayal of the country.
And that’s where both the Left and Right lose me. By its very nature, politics is polarizing, even more so these days. We’ve gone from being able to respectfully disagree to coming to blows with anyone whose not 1000% on board with one of the major parties. Although a few families have broken up over political differences, the fact it happened in the first place is shocking to me. When you are willing to disavow your flesh and blood in favor of a politician or an ideology that doesn’t give one-millionth of a shit about you, it’s not the sign of a healthy society.
However, it is one of the signs you’re in a cult. And if you really think about it (and I have because there are only so many shows I can binge on Netflix these days), today’s political environment is cultish, as both Gabbard and Cheney have found out recently. And since they dared to…I can scarcely say the words…think for themselves, the Democult and Republicult have unleashed their anger and more than a few charged words.
But Gabbard and Cheney aren’t traitors to anything but the cults from which they associated, and even then it can be argued in both cases the cults left them. Regardless, calling them traitors throws a millstone around their necks designed to un-person them, making it easier to disregard what they have to say. To the faithful, it’s righteous justice. To the rest of us, it’s bullshit.
And if recent polling data is any indication, it’s political suicide (and not in Minecraft). Although the link I provided shows the data was last gathered in September 2022, it still shows people identify as Independents far more than they identify as Democrats or Republicans. Although the party they lean towards shifts on a regular basis, the fact remains the middle holds more sway than either extreme.
And guess who might just sit out elections by being called traitors.
The growing dissatisfaction with Democrats and Republicans as they are now is fueling a movement of self-reflection and self-determination. There’s a reason #WalkAway was and remains a thing (and why Democrats and Leftists in particular have tried to make it not be a thing). There’s a reason both major parties really don’t want potential voters to reject the two-party mindset: there are more of us than there are of them.
And that scares the absolute shit out of them.
Although I disagree with Tulsi Gabbard and Liz Cheney on various issues, I don’t see them as as any less of an American for it. The strongest patriots aren’t the ones who dig in and won’t be moved, but rather the ones who are willing to reach across ideological divides to find common ground. In other words, to disagree without being disagreeable.
The first major party to realize this will reap electoral benefits beyond their wildest expectations. Given how the Left is nuttier than elephant shit these days, it’s more likely the Right will figure it out and move towards it…provided they’re not as elephant-shit nuts as the Left is.
In the meantime, I make a humble request: save the “traitor” label for those who have betrayed the country, not just an ideology or a political party. If that’s too much of an ask, that’s fine. I won’t think any less of you. I’ll just know not to expect a Christmas card this year.