To all the people who let the 2016 election break up families and friends, let this sink in:
I think the last civil conversations we had occurred just days before Nov. 8, 2016. You were supremely confident Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election; you voted for her with glee. As a lifelong Republican voter, I bit down hard and cast my vote for Donald Trump. Then the unimaginable happened. He won.
And you lost your freaking minds, classifying all who voted Trump as a racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic Nazi-sympathizer.
The weirdness started on social media late on Election Night and despite living a privileged lifestyle, you were suddenly a casualty of the white patriarchy. Your daughters were future victims; your sons were predators-in-waiting. You threatened to leave Facebook because you could no longer enjoy the family photos or vacation posts from people who, once friends, became literal Hitlers to you on Nov. 8 because they voted for Donald Trump.
On Nov. 9, you awoke from a self-induced, eight-year-long political coma to find that White House press secretaries shade the truth and top presidential advisors run political cover for their boss. You were shocked to discover that presidents exaggerate, even lie, on occasion. You became interested for the first time about the travel accommodations, office expenses, and lobbyist pals of administration officials. You started counting how many rounds of golf the president played. You suddenly thought it was fine to mock the first lady now that she wasn’t Michelle Obama. Champoins for Woman? You made fun of Kellyanne Conway’s hair, Sarah Sanders’s weight, Melania Trump’s shoes, Hope Hicks’ death stare; you helped fuel a rumor that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slept with Donald Trump. You thought it was A-OK that Betsy DeVos was nearly physically assaulted and routinely heckled.
You have learned all kinds of new things that those of us who didn’t willfully ignore politics for the past eight years already knew. For example, we already knew that illegal immigrants were being deported and families were being separated. Some of your behavior has been kinda cute. It was endearing to watch you become experts on the Logan Act, the Hatch Act, the Second Amendment, the 25th Amendment, and the Emoluments Clause.
Classified emails shared by Hillary Clinton? Who cares! Devin Nunes wanting to declassify crucial information of the public interest? Traitor!
But your newfound admiration and fealty to law enforcement really has been a fascinating transformation. You now sound like paid spokesmen for the Fraternal Order of Police. You insist that any legitimate criticism of the misconduct and possibile criminality that occurred at the Justice Department and FBI is an “attack on law enforcement.” While you once opposed the Patriot Act because it might have allowed the federal government to spy on terrorists who were using the local library to learn how to make suitcase bombs, you now fully support the unchecked power of a secret court to look into the phone calls, text messages and emails of an American citizen because he volunteered for the Trump campaign for a few months.
Spying on terrorists, circa 2002: Bad. Spying on Carter Page, circa 2017: The highest form of patriotism. And that white, male patriarchy that you were convinced would strip away basic rights and silence any opposition after Trump won? That fear has apparently been washed away as you hang on every word uttered by James Comey, John Brennan, and James Clapper. This triumvirate is exhibit “A” of the old-boy network.
After Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel, you were absolutely convinced it would result in Trump’s arrest and/or impeachment and for the past year, I have watched you obsess over a rotating cast of characters: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Carter Page, Reince Priebus, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sam Nunberg, and Hope Hicks are just a few of the people you thought would turn on Trump or hasten his political demise. But when those fantasies didn’t come true, you turned to Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels for hope and inspiration. It will always be your low point. Well, I think it will be. Each time I believe you’ve hit bottom, you come up with a new baseline. Perhaps defending the unprecedented use of federal power to spy on political foes then lie about it will be the next nail in your credibility coffin. The next several weeks will be tough for you. I think Americans will learn some very hard truths about what happened in the previous administration and how we purposely have been misled by powerful leaders and the news media. I wish I could see you as a victim here, but you are not. I know you are smart; you chose to support this insurgency with your eyes wide open.
Dale Morvaji is a resident of Destin.