A decade ago, my political life began quite by accident when I, a humble life science student at U of T, was drafted into the CPC’s Federal Internship Program, Class of 2006. I did not have the first clue about Canadian politics when I was hired. I had, however, helped to plan and organize the first and only “Know Radical Islam” Week at U of T at a time when Danish embassies were being burned down, and I did know five or six useful things about how to get Jews to vote Conservative.
Because of this I had no prior associations with Red Tories, Blue Tories, PC’s, Alliance folks, libertarians, so-cons, or any other faction who (as I quickly learned) spent far more time “defining” themselves in opposition to these other groups - whom they hated far more than the Liberals - than they did working for the cause. Every single one of them were convinced that:
- a) They were right
- b) The “other guys” were NOT conservatives and responsible for everything that was wrong and needed to be “excommunicated”, brutally and without mercy, from the conservative family
- c) Someone else with power - Stephen Harper, perhaps - was responsible for planning, directing and organizing this War of Purification against these vile non-conservatives- unless, of course, the non-conservatives had gotten to him already, or he was one of them
Soon I began to realize that lots of “conservatives” did little else besides fantasizing about purging the party of those they disagreed with - well, that and coming up with reasons why they couldn’t do any purging just now. Then I realized that conservatives spent so much time beating on each other because the left totally controlled the discourse and this is all the right had left.
So excuse me if I’m not exactly captivated by the latest round in this very, very old fight between establishment conservatives and powerless dissidents. Am I supposed to be impressed that outsiders have stopped labelling the establishment as RINOs, TINOs, and CINOs and have started calling them “cuckservatives?” When George F. Will writes that Donald Trump and his supporters need to be kicked out of the conservative movement, am I really expected to feel anything else other than “Here we go again?”
The Republican Party/CPC/PC Party of Ontario/whoever needs the dissidents because the dissidents still vote, donate, volunteer and, if all else fails, talk about conservative stuff and keep it semi-relevant, and the dissidents need the establishment because they define themselves so completely by being anti-establishment that they wouldn’t know what to do if the party establishment went away tomorrow.
It’s a visibly dysfunctional codependent relationship that makes for great comedy but doesn’t exactly inspire people to get involved. Which is the worst part about the whole thing: Voters are not at all interested in which faction holds power. Why should they? They have no stake in this fight. None of this is done for the benefit of anyone outside the fold.
Now I am not quite so stupid and naïve as I was 10 years ago, so I’m not going to do what I would have done then and appeal to both sides to stop fighting each other and unite against the common enemy. The best I can hope for is that somebody actually makes good on their talk, wipes the conservative slate clean and starts forcibly converting everyone around them to their point of view. That’s the only way I can really see conservatives taking back the discourse, and while it may not be morally or legally justifiable, it’ll at least be a change of pace.
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