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The Great Waldo Pepper and Reflections on Trump

The rest of Hollywood should be paying attention to Robert Redford at this moment. The famed director and star of films like “Butch and Sundance” and “The Great Waldo Pepper” was asked at a press conference about President Trump and politics, and he actually offered a very sage perspective, not common in Hollywood.

“Presidents come and go, the pendulum swings back and forth,” Redford said during the press conference kicking off the annual Sundance Film Festival. “We try to stay away from politics, we stay focused on the stories of the filmmakers. There was a time when two sides worked together and that makes me depressed about today.”

I don’t think he’s a fan of Trump, but he’s got the right outlook on politics, which is that this continuing partisanship is destructive, and you should accept that things change and won’t always go your way, a lesson lost today on hordes of protesting liberals and other Trump haters.

I say that as a long-time partisan skirmisher. I’ve been involved in street-level politics since I was 9 years old, and all my experience points to several what I consider truths, one of which is that the Left — by nature — is divisive. What the Right dishes out by and large is defensive.

Most liberals I know won’t even listen to conservatives on many issues. Most conservatives I’ve known would work with liberals gladly if they would just stop whining, throwing tantrums, demanding their way and come to the same table as everyone else like adults open to discussion and compromise.

Why is it that way?

Because the Left in this country has been for at least a hundred years wedded to the theories of Marx and other socialists, who analyze history and current events through the lens of class conflict.

For them, there is no other reality than that people belong in neat little categories, all of which are engaged in a struggle for power. And if they don’t fit neatly into a given box, they will be made to fit, with Procrustean glee. Within that sort of framework, there is no room for actual individual freedom. People are cogs and raw materials for the machine of the state, which is defined falsely in glowing terms as “the people,” but in actuality is just another power elite — “other people” — who feel themselves entitled to tell you how to live, personal rights be damned. “Collective salvation” is the highest goal.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are “bitter clingers” (to borrow a recent Marxist’s description) to the Constitution, the Declaration, America’s founding principles and the facts of history, usually beginning in the Bible, that brought Western civilization to the point of understanding that “all men are created equal” by their Creator, not by any state.

Many historical stumbling blocks America has faced — slavery, not letting women vote, forcing the Indians into reservations, internment of Japanese Americans (and Italian Americans and German Americans, by the way) were the result of entrenched resistance to that simple concept of unalienable, God-given rights expressed in the Declaration. Notably, the originators and biggest defenders of those examples of resistance have most often been liberals.

Liberals still resist the idea today, with some even denying that the Declaration is law. Instead, they propose that rights are the gifts of governments to their people, resting on the unspoken presumption that there is a pre-existing elite qualified to dole out rights.

The motivation for that outlook has become obvious to me over the years, which is simply that liberalism is all about power and the false pride that leads people to believe they are themselves entitled to power, not beholden to God.

So when I say liberal or conservative, know that I’m not speaking merely about who’s registered with which party — there are conservatives in the Democratic Party and liberals in the Republican Party.

Liberalism is about a fundamental philosophy in which there are recognized two kinds of people: those who have power, and those who crave power — the old Marxist bourgeois and proletariat, in other words.

Conservatism, again not partisan — based on party affiliation — but philosophical, is that stream of thought rooted in history that rejects inherited authority of groups and recognizes inherent authority in the hearts and minds of free, thinking individuals, who in turn serve God by serving their fellow man.

Now, like it or not, Trump, by virtue of his position as president, has material power. Whether it will corrupt him as it has corrupted liberals, or whether he will be able to wield that power as a tool for the good of mankind, remains to be seen.

We have finally unloaded eight years of socialist error. Conservatives today, now have a duty to work to keep the Trump Administration on a true, conservative path going forward.

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