By Annie Peterson | Editor, Civil Patriot 

The weather outside is frightful. But the fire—in the fireplace to your right—is so delightful. 

You’ve just settled onto the sofa. You’re wearing your coziest pajamas, your warmest robe, and those plush slippers your daughter bought you last Christmas. There’s a cup of Chamomile tea on the table next to you, and your dachshund is curled up in your lap. It’s a comfy night at home, just the way you like it. As far as you’re concerned the whole world can go away for a while so that you can just relax and enjoy the moment. 

In many ways, that scene is reminiscent of American conservatism in the 80s, 90s, and even parts of the 2000s. We enjoyed our time in the warmth of the fire as Reaganomics made the headlines. We settled into our easy chairs during the Bush Sr. years and smiled as Billy Graham came and went from the White House. Even Desert Storm didn’t halt us because we were all on the same team, fighting a common enemy. Us against them. America against the bad guys. 

Much of what we saw from Washington was comforting. Wasn’t Barbara Bush the sweetest thing ever? Couldn’t you just picture her baking cookies with her grandkids? And weren’t those family photos from Kennebunkport the best? 

Okay, we had to jump through some hoops during those weird Clinton years, but at least we weren’t coming under personal attack. We hadn’t yet lost our First Amendment rights. Bush the son got us through that horrible season of 911, and we almost believed the craziness of the world would level out. 

Then came Obama.
Pause and read that sentence again.
Then came Obama.
And nothing—absolutely nothing—was the same again. Gone were the days of comfy conservatism. Suddenly, everything we said and did was wrong. The narrative began to shift, not in a gentle, workable way, but in a jarring, “What the heck is going on here?” way. We hopscotched from infraction to infraction, unable to do anything right. 

Suddenly, we were all racists.
Suddenly, we were all forced to comply with government healthcare mandates.
Suddenly, the great divide between our two major political parties became as wide as the Gulf of Mexico. 

We were like kids in a swimming pool, fighting to keep our heads above water. We gasped for air and prayed for someone to throw us a life preserver. 

Someone did. A well-to-do businessman descended the golden escalator of Trump Tower with a message on his lips: “Today I’d like to announce that I will be running for President of the United States.” 

Suddenly all was right with the world. Our breathing steading. We released a collective sigh of relief, and all the more when he miraculously took his seat in the Oval Office. 

Well, most of us. Some conservatives pulled out their “Never Trumper” signs and crossed their arms at their chests, defiant. But even they were secretly pleased at many of his policies. 

We watched in awe as he began to actually do what he said he would do. Wow! Did politicians really keep their word? Oh, right. . .he wasn’t a politician.

Just about the time we started to settle in at the fireplace with our tea, the unthinkable happened: Liberals declared war—on him and on us. We should have expected it, of course. We’d experienced a foretaste during the Obama years, after all. Was that nightmare just the warm-up act? Was there more to come? 

We came flying off of the sofa and grabbed our proverbial swords, ready to defend our fearless leader. But, in doing so, we found ourselves labeled.
“Wait, I’m a racist?”
“Wait, I’m a xenophobe?” (I don’t even know what that means!)
“I’m sexist? Really? Do you know me at all?”
“What do you mean I hate LGBTQ people? I’m a lover, not a hater!” 

On and on they went, accusations flying. And the attacks, as well: job losses, censorship, and even loss of friendships. Our children turned on us, our neighbors eyed our American flags with suspicion, and the folks at church were split down the middle on how to handle it all. 

Here’s a hard fact: There’s really only one way to handle a fight, folks. You’ve got to enter the battle. Sitting in your pajamas won’t change the country. It won’t buy anyone’s freedom. The days of comfy conservatism are long gone. So, grab that sword and let’s get going. We’ve got liberties to defend! 

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
Nelson Mandela

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