An Open Letter to Conservatives — from one of your own

Rick Fuller
15 min readJan 21, 2021

It’s hard to be a Conservative sometimes. This is one of those times, and in reflecting on the status and future of the Republican Party, I think things are only going to get worse. The Republican Party and conservative values seem to be standing on a vast and crumbling precipice.

And, it’s all our own fault.

I’m a right-leaning centrist who was raised with conservative values. Not only do I like the things typically associated with conservatism, I like the idea of those things. I love the Second Amendment. I love the concepts of duty, patriotism, and love of God and Country. I love the idea of teaching our children and our grandchildren how to shoot guns, how to hunt, how to split wood, and how to farm. I like the idea of an honest day’s work for an honest buck. And, even though I’ve personally stepped away from nearly all of these conservative fundamentalisms, my heart and my soul are still instilled in their conceptions.

Nearly half the country holds the values I’ve mentioned above, and yet, these values, this way of life is in big trouble. It’s dying, and that impending death can be easily traced to just one person.

Donald Trump.

Now, I will accept that it’s possible that many conservative values were doomed for history’s scrap heap of failed ideals even without the influence of Donald Trump. The evolution of humanity is something that can be fought only in vain, and conservatives seem to be uniquely adept at disregarding this truism. Traditionalist notions that marriage is a covenant between God, a man, and a woman, or that a woman’s right to choose is nullified by creationism, or that America is divinely inspired and protected are all very clearly destined to fail. And conservatives seem very loathe to accept the defeat of these “ideals.” The rigidity of this type of thinking was always going to be a problem for the Republican party. These ideas are just simply not compatible with an evolving society. One need only look to Islam, a religion that is a bastion of ultra-conservatism doomed for failure, to see the bleak future of conservative Christianity. Those Imams who propagate Muslim fundamentalist ideas such as the stoning of rape victims, forced marriage, and death to infidels and sodomites are appropriately the targets of unremittent scorn and derision, and they’re not that far behind, evolutionarily speaking, ultra-conservative Christians.

So, Trump doesn’t necessarily hold full responsibility for the downfall of the Republican party, however, his elevation to the highest office in the land will almost certainly be viewed by historians as an accelerant to our inevitable fall.

When Donald Trump stormed into politics in the 2016 elections, he seemed to be a compelling and enticing alternative to the stuffed-shirt candidates normally thrown to the top of the Republican ticket. Trump held many conservative values such as strict border control and immigration policies, a strong military, a vocal opposition to appeasement of aggressive world leaders, and a deep respect for law and order. He showed strength and conviction in his values, both good and bad, he unhesitantly tossed aside traditional notions of presidentialism and decorum. At the same time, he seemed to be somewhat a centrist on liberal ideals like gay rights and abortion. He promised to “Drain the Swamp,” and to “Make America Great Again,” slogans that were objectively amazing from a marketing perspective, even if they were lacking in substance. The tempering appointment of the more conservative traditionalist Mike Pence to the ticket, along with the anointment of arguably the most irredeemably flawed and despicable candidate to ever ascend to the top of the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton, made a Trump presidency an assurance.

And, like nearly half the country, I voted for him. I believed in him. I bought in to the enticing idea of a magnanimous and benevolent billionaire who would make decisions that would be for the good of the country, decisions that were business-oriented, immune to the malignant influence of corporate and foreign lobbyists. There were warning signs…plenty of them, and though I had some deep concerns, I was desperate for a candidate who was outside of the establishment, shunned even by that very establishment, and one who was quite vocal about fighting the status quo and stoppering the whirlpool of decrepit swill that Washington politics had become. Like so many of you, I hoped for change and eagerly anticipated the draining of the swamp. And, like so many of you, I was disgusted by the end result. The grifting conman, the charlatan who showed up to the pillar of democracy flashing a beautifully enticing game of three-card monte and convinced us to wager our dignity, our respect, and our future.

The Donald Trump presidency will be remembered as a massive failure, quite possibly the worst presidency in history. Right up until the election in November, Trump had a chance to cement a decent legacy. Liberals will not agree, of course, because they’re blinded by their hatred of the man they call, “The Orange Buffoon,” but Trump actually accomplished some great things in his presidency. For starters, he kept us out of any new wars, and even ended or greatly reduced the engagements of current wars, and this is something that none of his predecessors for the last few decades can lay claim to. He was successful in implementing criminal justice reform, softening the Justice Department’s stand on drug enforcement, tightening and shoring up illegal immigration, strengthening our borders, and rebuilding and refurbishing our military. However, these accomplishments will eventually be forgotten by the categorical disgrace of the last few months of his presidency.

When Trump lost the election to Biden and immediately declared that there was massive fraud, it was a first step in a dangerous direction, but not surprising in any way. He had been saying and implying for years that he would not accept a loss, and that the only way he could ever lose the election would be due to massive voter fraud. His legal team would go on to file sixty-five lawsuits trying to overturn the election. They would lose sixty-four of those cases, their one victory being overturned by the appeals court and affirmed by the state supreme court. Along the way, Trump would claim that the losses didn’t matter, that losses were necessary in order for the cases to reach the United States Supreme Court where he would win a massive victory. With six of the nine USSC Justices conservatives, three of whom were appointed by Trump himself, this didn’t seem like an impossible goal. Trump’s attorneys, consisting of a powerhouse of far-right lunatics like Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani, made numerous overtures that they were privy to a secret horde of stunning evidence of wrong-doing, information that would shock the world and prove that Donald Trump was the actual victor. Sidney Powell went so far as to state that she was getting ready to, “release the Kraken,” indicating she was in possession of irrefutable evidence the magnitude of which would forever tarnish the Democratic party and completely vindicate Donald Trump.

Cue the crickets.

She went on to make unfounded and easily refutable claims that the voting machines were rigged by their builders, Dominion Voting Systems, which, she claimed, was founded in Venezuela to rig votes for Hugo Chavez. Her further claims that Dominion bribed the Georgia Governor and Secretary of State (both Republicans) landed her with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit.

Lin Wood has claimed that Georgia Governor Kemp and SecState Raffensperger colluded and conspired with the Chinese to rig the vote for Joe Biden. He called for their imprisonment, claiming that a secret cabal of international communists, Chinese intelligence agents, and rogue Republican “never Trumper” officials contrived to steal the election from Trump whom he claims garnered a full 70% of the popular vote. Just a month ago, Wood claimed that SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts was involved in the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, that Roberts was a child trafficker, and that Jeffrey Epstein — who he says is still alive — can confirm all of these facts. After January 6th, when Vice President Pence certified the election results, Wood called him a child molester and called for his execution. (These comments have since been removed by Parler where they were posted.)

Why do I have to even mention these formerly fringe lunatics? Because the President of the United States listens to these dangerous fools. He believes them, encourages them, and supports them. And that fact alone is incredibly scary.

No evidence was ever presented to any court in any state that even remotely approached proof or even that of the low bar of reasonable doubt of voter fraud or election tampering. Zero credible evidence–not a shred–was ever presented, despite the pompous blustering of Trump’s high-priced legal eagles. The Supreme Court went so far as to refuse to even hear the cases, so lacking in merit that they were. In a 7–2 decision nonetheless, where the two dissenting judges, Thomas and Alito only dissented because they thought the case should have at least been allowed to be filed. Even in their dissent, they stated they would have rejected the claims and granted no relief had they heard the arguments. It was a resounding defeat of epic proportions. And this from the most conservative SCOTUS in more than 70 years!

And still, Trump carried on, shouting from every virtual and electronic rooftop that he had been wronged and defrauded, that he had won the election “by a landslide,” and that the Democrats had stolen it from him. He tweeted the following after the Supreme Court decision:

“The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom! No Courage!”

Tweet after Tweet after Tweet followed, with Trump begging anybody to act illegally and find a way to overturn the results of the election. Vicious attacks against former supporters followed, and he continued his Twitter rampage by making hundreds of unfounded accusations and by repeatedly, maliciously, and intentionally lying over and over and over to the American people and to his supporters.

And, many of them started to believe it all.

If you’re one of those who fell for his con, it’s okay. It’s kind of hard to blame you. Many of you believe that Trump was anointed by God, and that his victory was actually prophesied. And if that’s true, then how else could he have lost other than the devil stepping in to interfere? The devil in this case is, of course, the Democrats. If you think I’m maybe just talking about a few fringe right-wing lunatics, I’m sorry to inform you that this is a movement in the Right that is frighteningly large, and growing. People like Anna Khait with 300,000 Twitter followers, Matt Couch with 500,000, and Jack Posobiec with over a million are preaching this and other far right nonsense to their wide audiences. Anna Khait, as I write this today, has just indicated that Trump is STILL GOING TO WIN THE ELECTION AND BE INAUGURATED TOMORROW BECAUSE GOD HAS DECLARED THIS TO BE A CERTAINTY! Her tweets have had tens of thousands of likes and thousands of retweets reaching many times her actual Twitter follower count. (Which dropped by about 50,000 after the Twitter purges last week.) Memes and images like this one are making the rounds of Twitter, being shared and retweeted over and over:

The very idea that Donald Trump is such a paragon of virtue that he is God’s chosen representative to lead the United States for two terms is so beyond comprehension that it leaves me flabbergasted. Donald Trump is, in the words of Sam Harris, “a walking bundle of sin and gore.” He’s uncouth, immoral, vain, arrogant, and a dozen other adjectives that embody the very definition of sinner. How he became the true north of the Far Right will be forever beyond my grasp.

I’ve often been worried that by voting for Democrats I’m aligning myself with the party that contains what I’ve always considered to be the most dangerous fringe group in the country, the Radical Left. People like Representative AOC who claimed that looters during the BLM riots simply wanted loaves of bread to feed their families, and Representative Ayanna Pressley who claimed that GOP congressmen who didn’t wear a mask were committing chemical warfare. The party of those who believe in diversity of all types save opinion, where intolerance reigns supreme and Cancel Culture via Critical Race Theory is the guiding light. The party that gave power to the fringe and fraudulent group, Black Lives Matter, and gave Antifa permission to rouse the rioters. The party that was just fine with mob violence until it arrived on their doorstep, spearheaded by conservatives. The party that has an insatiable appetite for division and violence — provided such violence meets its unilateral objectives. This element of the left is disgusting and frightening. However, after seeing the awakening and rising of the Quacks of the Fringe Right, I’m far more terrified of them. Raving lunatics like the attorney, Brian, who had tens of thousands of followers before Twitter finally yanked his account, who believed that Trump’s Space Force was going to activate a satellite on inauguration day and black out all communications so security forces could arrest every democrat in Washington D.C. are reigning disinformation upon feeble-minded conservatives, and they’re attracting followers in droves. QAnon and OAN driven fake news is being sourced by millions as of higher worth than true, legitimate news agencies.

These quacks of the far right are the truly scary ones. It would seem to be a no-brainer to disavow and suppress these people, yet mainstream Republicans have capitulated to them — and to their Supreme Leader, Donald Trump — at unfathomable levels.

It’s okay if you voted for Trump in 2016. It’s even okay if you voted for him in 2020, in spite of the woke telling you it’s not. We have reasons for voting the way we do. Maybe you didn’t like Joe Biden, or you believed he’s in cognitive decline. Maybe you’re sick of the left and their judgmental condemnations of all dissenting opinions. Maybe you’re afraid of leftist policies and higher taxes. If you voted for Trump, you had a reason, and that’s perfectly okay. But if you’re not at least a little bit relieved that he didn’t win, if you’re not at least a little bit glad that we won’t have an objectively dangerous and divisive lunatic at the head of the most powerful country on Earth, then you’re in a cult, unable to see through the fog that surrounds you.

Donald Trump has made a concerted effort to overthrow our democracy and burn our Constitution. There are reports that he had Oval Office meetings in the last few weeks where he considered declaring Martial Law in an effort to stop the Biden inauguration. His call to the State of Georgia trying to get them to find enough votes to give him a victory was almost certainly a violation of the law. His efforts to get Mike Pence to withhold certification of the votes in Congress, and his turning on Pence and calling him a coward when Pence refused to violate his constitutional mandate were reprehensible, unforgiveable, and beyond the pale. He is an insurrectionist by any definition of the term, and that alone is enough reason for us conservatives to band together in disgust and outrage and to disavow this man forever.

Trump throwing his own Vice President to the angry mob

What do we stand for as Americans in our current environment? What do we stand for as conservatives, as Republicans, as decent humans with our current belief system? Trump has desecrated our entire system of government. He sent a mob to the Capitol armed with months of lies and misinformation. The sitting President of the United States inflamed a mob of his supporters and sent them storming down Constitution Avenue as insurrectionists to disrupt the democratic process and the certifying of the vote of an election that he lost. What does that say about our democracy? What does that say to the enemies and detractors of democracy in communist countries? What does it say to suppressed people globally who might one day wish to fight for their own freedom, and might look to democracy and to the United States as an answer?

On January 6th, a shirtless Viking, a tactical guerilla with a bundle of flex cuffs, an Auschwitz emblazoned cast-off from Orange County Choppers, and a Confederate flag-waving suppressionist stalked the hallowed halls of the seat of our democracy hunting down the Vice President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives like some crazed, Stephen King inspired, dystopian version of The Village People, and the President of the United States implicitly and explicitly encouraged and supported this. You can sit and rightfully make claims of the left’s hypocrisy, but you can’t compare these acts to the degeneration of a BLM protest that resulted in the looting and burning of retail stores. This was completely different. This was an inspired, driven, and meticulously planned assault on our democracy and our constitution. This was an act of insurrection. It was an act of war, perpetrated on the American people by the President of the United States.

This was premeditated in every definition of the word. For years, Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. On at least half a dozen occasions he flat-out said that the only way he could lose the election of 2020 would be through fraud. He verbally freerolled his way to this result in a meticulously planned operation. He knew that his words held power and sway over his legion of cultists in a way perhaps never before seen in the history of our democracy. And he never backed down, he never swayed in his insistency that it was impossible for him to lose legitimately despite losing every court case. The court record alone is a thoroughly resounding quashing of any insinuation of fraud and impropriety, and yet, his cult remains entranced by his lies, his deceit, and his rhetoric. If you think that Twitter was wrong to revoke the platform he used to inspire this insurrectionist, seditious mob of lunatics, then you’re just not thinking this through. With tens of millions of rabid followers who believe his every word, many of whom are knowingly deranged, he has intentionally destabilized our society for years now. Trump used Twitter to summon a mob of his followers to Washington D.C. on January 6th, and then he inflamed them and turned them loose. The ramifications of Trump’s continued access to such a powerful platform are unthinkably severe.

The lies that Trump has disseminated and the poison that he has spread will long outlive him. Trump is maybe the kind of guy you want to hang out with. Have at your hunting camp. Shoot a game of pool and drink whiskey with. Have over to your private island filled with underage girls. He’s Bill Clinton after a traumatic brain injury. But there has never been a man so ill-suited to serve as President of the United States.

According to this new poll by the Pew Research Center, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters want to see Trump remain a major political figure for many years to come. You have got to be out of your mind, Republicans. Whatever level of conviction you’re going to hold to your values, it has to be clear at this point that Trump is not the standard-bearer of your way of life. Unless you’re a billionaire who wants to play golf 250 days a year, Donald Trump cannot be the man to whom you will pin your hopes, your dreams, and your future. He will be the death of the Republican party, and like an apocalyptic King Midas, anything he touches will be forever inundated with his putrid stank.

We should want Trump to be convicted in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial. Otherwise he will permanently rend apart the Republican party. Should he run again in 2024 and lose in the primaries, there is literally nothing in the history of his life, or his term in office that would indicate he will take that loss gracefully and fade silently into the night. Among allegations of further voter fraud and tampering by the RNC, he will surely splinter the GOP and strike out as an independent, a move that will assure a fractured base of conservatives for decades to come. The future of the Republican party depends on Trump disappearing from the limelight forever.

Conservatives created the monster that is Donald Trump. And then we lost control of that monster. We have been manipulated by a madman, a cretin of the most vile kind. It’s up to us to reign him in by disavowing him, by admitting that we were wrong, and by accepting the punishment that is Democratic governance of our country for the foreseeable future. We took our chance, loaded up on the pass line, and rolled snake eyes. And now, the marker has come due, and it’s time to pay it with a smile on our faces. Tomorrow, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Donald Trump will be at his home in Florida when it happens, his petty, petulant vindictiveness shining through brightly in his refusal to meet Biden at the White House and welcome him to his new home like tradition and civility demands. Trump is a disgusting human being, and it’s time we rise up and make sure that America knows that we acknowledge it.

Our country is shattered. Our division has never been wider. It’s up to us to bring it back. On our current trajectory, we are headed toward civil war, and that serves no greater good.