Legacies and Knotted Knickers

Perhaps my knickers are knotted even tighter than usual today. I had a phone conversation with a dear friend the other day. We’re planning on having lunch together this coming week.

My friend, my running-buddy of some three decades is my mirror image, right down to our flaming red hair and fiery dispositions. Her father was a well known GOP legislator many moons ago, and, as she is oft fond of saying, she was “born to be a Republican”. We met while we were both working in radio, and instantly hit it off. Friendship solidified by the passing of time, we stood shoulder to shoulder on the battlefield of ideas in the early days of the Tea Party.

We went to precinct meetings, attended caucuses, and we were in attendance at the state convention where the sheer number of first time TP activists visibly shocked the “old guard” who’d planned to have a three day romp while installing their mushy moderate candidates.

Most of Tea Partiers we managed to get on the ballot that year went down in defeat – partly because of GOPe chicanery and partly because, in our enthusiasm to get non-establishment candidates, we failed to vet our picks properly. But we learned. The Tea Party learned. While there have still been some TP favorites who have been less than solid; we’ve had some rousing successes as well.

We knew, as many do, that change comes incrementally. And must always come from within to be long lasting.

Several years ago, my friend was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She underwent stem-cell therapy and chemotherapy. Her flaming red hair was gone. Her strength was sapped. But, after that nightmare was over, the disease was blissfully in remission.

Until a few months ago. It returned. With a vengeance. Her doctors said another round of treatment would, at best, slow it down – but a cure would not be forthcoming.

Mr friend, my soul-sister, my running buddy said “thanks, but no thanks” and has opted to spend what little time she has left in the care of hospice – her flaming red hair has returned. Her strength which had reappeared is now waning for the last time.

And yet, in our conversation, very little time was spent talking about her imminent passing, save her revelation that “at least I won’t be around to see what Trump will eventually do” to her beloved GOP. The GOP we’ve been fighting to change from within for years.

As I write this, the funeral for Justice Antonin Scalia is being held. One of the most solid constitutionally grounded jurists in my lifetime is being laid to rest. Justice Scalia’s opinions were not always the majority, and his dissents were legendary. Even though “his side” did not always prevail, he never gave up his ardent love of fundamental law. And the opinions he wrote for the majority reflected his knowledge and reverence for the Constitution. His passing left a void on the Supreme Court and brought home even more starkly the critical importance of the elections this year.

The other happening of note at this moment is the primary election in South Carolina. It’s no secret that I am of the opinion that Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster if he gains any more steam in this process. Since SC is an “open” primary (voters from the other party can cast ballots in the GOP race), and since a large swath of the Donald’s “support” comes from, shall we say, people who are decidedly not conservative – I can only guess how the final vote tally will turn out.

And, sadly, I’m seeing a candidate who has not been vetted – or worse, a candidate whose rabid supporters refuse to acknowledge any vetting that is being done on him. A candidate that has an ardent love of himself – not fundamental law (unless he can use that law for his benefit). A candidate that could care less about the constitution and whose “eloquence” is limited to profanity laced screeds at his opponents.

But I am struck by the thought that the legacies of two solid conservatives, my friend and Scalia, are in peril during this primary season.

No matter the outcome of South Carolina, I fully intend to have a decadent, long, bittersweet lunch with my buddy this week. As soon as I can get my knickers unknotted.

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