Party Crashers

By: George Coyoy

Picture yourself throwing a party. You want to throw a great party because bad parties always end up looking like an episode of ‘King of the Hill’ – a bunch of guys standing around drinking beer, spitting and talking about carburetors. Having been around the block once or twice before you’re also experienced enough to know that you don’t want to throw a complete barn burner, so an open house party is off the table. Open house parties are the prog rock of parties – they’re an incoherent mess. They only lead to broken property, sketchy weirdos, and inexplicable stains everywhere. Better to let the high school kids deal with all that, so the plan is to invite your inner circle and allow them to bring guests. The only caveat is that permission for each guest must be granted before the invitation is extended. You’re pretty liberal about whose invitation you approve, as this policy is more about keeping out certain periphery troublemakers you know will ruin the party. You know the type – the trashy guys who start fights, those who are rude, or those who are just plain weird and won’t fit in well. You know who they are and you don’t want them to ruin your party, so you implement this vetting strategy. Your guests all comply with your wishes – though with some mild protest – and run potential guests by you before extending any invitations. You approve of almost all of the requests made and continue planning.

The night of the party comes and all seems to be going well. You’re on fire as a host – people are laughing at your jokes, everyone seems to be thoroughly entertained, and the general energy of the party is positive. At some point, however, party crashers come and change the entire dynamic of the night. Those trashy guys you didn’t want showing up come in and inject themselves into the party as if they were invited guests. Even worse, some didn’t bring any beer or liquor. By the time you’ve noticed them it looks like they have been there for a while and have settled into the party. To be sure, some of these party crashers are fine, in fact, a majority of them are. One even brought two 18-packs of Modelo. You know all of these people and, generally, you would have no problem inviting some of them as one-offs to the party. The problem with inviting them to the party was always that they would bring with them a small crowd that is capable of doing big damage, a small crowd that is now a big part of your party. As you ponder your next move you realize that you will either have to confront them now and ask them to leave or allow them to stay, risking that they behave poorly, as you expect they will, or that other crashers now have an excuse to come to your party.

The politics of asking the party crashers to leave quickly dawns on you. Some of your guests actually like them and mildly protested your decision not to invite them from the beginning. Asking the crashers to leave would single them out and punish the entire group, despite the fact that some of the people in that group are decent and would have been invited had they not been so close with the more volatile crashers. Other guests are clearly annoyed by them and could decide to leave the party early should this continue, leaving you with a bunch of people you don’t like at your own party. It is obvious that your decision will prove divisive no matter what you do, meaning this situation now requires more analysis than you hoped it would – after all, you just want to party! As host, however, decisions must be made meaning consequences must be weighed.

In Hippie Utopia this would be an open house party and all would come in peace, having the night of their lives while indulging their deepest inhibitions without consequence. Unfortunately, Hippie Utopia doesn’t exist and thus whatever you decide will have consequences. Asking the crashers to leave could escalate into confrontation or worse, and would certainly upset some of your guests. Ignoring the problem tacitly declares the party to be an open house party, giving any and all who want to invite other people a legitimate argument moving forward. “They weren’t invited but they came anyway,” the argument would go. “So why can’t we invite who we want to invite?” After all, all of the guests were told that anyone they invited had to be pre-approved. Allowing the crashers to stay is signaling to all in attendance that this is no longer an invite-only event. Once that word gets out it’s likely a cascade of uninvited guests will show up and this party will descend into the chaotic mess you wanted to avoid. It is easy to see how different partygoers will take different sides, only further complicating the matter and making the decision all the more difficult over time. Despite this fact you realize that the rhetoric is rapidly escalating, meaning it is better to make a decision now than allow the decision to become more controversial later. For whatever reason, however, you go against your better judgment and do nothing.

Let us now assume that the small group of party crashers you knew were potentially problematic actually become problematic. They’re being rude and overly aggressive as you thought they would. They’re instigating stupid arguments and threatening fights. They’re disrespecting all of the rules of the house, such as going into rooms that are off limits and raiding the refrigerator. One guy is smoking cigarettes inside. Allowing them to break the initial rule of coming in uninvited emboldened them to do whatever they want and you now have to deal with it. You finally make your decision. You make what is, in your mind, a reasonable bargain and say that the group of troublemakers must leave, but the uninvited guests who are being respectable and pleasant can stay. Especially the guy who brought the Modelos. You’ve made your decision and with a show of strength you successfully kick the jerks out.

This proves to be controversial amongst some of your guests. “Don’t you know that they have nowhere to go?” they claim. “It wasn’t their fault they were acting that way, it’s yours for upsetting them in the first place by not inviting them!” When you point out that only the troublemakers were kicked out and not those who crashed but did not cause any trouble, the Party Crasher Activists double down. “You’re separating them from their friends and dividing people! That’s so messed up!” The idea that these party crashers wouldn’t have been separated had they 1) not come in the first place and 2) not behaved like total jerks once here doesn’t click with these few guests, for whatever reason. Most guests agree with your decision to throw out the party crasher jerks and would probably agree with kicking out those who crashed but are being decent. They, however, stay silent as they would rather not be berated by the obnoxious, sanctimonious Party Crasher Activists. The few who take issue with your decision are being dramatic, staining the party with their incessant screeching and whining. You do your best to ignore it and, eventually, you and your other sane guests are able to separate from the drama and enjoy yourselves again. Even better, you’re able to do so drinking Modelo.

Shortly thereafter the jerks come back. They re-enter the party, now with loud defenders applauding their decision to boldly enter the party from which they were just expelled. “They have a right to be here!” claim the Party Crasher Activists. “Excluding people like this is wrong! Why should you have the right to decide who gets to party and who doesn’t?” Sovereignty over who can and cannot enter your own property is apparently a foreign concept to the Party Crasher Activists. As such, the situation has escalated to the point where your party is ruined. It is pure madness. “WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!?!” one guy screams. Bless his stupid little heart. This sentiment is, of course, pure pablum but it doesn’t matter. Empty vessels love pablum and, as such, he is rewarded with applauds and praise. The Party Crasher Activists don’t understand why we can’t all just get along, never realizing that everyone was getting along just fine before the party crashers crashed your party. The guests who agree with you look at you and you just shrug. There is nothing left to do but end the party. The inmates are now running the asylum.

So your party failed. Miserably. The only positive is that you have some Modelos left. The party was still a failure though. You had a plan as to who you would let in and who you would keep out but, like flies and mosquitos, those you wanted to keep out found a way in. Not only did they crash your party but the volatile few ruined everything for everyone, just as you thought they would. Moreover, despite the majority of party crashers being decent party guests, the decent majority was ultimately irrelevant. The effect of the volatile few proved to be too much to overcome; they had driven too much of a wedge between the entire party to keep a decent party sustainable. They ignored the invite-only status of your party, they ignored the rules of the house after ignoring your party’s invite-only status, and then they came in and ruined everyone’s experience. The crashers were all-around disrespectful from the beginning and, thanks to your inaction and the inexplicable support they garnered from some of your guests, continued to disrespect you, your house, and your guests. So, again, the decent majority was completely irrelevant. All things considered my question to you is this: how would you have handled this situation?

If this is my party? I don’t hesitate in telling them to leave. Not asking. Not hinting. Telling. As soon as I see them they’re all gone. Except Modelo guy, of course. If the situation escalates, it escalates. If my guests are upset, then they’re upset. If they’re truly upset then they’re also are free to leave. A line must be drawn, however, and if one is to draw a line it should be the line that communicates that one will not be disrespected and that breaking one’s rules has consequences. Every single party crasher disrespected me by crashing my party. Every single crasher was essentially flipping the invite-only status of my party the bird by entering my party. The presence of each and every single party crasher was a massive, aggressively flipped bird pointed directly at me for every second they spent at my party. I don’t know about you, but I don’t take disrespect well.

Perhaps what I can ultimately take away from the experience is that I can afford to be a little more lax in my party invitation policies moving forward. Perhaps they were a bit too rigid and unfairly kept people who were good party guests out of the party. Especially Modelo guy. All of this is debatable. But my rules are my rules and this was my damn party. Those who knowingly broke my rules disrespected me, my guests, and the very concept of rules in itself, so why should I feel bad about kicking a guest who was never invited to my party out of my invite-only party? I shouldn’t.

And that’s how I view illegal immigration.

Republicans should embrace Cultural Conservatism over Trumpism in the 2018 midterm elections

By Daniel Hong

politics

To some astute observers of the culture and political atmosphere in 2018 the distinction between “Trumpism” and “Conservatism” can come off as strikingly odd. As many Conservative pundits and politicians seem very supportive of Trump and his policies seem to trend in that direction as well. Many of those who were in the “Never Trump” camp may understand what I mean, to some extent. However, I must disappoint you if you are coming from that group as my fundamental point is not so much against Trump as it is against the GOP as we know it in 2018.

Without downplaying some real political achievements by the Trump Administration that has satisfied the Conservative base, I believe anyone who takes a moment to think about it will have no problem with my assertion that Trump is no Conservative. Frankly that does not bother me and it should not bother the base as well. Especially, in 2018 where President Trump is deemed by the mainstream media and many critics as incompetent, believe it or not the case can be made that the Democratic Party has been exponentially worse. That assessment does not come from a partisan tribal mentality on my part but as someone who thinks that the President and the GOP has handed them a golden opportunity on a silver platter. Yet, somehow they have managed to keep the midterms within range for the Republicans. Through their constant bickering over the Russian Collusion narrative, appealing to the worst of their base, and their open embrace of socialism to name a few is probably the reason why they are not leading in double digits. It’s not to say that they have not had some real accomplishments as well, the election of Ralph Northam over Ed Gillespie in Virginia, the upset over Roy Moore by Doug Jones in Alabama, and finally Conor Lamb’s recent victory in Pennsylvania highlight the Democrats success. However, it must be noted that these candidates won in spite of their party going hard left, especially Mr. Lamb’s narrow victory. The problem is while the Democrats have been veering left the GOP and President Trump have become yesterday’s Democrats, which brings me to my fundamental point. This may surprise some readers but my point that I’m driving home is not necessarily that the President is not Conservative but that the Republican Party is not and has never been the party of Conservatism.

It is understandable why in the minds of many Americans ever since the Reagan era the Republican Party was seen as Conservative. Many Republicans have followed in his footsteps of and have championed limited government, Free Market, and Moral Virtues. The problem is in 2018 with all three chambers in their possession they have not exemplified these ideals. The “Never Trump” camp is wrong in pointing the accusations mainly at Trump, who I believe should be given credit for being honest about his political positions. The guy never ran or claimed to run as a Conservative candidate. The problem lies with Republicans who claim to be Conservative yet their political records give no evidence of that. Do not misunderstand my accusation there are legitimate members of congress who are valiantly fighting for the Conservative cause but the overwhelming majority have been shown to be glorified hypocrites. To make matters worse the new group of Republicans that are making 2018 bids are competing with one another to be the next Trumpian candidate.

The question that can then be posed is what exactly is Trumpism? The problem is there really is no answer. Populism is definitely a tenet as well as a brash personality but other than that due to the volatile nature of Trump himself as a person it is really hard to know what else is concretely a part of his philosophy. Which is why it makes no sense for Republicans to follow him in that unknown path. The primaries that are currently going on have exposed the flaws of this plan as many of these candidates are trying to embrace something they cannot understand. Now it’s fine to endorse the president but there is no need to become like him. In fact, even in that department these new crop of Republicans fall woefully short, as evidenced in the Pennsylvania special election the argument can be made (at least on the campaign trail) that Conor Lamb a Democrat was more Trumpian than the GOP candidate Rick Saccone. Conor Lamb whether he is genuine or not was also an anomaly from the Democratic Party that is also experiencing a tension from the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wing. Lamb represented the old centrist philosophy of the Democrats the one that Hillary Clinton was supposed to run on in 2016 as she obviously veered hard left like many of the Democrats (Of all the ridiculous complaints of her loss the recent one claiming that she was too “capitalist” for the Democrats actually has some credence). In an ironic way Trump not only beat Clinton at the ballot box but also in her own game because aside from his brash rhetoric and populist appeal just the policy positions that he ran on is much more moderate and centrist than the average traditional Republican. However, there was one exception to Trumps overall 2016 general election victory, he became more Conservative on the social and cultural issues and unlike the Democrats who find more political success when running on a centrist platform especially on social issues, the Republicans actually find more success running on a more Conservative platform.

To sum it up, the Democrats find more success when running on a centrist platform, and the Republicans on a more Conservative one. This also translates into a more cohesive unit in Washington as a centrist Democrat and a traditional Conservative Republican actually can find points of agreement than the other way around. While I personally do not like the whole Left and Right paradigm in politics for this particular argument it’s helpful. While Right is not necessarily synonymous with Conservative just as Left is not with Liberal, it is generally true that most Conservatives are on the Right and liberals are on the Left and the politics right now is moving to the Left while the country seems to want to move more to the Right. Again in the recent election Trump moved considerably more Conservative on social and cultural issues than he did in the primaries. Also while Rick Saccone lost, the belief right now is that he should have lost by 5 or 6 points but only lost by a narrow margin because he started campaigning on the social issues as the special election drew closer. On the contrary, both Mitt Romney and John McCain lost their run for the presidency and were known to be moderates. During the Ronald Reagan era his success was on an undeniably Conservative agenda, with some moderate Democrats as his allies in a congress dominated by Democrats. George W. Bush despite his less than stellar record on the economy and a controversial foreign policy was an undeniably socially conservative president. Many have attributed this to the Religious Right or the Moral Majority but as an Evangelical myself that explanation would be great if it were true. The problem is that this one coalition cannot win elections, the explanation I have to offer is that cultural conservatism has a particular appeal with Americans in general whether they are religious or not.

The appeal that a socially conservative agenda brings is not so much a political one but a moral/cultural one. For instance I do not believe most Americans are necessarily caught up with the issues of gay marriage that they would want Obergefell v Hodges overturned, but the arguments for a stable family and the values enriched in them do capture their attention. Americans may not be as caught up on overturning Roe v Wade and adding a Human Life Amendment into the Constitution but the arguments for cherishing children and the corrosive effects of the sexual revolution makes an overall pro-life culture appealing. Finally the recent issue of the national anthem may have been a tipping point, as the level of patriotism in every American might be different but the overall disrespect shown by the NFL players and the cowardly acceptance by the Democrats is too much for Americans to bear and in turn makes a conservative’s patriotism more and more appealing to them.

Therefore, a Conservative agenda does not necessarily mean that people who vote for that agenda are all fully on board but they find it a better option than an agenda that goes in the opposite direction. A strong nostalgic appeal may also be a factor in the appeal of Cultural Conservatism as many people believe whether they are Republican or Democrat (or Independent) that they are losing their culture and their way of life in this present period. The Presidents popular slogan “Make America Great Again” may have had that appeal not necessarily to regain the economic or military power of the past but the American way of life that people were accustomed to and so much of Conservatism looks back on those traditions and timeless principles that it can grab the public’s imagination of rebuilding the culture from the ashes. Thus, my plea to Republicans this midterm cycle is that in a year where many are predicting them to lose their majority and where history has shown past patterns where the majority party often faces losses in these situations to stop trying to be like Trump and to study the tenets and principles of Conservatism and embrace it. Ideas have power and the right ideas can turn the tide in a nation and Conservatism is about ideas and principles.