KANSAS HILLS, KANSAS — State Representative Tom Thompaulsen told reporters at a recent press conference that the 2016 election cycle has been full of surprises for him. The biggest surprise, the Republican lawmaker said, was “finding out there are eventually stiff consequences” for opposing social and economic equality for the better part of three decades.
“Back in the 1960’s, Barry Goldwater warned Republicans not to get in too tightly with the religious right,” Thompaulsen said, “and well, we did exactly that. Don’t get me wrong, Goldwater was as staunchly conservative and obtusely against modern thought as anyone, but I guess he really was right about us not getting too cozy with the Pat Robertsons in the world.”
Thompaulsen said that he sees now, perhaps too late, that trading votes for turning a blind eye to the rampant racism, homophobia, and general xenophobia that has supported Trump’s campaign this past year “wasn’t wise.” He further said that he can see now how the roots of the Trump campaign reach deep into the soil that people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter “wallow around in.” He still was quite shocked, Thompaulsen said, to see just how bad for the GOP these old partnerships could be.
“Wait, you mean to tell me that being modern day Segregationists and unabashed bigots carries a stigma with it now,” Thompaulsen says he found himself asking, “because for years we were able to just dog whistle about urban decay, Welfare Queens, and other issues that we used to fire up racists who left the Democratic Party over the Civil Rights Acts.”
Now, Thompaulsen says, the 2016 has shown “in the harsh light of day” that the bargain the Republicans made against Goldwater’s advice has come back to haunt his party.
“I find myself shocked that being the enemy of justice and equality means you’re not in the American mainstream,” Thompaulsen said, “because I remember a time when we Republicans could just thump our Bibles and that would push the uppity gays back into line. Then again, our base used to thump their Bibles to try and keep uppity blacks in line too, so maybe we should have seen parallels there sooner?”
Rep. Thompaulsen said he found his new perspective one night laying in bed. He said that as he drifted off to sleep he heard questions popping into his head about the election. The questions kept him awake all night.
“I was laying there, and all of a sudden, I found myself asking, just because some uppity blacks are tired of being shot by cops for no reason, and some super-uppity gays wanna get married, or some super-duper-hardcore-holy-cow trans people want to poop and pee in peace, and we’re totally diametrically opposed to that, that means we’re out of step with most Americans now,” Thompaulsen asked himself, adding “what the heck, man?”
Though he says he’s got “fresh goggles” on the situation, Thompaulsen said he still has “grave concerns” over the direction the country is headed.
“Do we really want to live in a country where the political party focused on denying basic human rights to people is the one that loses,” Thompaulsen asked, continuing, “because that doesn’t feel like America to me. At least it doesn’t feel like my America. Where freedom means crapping on everyone around you because their religion is different than yours, their skin is darker, or they like to play with different genitalia than you do. That’s just sad, but it appears the people are about to speak, and we should listen.”
So does that mean he is rescinding his endorsement of Trump, we asked Rep. Thompaulsen?
“Oh, hell no,” Thompaulsen said, “I’m a Republican politician. I may recognize how far off the tracks my party has gotten, but I’m scared to death of losing my salary when I get primaried by someone further to my right. Morals and principles only go so far when you’re talking about job security.”
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