What must happen before someone says, “I can’t do this anymore?” That is the question. Think about it. Relationships survive until an individual says, that’s it. That’s the last straw. People continue to work at jobs that they may not be enthralled with until something happens. Perhaps it’s a promotion given to an employee far from deserving it. Or a company endorses a policy that isn’t environmentally sound or ethically responsible. That’s it. You decide to move on. People maintain and cultivate friendships until an event occurs where they can no longer pretend that this is a valuable friendship based on a common set of mores. Certainly, we all have friends who have differing opinions on issues. That’s a good thing. But let’s say, you discover your friend is a racist or a thief or does something truly reprehensible. You reach the end of the “acceptable behavior” that you can tolerate. You can no longer look the other way. You won’t “respect yourself in the morning.” It’s called the breaking point.
So why haven’t the followers of this administration reached their breaking point? This is a puzzle that I have not yet solved. I realize that by now they have invested a lot in this relationship. Yes, they have gotten a cadre of conservative judges—two on the Supreme Court. Yes, the religious right has heard multiple endorsements of the “right to life” movement and the importance of religion. Yes, both small and large businesses have gotten tax breaks they felt they so richly deserved. But what a price we have paid! How can they possibly think it was worth it?
So many good things about the Republican party—and there were many at one point—are gone. Reduce the deficit. Focus on fiscal responsibility. Encourage private enterprise. Promote free trade. People who have been Republicans all their lives have left the Party in disgust. Many allies all over the world have given up on us. Our reputation as a voice of reason, humanity, steadfastness and intelligence has been sullied—perhaps irredeemably. We look selfish and petty as a country. We lack insight, depth and empathy, and most of all reason.
During the age of enlightenment, writers such as Thomas Paine and John Locke wrote about reason and rational thinking. The concept was that everything should be subject to rigorous testing and analysis to ensure that it was valid and made “common sense.” In more modern terms, was “X” truly valid? Or is there a fatal flaw—a major disconnect–in the logic at hand? Does this administration in any way truly represent the ideals to which its followers say they espouse?
I have decided that the overriding motto or “reason” of those who still endorse today’s troubled, muddled administration is, “If I open the floodgates, if I let someone else have “their fair share,” I will have less. I must protect my God-given right to what’s mine. If I allow more immigrants in this country, I will have less. If I assist more Black Americans in getting a solid education and promote true equal rights under the law, I will have fewer rights. If I agree to share, I will suffer. They see that the pie is only so big, and if more slices are cut, their slices gets smaller. Need I remind you that this is not rational thinking.
Many economic theorists would beg to differ. If you increase demand for goods and services in an appropriate fashion, more will prosper—the rising tide lifts all boats philosophy. Obviously, measured controls must be in place. And there are nuances to these theories. But there is also logic and reason, and proven examples of how making the pie bigger adds a richer tapestry to our society, including diversity of thought, new approaches and methodologies, wonderful ethnic foods, music, art, and literature. Plus, there is that bonus of doing the right thing.
So, let’s try this for rational thinking. When we married, I thought we wanted the same things. We both changed and have grown apart. It’s time to move on. I have learned a lot in this job, but this company’s guiding principles and priorities no longer mesh with mine. It’s time to move on. We’ve had some good times as friends, but I can no longer stand by and ignore your racist comments. It’s time to move on. And finally, unlike me, if you’re a Republican, I had grown weary of politicians and their doublespeak and empty promises. So, I decided to vote for an apolitical reality television star. I made a mistake. It’s time to move on. I now seek a true conservative Republican who embodies my values and will serve the office with dignity and honor. Now, that’s reason.
Maria Grant served as Principal-in-Charge of the Federal Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting. Since her retirement from Deloitte, she has focused on writing, music, reading, travel, gardening and nature.