I’ve never been a fan of blind loyalty.

It breeds laziness and causes one to give up something that should be valued at a premium: the ability to think for one’s self.

We have blind loyalty today in politics at both the national and state levels. It’s cringe-worthy and appears only to be getting worse by the day.

There has always been loyalty to one political party or another. Rare is the voter who crosses over in a general election and votes for candidates of both major parties. Rare is the voter who votes for the best candidate rather than political party.

Some will try to contend the reason is the candidates representing their party are always the best. That is not true. The reason is simple. If you switched a candidate to another party, then people would then vote the other way.

Perhaps it has taken a president as flamboyant as Donald Trump to create such blind loyalty. It’s odd because President Trump was criticized by those in the Republican Party during the 2016 GOP primary. Millions of Republican voters did not want him as the party’s nominee. Many felt if he was the nominee, then the general election would be lost and lost badly.

Things are different now, of course. Many supporters of President Trump have become blind loyalists. He can do nothing wrong simply because he says he is a Republican. That’s scary when you think about it.

This by no means gives a pass to Democrats who try to tell us that President Trump never does anything correctly. This thinking is also absurd. You don’t have to be a fan of a particular politician to give credit where credit is due.

Democrats, however, refuse to give President Trump any credit. It makes their blind loyalty just as dangerous.

Through the decades, I have taken part in the process and there have been several candidates I have enthusiastically supported. That doesn’t mean, however, that I thought a particular candidate was able to walk on water and that everything that came out of their mouths was pure gospel.

Quite frankly, I don’t put that much faith in any elected official. No one should and it doesn’t matter what political party the official is associated with.

There is nothing wrong with questioning what a politician does even if it was someone we voted for. No elected official should be given a free pass once he or she is in office.

People know this, of course. But the blind loyalty shown in 2019 is bordering on the insane and has become very frightening.

The thought processes of “President Trump did it, so therefore it is right” and “President Trump did it, therefore it is wrong” show an incapability of thinking for oneself.

It has gone all the way to the top of the political parties in some cases. Already a handful of states have announced there will not be a Republican presidential primary in 2020 despite the fact President Trump has three legitimate challengers.

When a candidate has been elected to statewide office or to any federal position, then that makes him or her legitimate candidates. Republican leaders in states such as South Carolina and Nevada (to name only two) should realize what they are doing is nothing better than what happens in countries where there is a dictatorship.

These countries have so-called elections, but there is never more than one candidate on the ballot. That is not a choice. If no one decided to run in the primary against President Trump that is fine.

However, for party officials in these states to take the power of choice away from its voters is as un-American as it gets. We are a country with open elections. The people decide and the people are being denied this right in certain states.

Republican voters in states that have declared there will be no primary in 2020 should be furious and protesting those who made these decisions. Unfortunately, many probably think it is a good thing.

It’s another sign that our country is in trouble and it’s not because of Republicans only or Democrats only. Both are at fault and until we realize both lead us to the proverbial slaughterhouse, then things will only get worse.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is a former editor for the Barrow News-Journal. He has earned awards for his columns from the National Newspaper Association, the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He welcomes feedback from readers at pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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