Caleb Parke: How Donald Trump Became My Favorite Conservative Leader
As I look back on my first time attending CPAC in 2012 to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, I can't help but think how much the landscape has changed.
It wasn't until the 2008 campaign that I really got involved in politics.
After the GOP chose Sen. John McCain for their nominee, I was done with the Republican party...until Sarah Palin stepped on stage.
Palin, for me, was the epitome of conservatism and all that's good about America. (I've written about this many times.)
But somewhere along the way, Palin's political star faded and as many of my friends have pointed out, she became the caricature Tina Fey played on SNL.
After two failed elections, Republicans were desperate for a Reaganesque leader.
And along came unlikely hero, larger-than-life celebrity businessman Donald J. Trump.
As someone who grew up in rural Ohio, and currently lives in Trump's stomping grounds, New York City, I've had a unique perspective on the 2016 election.
But it was my Uncle Roger who really had a fascinating view -- he was the earliest Trump supporter I knew, and someone I've looked up to and respected my entire life. It's hard not to after you see his resume.
He was a Colonel in the Army, a combat Master Aviator, and served several tours in the Pentagon. His final tour was as Senior Military Advisor to a Congressional Commission. He has a degree in Economics and an MBA.
"I...have always believed that the government should be run more like a business. So when Trump first came along, I was impressed with his business acumen," Uncle Roger told me, "Trump has an inherent leadership skill which I call moxie, an ability to get things done. I've always believed that his skill set coupled with his experience was a good fit to serve as President. As a senior military officer, I believe in a strong defense and peace through strength so I was an early supporter of 'Veterans for Trump'. I also strongly support his policy in the fight against ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, which I believe is a cancer being spread around the world. I'm very pleased, that despite unprecedented resistance from liberals, Trump has quickly implemented his campaign promises and is on track to becoming one of our greatest Presidents in modern history!"
If you chose Trump from the beginning of the primaries like my uncle, you have a lot to celebrate. But I finally decided to take the "Trump gamble," as I called it, when there were three candidates remaining in the GOP primary.
It was definitely a process. One that involved a lot of phone calls with my dad. He was an early Trump supporter in the primaries, and we had our differences. But my dad and I found common ground on the election being all about the Supreme Court. My dad also added, that because Trump doesn't have ties to campaign contributions, "he has the potential to put together possibly the greatest cabinet ever."
And after seeing Trump's early endorsements, including my girl Sarah Palin, it was clear he was anti-establishment.
Following the Obama years of an open checkbook, spending more than 43 presidents combined. It's pretty clear we needed someone to cut the size of government.
Conservatives were looking for another Reagan, but Trump, a completely new animal, might be more parts Lincoln than The Gipper. A leader willing to tackle issues as large as illegal immigration, and do it with no fear for the press.
Trump took on the mainstream media, lobbyists, the Clinton machine, and the Hollywood elites -- and he's still standing today.
He surrounded himself with Christian leaders that I listen to on a weekly basis, and adopted conservative principles like life, gun rights, and religious liberty.
His Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is top of the line when it comes to a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump's over-the-top, dream big speech and personality make him the man for the time.
And possibly his greatest secret weapon is his relationships - in business and politics - but chief among them, his family.
Trump is known for picking winners, but even more telling is how much his family loves him. And I couldn't be more proud of our First Lady Melania Trump opening her first speech with the Lord's Prayer!
He's raised exceptional children, and because of their upstanding values and work ethic, they shine in the spotlight.
I absolutely love Jared and Ivanka, with all the work they've been doing behind-the-scenes from the campaign all the way to the West Wing - on women's issues and with our relationship with Israel.
The Trump family has helped me be more optimistic about America's future.
The party of Lincoln and Reagan is now the party of Trump (and unlike the mainstream media) I mean that as a good thing.
I believe the Trump administration will tackle these issues among many:
- deal with illegal immigration
- appoint Constitutionalists to the Supreme Court and other courts
- defeat ISIS
- build up military
- support pro-life, anti-abortion culture, defund Planned Parenthood
- defend the Second Amendment
- decrease the size of the government
- better relations with our greatest ally, Israel, move embassy to Jerusalem
- open up oil and gas industries again
- cut and simplify taxes
- balance the budget *one can dream*
- increase religious liberty here and abroad
- unify the country
Obviously, Donald Trump is only human, and this is only one administration. It takes everyone working together to get these things accomplished for our nation, but he's assembled quite the coalition for such a time as this.
I have a few cautions.
In the social media age, it's easy to get caught up with one issue. Wow, Trump is a colossal failure because of his handling of this one issue -- but we gave amateur Obama eight years of grace? Step back and put things in perspective. Don't let the Left or the mainstream media paint the narrative. Both have become increasingly fringe and less representative of our great country.
Don't put our faith and trust in Donald Trump. Hold him accountable. Hold Congress and Senate accountable. The fight doesn't start at the top. As Fox News commentator Todd Starnes says in his new book, "The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again," the "change may have started at the White House, but it finishes at your house."
I've been pleasantly surprised with how conservative Trump has been, tackling many of his campaign promises within his first 100 days in office, and my hope and prayer is that, like a captain on a boat caught in the middle of a storm, he gets his sea legs and takes us ashore.