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So Right it’s Wrong with Craig Clark

The County Line's newest commentator traces his political journey and breaks down the current state of the American system.

Welcome to So Right It’s Wrong. My name is Craig Clark, and I will be your guide through these wild and wacky times. Here at SRIW, I plan to bring you, the reader, a local’s perspective on a wide range of economic, social and political topics. I warn you, I’m a bit off the beaten path. I’m the relative that provokes eyerolls and exasperation at family functions. Some may call me a conspiracy theorist, and that is quite alright by me. I will don my tin-foil hat proudly and tell the truth as I see it. That’s exactly what this column is about: The truth as I see it.

The opinions and observations in this and forthcoming articles are solely my own, not necessarily reflections of our intrepid leaders at The County Line. Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

I’d like to start with an introduction of myself and my upbringing. You may wonder what that has to do with my views on social and political topics. The answer is simple: perspective. Everyone’s life experiences shape their perception of the world. 

I’m a born-and-raised Adair County boy, brought up in the 1990s by pop culture as well as my parents, Jim and Marlene Clark. My sister and I grew up in a modest but incredibly steady, loving home. The Clarks were and still are a firmly working-middle-class American family. We are also an incredibly tight-knit family, all living on the farm, no more than half a mile apart from one another. Dad’s side of the family, for the most part, is apolitical, while mom’s side of the family are/were staunch Democrats. I was raised in Pollard’s Chapel Methodist Church, and spent considerable time in my teen years attending and participating at Columbia Christian Church. These days, I’m a fairly sorry excuse for a Christian, but that is where my core moral beliefs come from. 

Now that my roots have been established, to give you a sense of where we are going from here, I’d like to give you a layout of my political journey from a child raised in a Christian family who saw the world as black and white, right and wrong, to the man in the middle — surviving in the gray areas of life. Back then, if something wasn’t right, it must be wrong, right? There were only those two options in my mind. Ask 16-year-old Craig his opinion on hot-button topics such as abortion or gay-marriage, and the answers I would have given then would illicit shame in 2022. I was quite the zealot in my younger years, but I am here for the truth and will not shy away from telling truths about myself that would make more modest folks blush.

Enter Barack Obama to the scene. Handsome young man from Illinois touting Hope and Change. Sounds great, right? 2008, I’m 18, voting in my first election. Obama was clearly going to win, and I’m not missing the opportunity to vote for the first African American president. I leave work, go cast my vote for Hope and Change, then head to the home of Blake’s Takes to settle in and watch the results of the election. After it was clear who the victor would be, the news channels were all speaking to city people, people who seemed all too happy to be dependent on the government. One after another, it seemed like every person reporters spoke to extolled President Obama and how he was going to take care of them and their family. My initial thought: “This is going to be expensive, but if America can afford to fight wars half a world away, we can afford to take care of our citizens.” 

Fast forward to my early 20’s. I did a couple of stints at Lindsey Wilson College and did not succeed either time. College simply was just not for me. I’m relatively undisciplined unless the subject matter is something that enthralls me. While in college, I reconnected with an old friend who was (and might still be) quite the believer in socialist policies. As a young man that hadn’t had the hopes and dreams stomped out of him, I thought that socialism was the ticket. 

Between my friend and my reading of Hunter S. Thompson, I gave socialism a whirl. I was a founding member of the Young Democratic Socialists chapter at LWC. My friend and I even made a trip one summer to Wurtsboro, New York for a week-long seminar hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. I was intrigued by the notion of socialism because at the time, I thought if Jesus had to pick a political system for His followers to use, socialism would be it. And to this day, I still think this is how Christians should function on a personal level, but not as a political system. If we have more, and someone is in need, then we should give, but that choice should be left to the individual, not some politician demanding that we all pay into the collective to help the less fortunate. 

By the time we were into Obama’s second term, I had realized the futility of socialism. If we lived in a utopian society where every person was honest and responsible, socialism would be grand — folks just doing their part and monetary stresses being a thing of the past. But as we all know, there will always be someone out there looking to take advantage of a system. This realization brought me back to my hardline Republican roots and the belief that every person who can take care of themselves should do so and forego any handouts, even if they are funded by our tax dollars. 

Here comes Donald Trump in 2016. An Outsider. A Heathen. No political past aside from donating heaps of cash to anyone who could benefit him. Seemed brash, and at first, I was not a fan. I truly wanted Marco Rubio to win my party’s nomination. He was a candidate that grew up in a middle class, multi-child home, likely in situation similar to my own family’s. 

Alas, Marco did not stand up to the belittling nicknames that Donald doled out. Trump was the Republican party’s guy, and he was running against seemingly the most arrogant candidate for president in history (Editor’s note: Craig’s assessment of arrogance might be right, but the debate is definitely of the “pot v. kettle” variety)

In 2016, I begrudgingly voted for the reality star, Donald Trump. I did not have high hopes for him in the White House. As time went on, Trump’s brashness grew on me. Here was a guy that wasn’t playing politician. He said whatever came into his mind, and I appreciated that so much more than the measured responses that career politicians gave us. Even if what he said rubbed me the wrong way, I still appreciated that he wasn’t just bandying words and trying to please as many people as he could with his responses.

Enter COVID-19. Give me just a moment as I find my tin-foil hat. If you have one, you are encouraged to throw it on, because this is where I get off the beaten path. I will reiterate: This argument is solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of anyone else at The County Line. 

As pesky and at times deadly of a virus as COVID-19 is, I believe it was hyped quite a bit for political reasons. Yes, it is quite real — I’ve had it once myself, as has every other person in my immediate family. In some circumstances, it can absolutely be deadly. As a whole, however, I do not believe it was as dangerous as we were led to believe. I believe that it was a means to an end. Keep good, CNN-believing people away from conspiracy theorists like me. Keep everyone at home and slightly afraid. 

And Trump bought into it — or he was backed into a corner, put between a rock and a hard place. He could be the guy that downplayed it all, but then every single death that occurred would be heaped upon his shoulders by the unrelenting media. Or he could give in and declare a national emergency (which we are still currently under) that gives nearly unmitigated power to governors and administrators like Anthony Fauci. I do not know where most readers stand on Fauci, but I will get to him later on in my articles and it will be a hot one. 

As stated earlier, we are still in the “national emergency” so clearly, Trump did not want to be the guy being blamed for every COVID-related death. I cannot say that I blame him, but considering all the flack he had taken up until then, I truly do not know what difference it would have made had he downplayed the virus and invited the heat as if he were an old school, bad-guy wrestling heel.

Here we are now, smack-dab in the middle of April, 2022, a smidge over two years since COVID started wrecking our social and political structure. I’ve lost faith in nearly every federal and state-level politician.

I still have hope and faith in our locals. We know them, and if we have an issue with them, we can call or visit their office and speak to them directly. But as for state and federal officials, I am what we call in the conspiracy community a “Black-Pill.” I have no faith in our current government, Republican or Democrat. They are all self-serving snakes in my book. There may be a few good ones hanging in there, but their voices are likely drowned out by the overwhelming chorus of greed and deceit. 

You see, I’ve looked at our political system from both sides, been on the far end of both spectrums. We can’t put all our eggs in any one political basket. Each side has virtues and faults, but the truth of the matter is, America is run by corporate oligarchs. We may gather at polls and vote every so often, but in all likelihood, we are only voting for the faces we wish to represent the true power running America: The almighty dollar. I started as a young, Republican-leaning Christian, moved all the way across the aisle to socialism, and then I went so far right that I realized I had been wrong. Neither party is going to bring you what you want in America. 

The only way that we can truly enact change is to vote with our dollar, stay active in local political affairs, and most importantly: STICK TOGETHER. Brown, white, yellow, green, purple, from north of the border, south of the border, or born smack-dab in the middle of it, WE are ALL Americans. The American people have to start being considerate of one another’s’ perspective, even if we think the other person couldn’t be more wrong. Most federal politicians and national media outlets only serve to drive a wedge between us, and of late, we have allowed that to happen. I’ve been more guilty of it than most, but I’m hoping that through this article, some feedback, possibly debates and interviews, I can rectify my part in being divisive. I greatly appreciate your time in reading a little about me and where I come from. 

I look forward to talking politics again with you guys soon.

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