Do any of you listen to Iron Maiden? (I could ask if any of you are Samuel Coleridge Taylor fans but, well, that would just be stupid.)
I didn’t start listen to them until I was 40 years old. Why did it take that long? Who knows. But now I listen to nothing else on Spotify. I happen to believe heavy metal and conservatism go very well together. However, that’s a column for another day.
Today, I wish to talk about the Rime of the Ancient Mariner—both the song by I.M. and the poem by that guy who I’m not sure wrote anything else. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner come, “Water, water everywhere, nor nary a drop to drink.” The idiom of an albatross around a person’s neck means “the burden of heavy guilt.” However, there’s a part of that story that is seldom mentioned.
With all the talk in our culture about the ship’s captain: the mariner, the crew is virtually forgotten. They had their part to play in the story and, in fact, they were the ones who ultimately suffered for the mariner shooting the albatross—the good omen.
They didn’t kill the bird. Much to the contrary, they hated what the mariner did. Then their opinion changed, because they thought the mariner was leading them to safety. They pushed their morality to the side just to save their own lives.
What happened to them?
Eventually they all died due to dehydration and starvation (hence the “nary a drop to drink” line). They paid the price for becoming part of the crime.
I can’t help but feel we modern conservatives have worked our way into a similar predicament. We have allowed our captains – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, and SO MANY websites – to lead us astray. And I’m talking about a time WELL before Trump ever came along.
We as conservatives became part of the anti-conservative crime when we listened to our media leaders and voted for W and McCain and Romney and Ryan and McConnell, etc. Why did they tell us to do it? Well, because the other side was worse. In addition, they told us we’d benefit from it some day. Some time down the road we’d get what we wanted.
Unfortunately, what we regular conservatives–the crew–are finding out in 2016 is that we will be the ones who suffer for the captains’ sins. Why? Because we believed them, despite our better judgment. Moreover, we continued to listened and watched, and never turned them off, as they attacked Ted Cruz, National Review, the Weekly Standard, Ben Sasse, etc., somehow believing that our leaders would eventually see the light when there should’ve been enough obvious clues that they wouldn’t.
Like the song and poem, these captains of ours will continue on. Sure, they may suffer a drop in relevancy, but they’ll be comfortable in their mansions and private jets bought with the very ideals that they helped tear down. These captains had been killing conservatism—the good omen—for decades, and we went along with it.
What did the crew get? Us? We’ve already been made partially irrelevant by nationalists, racists, fake Republicans, and the like. And I fear we’ll sink down into the sea if we don’t outright rebel against these captains.
It’s time for a mutiny.