Matthew Jelalian 01

Matthew Jelalian poses for a portrait in the Daily Herald studio on Friday, March 6, 2015. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

If the family unit is the most basic building of the community then friends are the second block.

Friends are the family you choose and they pick up the slack where family falls short.

I have two brothers. They’re not related to me by blood and they’re not recognized as family by any government organization or church structure but I know that if I were to call them with an emergency they would drop whatever they were doing to help and I would do the same for them.

These two are more like brothers to me than any of the nine step-siblings I’ve had.

They’ve been there in ways I couldn’t explain.

Friendships like these are invaluable.

Because of this, it’s important that we pick our friends carefully.

Our friends don’t have to be exactly like us, but we should share certain values and interests so we can build each other up rather than tear each other down.

This is the reason why so many parents want to meet their kids’ friends. They want to make sure these kids will help their child become the best person they can instead of some stoner forever working dead-end jobs.

That’s why it’s just as important to learn when we have to let people in our lives go.

If your friends aren’t making you better they’re probably making you worse and no one needs that.

With this said, you may be asking where I’m going with this?

I’ll tell you right now.

In politics, you form alliances. Political parties or bipartisan support for shared interests are examples of this.

Think of them as political friendships.

You might not agree on everything your party stands for but you agree enough to work together.

Political friendships are important if you want to get anything done but such alliances require both parties to see eye to eye to some degree.

Recently Gov. Mike Pence came to Utah in an attempt to win some votes for Trump.

He tried to connect Utah values with those of traditional conservatism.

Pence even offered Utah an invitation to “come home” to the Republican Party.

Over the past year, the Republican Party has resembled home to me about as much as the house I grew up in did after my step-dad died.

That is to say that something’s gone and I have little confidence that it will be restored.

Growing up conservative, I couldn’t tell you how many arguments I had defending conservative principles, desperately trying to explain why I thought a small government and a free economy would do more good for people than Uncle Sam and that such policies shouldn’t be dismissed as mere anti-poor or anti-minority.

But 2016’s Republican Party nominated a candidate whose campaign is both big-government and heavily regulated economically. Additionally, Donald Trump explicitly explains how his policies would discriminate based on religion and country of origin.

Trump is literally the right-wing nationalist I fought to convince people Republicans weren’t since I first cared about politics.

Supporting him with my vote is not “coming home.” It’s dropping myself off at an orphanage.

While Pence tried to extend an olive branch of friendship to Utah, Lou Dobbs highlighted my view that the Republican Party is no longer my home by connecting Mormonism with some Illuminati-level conspiracy theory.

Earlier this week Dobbs concluded that Mormons were the people behind the curtain trying to throw the election by setting up Evan McMullin as a prop candidate for President.

“Look Deeper. He’s nothing but a Globalist, Romney and Mormon Mafia Tool,” tweeted Dobbs along with a bunch of pro-Trump hashtags.

That’s right. We’re globalists trying to overthrow democracy and the will of the people.

Wake up sheeple.

The hashtag #MormonMafia quickly spread amongst the pro-Trump crowd and started trending countrywide. It looked like the Salt Lake Tribune’s comment section took over my twitterfeed.

Luckily, as reported by the Daily Herald, the hashtag quickly got hijacked by Mormons and non-Mormon allies.

My favorite tweet was the following, “What do the Book of Mormon and Donald Trump have in common? They both have a small Enos.”

Now we could just look at this as Twitter trolls doing what they do best and everyone coming to aid Mormons and Utahns in a humorous way.

But that’s underselling the importance of what happened.

Unlike Ben Carson, who said that sometimes you need to “put your Christian values on pause to get the work done,” Mormons have largely refused to put party before principle. Now we’re on Trump’s short list.

Let’s ignore Trump’s support for war crimes, let’s forget the fact that LDS church leaders felt the need to speak out against Trump’s Muslim policies, let’s forget past comments Trump has made about Utah and its Mormon populace, let’s even ignore his position on refugees.

Let’s say none of that matters.

What does matter is that polls show that Hillary Clinton is ahead of Trump by a ton. No matter which way Utah votes it cannot save Trump’s campaign.

Utah is probably the most reliably Republican state there is. But with the polls being what they are, there isn’t even a real need to debate whether we should support the party’s candidate over our principles.

We literally cannot change how the election goes. It’s basic math.

Most Utahns and Mormons recognize this fact and decided, with the facts being what they are, we should vote for someone who better represents our political views.

But Trump’s supporters are too blinded by the rigged election rhetoric that Trump has been spewing to see that. And they’ve decided to blame us for the fact that their candidate is historically unpopular.

They want to use us as their scapegoat for their horrible candidate.

Ignoring all possible doctrinal conflicts that might exist with supporting Trump's platform, his supporters are clearly not friends of Mormons or Utahns.

For any of you who are still contemplating who to vote for, I hope you keep this in mind.

The Grand Old Party isn’t your God.

We can argue all day long whether Clinton, Johnson, Stein or McMullin best represent Mormon principles or Utah values but it’s clear that Trump doesn’t support either and his supporters now have it out for us.

We can’t save them from themselves and we have the opportunity to do something amazing this election by picking a different path from everyone else.

Let’s all stand together and tell Trump’s angry followers we will not be intimidated by them or anyone else.