An open letter to Arizona Senator Jeff Flake thanking him for his brave and bold speech in the United States Senate the other day. Jeff talked about speaking from his conscience this is me following suit and doing the same thing and speaking from my conscience.
“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party, the party that has so long defined itself by its belief in those things. It’s also clear to me for the moment that we have given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess that we’ve created are justified, but anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”
“I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership. Regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”
Better to be poor and honest
than to be dishonest and a fool.
Proverbs 19:1 NLT
Dole/Kemp sign with George W Bush’s signature
I want to take some time out of my life to pen you a personal note and tell you how much I have appreciated you being in the Senate, and to ask you to continue to fight with your conscious and take a stand. Your speech the other day which I have above I believe will go down in the history of American politics. It will be up there with Illinois Senator Everett Dirkson’s talk before voting on the 1964 Civil Right Act or Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette speech in 1917 during World War I in which he still called for free speech to occur during wartime. The other thing Jeff is you and I are on the same side of history. I left the Republican party as I was following my conscious in 2016 after Donald Trump was elected. You are arriving at that conclusion now. Let me give you a little background to myself.
I have voted Republican about 95% of the time in my life. The first time I voted was for George Bush in 1992. I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because I was upset about the Iraq War. You should know that I have walked precincts in college when I was in Montana. And you should also know that I led the Republican Club in college. I also had the privilege of attending the Republican National Convention in 1996 in San Diego. My family saw me on C-Span on the floor of the San Diego Convention center. I remember seeing many Senators and Representatives. Then I had something that stunned me that I still smile about to this day. I was standing next to the Texas delegation when Sam Donaldson from ABC News came rushing by and he bumped into me. In return I bumped into someone standing next to the Texas delegation sign. I apologized and the person turned and it was Texas Governor George W Bush. In his Texas drawl he said, “No problem son…” Stunned, I asked for his autograph. You can see his John Hancock on the sign up above. I tell you all this so that you will understand why I left the GOP and why it was a painful but necessary decision.
In the 2016 election I voted for Marco Rubio in the primary. I like the Senator from Florida and thought he was good, conservative and level headed. I was troubled by Donald Trump and I was sure Rubio would beat him. I was horrified as the primary season went on. The Republican Party I know died in Cleveland at the National Convention and what emerged was something almost in a Frankenstein movie that showed no resemblance to the party I once knew. At that moment I became convinced that to save the party the best thing to do was to vote for country over party. To follow my conscious and not vote Republican because of the stakes and the fears that existed. So this Republican proudly voted for Hillary Clinton. I did so as a protest vote and with my hope that the GOP would lose, organize itself and get its act together. The unthinkable happened and I was stunned by what took place. I realized that the party that had been my home for all my life no longer was. So I decided to leave it and no longer consider myself Republican. Below you will find out what I believe and why I left the GOP, and based upon what you said in your speech Senator Flake I think we are going to be on the same page in many areas.
- I am a firm believer in free trade and find pacts like NAFTA to be essential to our country’s health and development. Free trade benefits many people. For others it creates challenges but that can be solved by job training, education and helping people transition. We live in an international world. We can’t undo globalization. That would be like trying to undo the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. The benefits of free trade abound. From expanded food in your grocery store to Honda having five plants in Ohio and being the state’s biggest employer. It allows countries to trade, better citizens and also allows for investment.
- I am a firm believer in the first amendment. I believe that the press exists for a reason and a purpose. The free press helps keep government in check and it protects and serves the people. In any totalitarian regime the first moves are often to silence or threaten the press. The attacks by the Trump administration are horrific and I believe undermines the Bill of Rights. Plus what is being communicated to dictators and thugs around the world when we attack freedom at home? If you want to run for office then you should be able to deal with the press. Institutions like the Washington Post or New York Times are some of the finest instruments of American democracy. I started to subscribe to the Washington Post during this time. When it comes to conservative media I will read the National Review or the Wall Street Journal. As a conservative I detest Fox News as being sensational and off base. The news coming out with Bill O-Reilly and the $32 million dollar sexual harassment settlement also troubles me deeply and undermines the credibility of Fox in my opinion. I also read a lot of international press such as Der Spiegel, BBC, Le Monde, Al Jazerra and more. But the press it key to freedom in the United States and I hold it in high esteem.
- I am bothered by the President degrading the office and I feared this last year. To think that Trump would hold the same office that FDR, Harry Truman, Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, the Bushes and Obama held is troubling. The president should be the model for the country. He should not attack and use 140 characters in Twitter to debase, and go after people in frivolous and disturbing ways. What does it say Jeff when the president lashes out at a war widow whose husband was killed in Niger and calls her a liar? Would Ronald Reagan act like that? Would George W Bush do that? Would a president lie to the degree that Trump has done? Richard Nixon resigned but Nixon in the end showed he respected the system. Trump shows no appreciation or qualifications for the office that he currently holds as he holds no respect at all.
- I worry over the growing authoritarianism and the checks and balances being strained and dismantled. You don’t put someone in office who doesn’t respect the system or the rules of the Senate. I am anxious over the fact that people will not speak out about these problem vocally. There is just you, John McCain, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Bob Corker. The rest of the Republican party is silent and says nothing and acts like it “business as usual.” Nothing can be further from the truth and nothing can be more damning than to engage in silence and thereby enable the problem.
- I find myself reflecting on our foreign policy. From a president who goes after his secretary of state who is in discussions, to someone not really taking the time to understand the complexities of the issues on the Korean Peninsula. I also find myself close to vomiting when Trump praises individuals like Vladimir Putin or Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte while going after our traditional NATO allies or Angela Merkel. The United States is no longer the leader of the free world. Now it is Angela Merkel who holds that honor.
- The situation with the Justice Department and the FBI bothers me also. Their independence and neutrality is key to them being able to do their jobs. Part of what Watergate was about is the corruption of the FBI. That is why Mark Felt believed he had to give information to the Washington Post. But the politicization of our justice department and even FBI is uncalled for and a threat to our way of life. To not look into shady acts by some corrupt police actions, which sadly also threatens those police departments that are solid, has me on pins and needles.
- I am worried that fascism is growing in the United States and abroad and to be silent on it is only encouraging its growth. We are also becoming a society that is polarized by two extremes. People like me in the middle want and crave the middle because that is where healthy democracies function. But I am concerned about Russia intervening in western elections with the goal to tear apart NATO. America First is what Charles Lindbergh cried when he called for the United States to be isolationist in the 1930’s. This kind of isolationism only tips the hand to Russia and it gives away all that the United States created in Europe after World War II. Why did we fight to destroy the Nazis in Europe if they are going to rally in Charlottesville and be called “good people?” Was Eisenhower wrong for organizing D-Day on June 6, 1944? What does it say for our CIA when Trump calls them Nazis but refused to call those in Charlottesville Nazis? The employees of the CIA took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Nazis in Charlottesville chanted “blood and soil” which goes against all that the United States stands for.
- As an Irishman I am sickened by the attacking of immigrants and refugees to include those who worked with our forward deployed in the Marines and Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are an idea and have always remained a nation of immigrants. Some of our best inventions came from immigrants. God Bless America came from Irving Berlin who is Siberian. Google, Amazon, the doughnut and even Budweiser beer all came from immigrants. We have always been an idea that celebrated immigrants. Some people have forgotten that there was a time in history that Ireland was viewed like Syria is today. We must never forget our immigrant roots.
- I also believe in limited government, but I also believe that our government should be staffed. The treatment of the State Department or the EPA troubles me. Many people really need to look into the history of those organizations. For example how many Republicans know that the EPA came about because of Republican policy. Richard Nixon is the reason why the EPA came to be. While I believe in limited government I ask myself what do the Trumpians actually want? Anarchy? No government at all? Or a situation like what Afghanistan had with the Taliban and constant tribal feuding?
- The flip flopping and the anger issues have convinced me that Donald Trump is not well. I believe that he is mentally ill and should not be in power. Its for the health of the country that he should not be in the position that he is in.
- I am bothered by the fact that conspiracy theories gain more traction that fact. From conspiracy theories on 9-11 to multiple shooters in Las Vegas, to Obama being Kenyan. Good God! Whatever happened to the days when facts guided the information? What would William Buckley think of this crowd that is into conspiracy theories? I am about facts which must be a pillar of the United States.
Jeff I also want you to know this as well. Years ago I sat in a Bible study and people were talking about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A couple of people as I recall stated how they would speak out against the Nazis if they had a chance. Well…here we are with the Republican Party being silent about these issues, a lot of family and friends being silent and more. Its for that reason why I write this post. Someone must speak out. To be silent is to be complicit. Jeff Flake you are right in that aspect. I cried when I listened to your speech because you are the Republican that I identify with. And yet, you are learning like I learned that traditional conservatives don’t belong in the Republican Party anymore. Ronald Reagan famously said that he didn’t leave the Democrat Party but the party left him. That speaks for me in that I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the party left me. I remain a Never Trumper because I want to preserve the last best place on earth that we call the United States. I have some requests for you Jeff. I want you to drive the issues in the Senate and become a deep thorn in the side of Donald Trump. Remember actions speak louder than words, and I want you to push the Russian investigation and hold Trump accountable when it comes to Russian sanctions. I want you to challenge Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to put country over party. If the GOP is going to continue its path of party over country then its going to drag down the country. You know what I do today Jeff? At night I crawl into bed and watch older speeches by George W Bush, Ronald Reagan or even Eisenhower online, You spoke up Jeff, and this is me taking a break from my normal subjects to do a post out of the normal life and speak up in a different way. E pluribus unum should be branded on the heart of everyone who calls this country home. We are rich and strong but we can’t live in a vacuum. That is how democracies are destroyed. Too much is at stake in our democracy for us to stay silent. But I do believe Jeff that the Republican Party now needs to follow the Whigs and the Know Nothing into the history book having been destroyed by Donald Trump. Can you serve our country by working with Evan McMullin and creating a new party for traditional conservatives and moderates? The sooner that happens the better. I also want you to know that I am putting country above party these days. Due to the issues with the GOP I no longer vote Republican. In a couple of weeks we are having the gubernatorial election here in Virginia. From what I have read many believe that this is going to be the first national test for a regular election on Trump. So what I am going to do, is this conservative is going to vote Democrat to help send a message that abuse in power will not be tolerated. But Jeff please be a leader and organize a new party and give people like myself a place to call home. We are homeless. The sad reality is this..if the GOP is going to become home to people like Roy Moore in Alabama or Steve Bannon then the party is going to be a haven for bigots, Neo-Nazis and fascists. There is no excuse now for being ignorant. All you have to do is read and watch the news. But Jeff I love you, and wish I could vote for you. I hope I get to meet you one day.
Please take care,