108 Pine Hill Dr.
Winchester, VA 22603
June 26, 2016
Letters to the Editor/Open Forum
"It's Decision Time"
“Which Will it Be?"
It really is decision time for people who call themselves "Republicans". Will they do the right thing? Or will they follow "party loyalty" and fall in line to support a Presidential nominee who is not only unfit, crude, bigoted, mean-natured, and a pathological liar, but who would also be dangerous to the country and to the entire world if he were ever able to wield the power of the Presidency?
This man is so completely lacking in the values by which our society has been built that he should be vigorously rejected on that basis alone by everyone who thinks of him/herself as being a decent person and who makes an effort in his/her life to do the right thing. Will we soon be seeing placards which declare, "Christians for Trump"? Yes, that sounds way beyond any logic, but it could happen. There is presently a divide among Evangelicals over whether to support him because he has spoken in support of some of their beliefs.
Most elected Republicans and other Republican leaders have, sadly, chosen to stick with "Party loyalty". Even when they have stated that he would be bad for the country and/or that his character is lacking, most have gone along, afraid to challenge Trump's power grab. To borrow a phrase from Richard Cohen, we have had on display a great many "Profiles in Cowardice".
There have been some noteworthy Republicans who have come out publicly against Trump--Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, Mark Kirk, Jeb Bush, Hank Paulson--but these have been too few to mount any real resistance. Presumably, these have helped to influence some Republican-leaning voters.
And there have been a number of prominent Republican writers and columnists who have voiced strong opposition to Trump's candidacy. Serious Republicans in our area are not going to take my advice about a candidate, but it is reasonable to expect that they would take into account what is said by the professionals who have worked in the field for years. Republican voters have, in the past, valued the opinions and counsel of these people.
It is significant that well-known conservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan have rejected Trump. If some voters feel that there is not enough "gravitas" attached to those 2 men, how about Kathleen Parker and Michael Gerson? Both of those Republican writers have been repulsed by Trump's displays of poor character.
Michael Gerson has been saying for more than 6 months that Republican conservatives should join together and run their own Presidential candidate in opposition to Trump. Mr. Gerson acknowledges that Republicans would lose the election in such a scenario, but he asserts that they would maintain their respect and dignity, and that is more important.
If those names somehow don't impress Republicans enough, then how about George Will and Charles Krauthammer, for crying out loud? Both of these men have stated in writing that they will not support Trump, and George Will has now said that he is resigning from the Republican Party and that he will not re-join until Trump and his influence are completely purged from the Party. If even the views of those 2 are not enough to get some people to cleanse their thinking, then it is unlikely that anything would.
Recent letters about Trump in the Star show that, locally, some people do get it. Karen Wade, for one. Jim Wright definitely gets "it" (and a good bit more, it appears). Others continue to feel compelled to write in to express how much they hate the Clintons, Obama, all Democrats--and perhaps me, for expressing opinions which are different from theirs. Unfortunately, in their zeal to express themselves, they resort to repetition of erroneous statements--and some outright lies--which they must have heard or read somewhere.
And some of these writers will even make totally absurd statements, such as one saying that my essay from May could have in any way been applied to President Obama. Or that I have ever said that the Star will not print "leftist" views. Must be something that he heard or read somewhere . . .
I have always stated to people, "One thing I can say about the Star is that they will at least print letters from people like me, who disagree with their positions."
But there was one response to my May essay which goes beyond any definition of decency. What is wrong with a person who would make a sexual reference about Bill Clinton and my daughter because he disagrees with my opinions? And why would a "community newspaper" print such a thing?? Really.
It is true that there are millions who have been "left behind" as the economic landscape has shifted, both nationally and internationally. And it is true that politicians--and not just Republicans--have often not paid enough attention to their plight. It is understandable that people in those circumstances could feel angry. But anger is just anger, and, when it is too strong, it impedes--or even blocks, totally--any movement towards solutions. And those who fan the flames of anger for their own aggrandizement are charlatans, not saviors.
It is good that the reality of the country's economic injustices have been focused on during this election cycle. There are systemic changes which are needed. People like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have spoken vigorously about these needs. However, proposals which are, at base, "win-lose" only perpetuate the problems (and the anger). Solutions must be built around the recognition that there is a basic need for dignity, hope, and fairness which all individuals and all groups within our society have.
This remains true: A basic starting point for policy--and for our responses to others--is to use the commandment that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. In this current atmosphere of unhappiness and strife, too many people are losing sight of that.