An Open Letter to my Republican Friends & Family

I don’t envy the position most of you are in. You hold a set of values and beliefs about how our country should be run. I respect that. I respect anyone who has the courage of their convictions, whichever side of the aisle they may sit on; even those who choose to sit in the middle or even outside the room. I’ll be honest, coming into this year, I had been leaning more Republican. I could see some, not all, but some, of the things I believe in the positions being held by your representatives. I might even have voted Republican in this year’s election. That was until you started taking Donald Trump seriously as a candidate. You kept dismissing that he might actually be your candidate, until it was too late to sway the vote to someone who would have been a better choice. I don’t know that I would have voted Republican, but I might have. You lost me the day you took Trump seriously and let him become your presidential candidate.

Even then, I took a neutral stance. I was not completely on the Elect Hillary bandwagon. I have my issues with her also. There are things she has done and said over the years that I consider bad judgment. I made it clear I was not voting for Trump, but I also was not going gung-ho encouraging people to vote for Clinton. I encouraged everyone to examine their own beliefs, values and needs and to vote their conscience. It was important to me that I, and everyone else, examine the facts, relate them to what was important to each of us and make our decision accordingly.

But now we are at October 9th, less then a month before the presidential election. It is gut-check time. After yesterday, that gut-check became very clear to me. We all know about the video that was released. I wrote about my feelings regarding it here. I encourage you to read it, but I want to address other points here.

I know you vote Republican because you believe the party platforms best represent what you believe. I will not try to change your mind about that. I respect that we all need to make the choices that best represent our personal values. It is why I am an Independent. It is why over the years I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans. I vote based on the issues and who best reflects my values and proposes the solutions I most believe in. It is what we should all do.

Except this election

I know many of you have issues with Hillary, her past actions and her policies. I am not here to support them or debate them with you. I have my own issues with many of them. But the reality is that Donald Trump is NOT the answer. He has repeatedly proven himself a bigot, a racist, a misogynist and now, there is evidence that he is also a sexual predator with a sense of entitlement that is beyond shocking. We can not leave our country in the hands of someone who has made his contempt for so many, not only in our own country, but around the world, so visible. If he becomes president, our country will suffer immeasurable harm in race relations, gender equality, international relations and more. He emboldens radical factions to speak up and more openly exercise their bigotry and sexism. If he becomes president that will only continue to grow and become more dangerous. He is, and will continue to, make us the laughing stock of the world. I hear repeatedly from friends around the world that they are in a state of shock, amusement and down-right horror and disbelief that he has been allowed to proceed so far in our political process. There is proof that radical factions around the world are using his blunderbuss to embolden their followers and activities.

My career has been built around finding solutions, not just arguing, so what do I propose? Our country can survive through 4 years of a Clinton presidency. It might not be the exact way you would like to see things, but it will survive. We have Congress as a check. So go vote down ticket. Pack Congress with your candidates if that makes you feel better and feel more in control of what will go on in Washington. Over the next 4 years, work hard to vote in a Republican worthy of the Grand Old Party positions and ideals — your positions and ideals. I encourage you to vote your conscience on every race. But please, if you care about women, if you care about children, if you care about our standing in the world, if you care about race relations, if you care about equality — Donald Trump can not be president. His “plain-talking” — read racist, bigoted, mysognistic, elitist, sense of entitlement — speech, attitude and actions will drag our country to a dark, dark place that we may never recover from. Please think long and hard before you cast that ballot in a month.