To My Republican Friends

To my Republican friends, let me start out by saying this- I love you guys. Some of you are my family, people I grew up with, my friends, former teammates, college fraternity brothers- all people I’d run into a fire with, gladly. You’re good people, productive members of your communities, and positive examples of being human beings. I really do value you, and I think you’re great, even when you’re calling my President an illegal immigrant, socialist, and weak. I think you’re great, even when you call the candidate I’m going to elect President this Fall a criminal. I think you’re great, even when you call my party “commies,” or any other insults you hurl at us. I really do.

The thing is, I basically try to let you hurl those insults at Democrats, liberals, “the media elites,” academics, and activists, without really challenging you. Part of why I usually let you go is because I do like you, and I do want to continue to associate with you, so I don’t want to make things awkward all the time. The other reason why, and you’re not going to like this, is because you’re wrong. You’re wrong, and thankfully America finally figured it out. You’re wrong, and that anger at liberals and Democrats caused you to go completely unhinged over the past eight years, beginning with the ignorant banter of Sarah Palin, and reaching it’s coda with the rise of Donald Trump and his white grievance politics. You’ve spent 25 years trying to destroy Hillary Clinton, with allegations of bad land deals, murders, carpet-bagging, Benghazi, and e-mails, and not only did you never even get her charged with a crime, you’re actually electing her President. Yes, my Republican friends, your anger has consumed you to the point of nominating a candidate for President who’s completely unacceptable by any standard, and whom Hillary Clinton can simply defeat. Congratulations- the “Dark Side” has consumed you, so to speak.

The Republican Party has a great history, and is an institution worth saving, and this is why I’m writing to you today. Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and for that matter George H.W. Bush were all respectable Presidents and people, and they represent the best of American politics and government. Donald Trump is not these people. The Tea Party Caucus in the House is not these people. Ted Cruz is not these people. Sarah Palin is not these people. What the Republican Party has become is not an electable party, because the younger generations, minority groups, and educated voters just won’t accept that, and they represent the majority of America’s electorate now. The Republican Party has abandoned who it was, which I didn’t agree with, to become something that most of us just can’t even accept. The Republican Party that emerged at the end of the 1960’s was an establishment party that wanted to de-regulate the economy, cut taxes, destroy the “safety net” in the economy, and spend a lot of money on Defense weapon systems, all of which are things I disagree with, but could treat as legitimate debates. The Republican Party of 2016 is barely recognizable as that.

We get it, you hate Hillary Clinton, and you have for 25 years. Fine. We don’t. Benghazi is not a crime though. Having a private e-mail server is not a crime. You’ve spent millions in tax dollars in an effort to prove to the world that Hillary is a criminal, and instead you’ve failed to find a crime, and you’re going to elect her President. It’s time to stop.

We get it, you hate abortion, and the whole idea of birth control, the sexual revolution, and women having choices. That’s your right to believe. Here’s the facts though- abortion rates are lower under administrations that increase access to birth control and contraception than they are under administrations trying to push abstinence-only policies and outlaw abortion rights. Trying to get rid of Planned Parenthood, by defunding it or criminalizing it, is not saving babies, or convincing women to make different decisions, or frankly doing any political good to you. It’s time to stop.

We get it, you think that we solved all racial problems in the 1960’s. You don’t want to hear about systemic racism, or about how police shoot African-American men more often than any other group. You don’t want to hear about the problems of predominantly black schools, and you want to hear how “all lives matter.” You hate affirmative action. Look, I’ve got bad news for you though- racism is still a thing. Racial profiling is still bad. African-American men are still 2.5x more likely to be shot by a cop, and 5x more likely to be while unarmed. I won’t even get into the use of the death penalty, and it’s racial bias. You might not like it, but race still matters in America. It’s time to stop fighting this battle.

We get it, you believe in magic, that low taxes create jobs, that most of your tax dollars go to “lazy welfare recipients,” that regulation kills business, that the minimum wage is a sham, and that we need “less government.” The problem you have, of course, is that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s administrations disagreed with you on these policies, and they saw record breaking job growth- while George W. Bush agreed with you, and well, yeah. Tax cuts don’t create jobs, businesses hire based on supply and demand, and would do so regardless of whether the top tax bracket is 36% or 39%. Welfare is a tiny fraction of our government spending, and probably takes less than a nickel on your tax dollar to fund. Regulation might cut into corporate profits, but if you have to dump chemicals into the water, make risky trades on the market, or put your workers in dangerous conditions to make an extra buck, you’re not the kind of business that society needs to exist. As for the minimum wage, maybe that economics class you took in college told you it’s a job killer, but New Jersey and Seattle aren’t exactly going through “depressions” since raising the wage. As for “small government,” go tell the road crews, teachers, cops, military men, veterans, farmers, fire fighters, food inspectors, and others receiving government contracts or salaries that their jobs aren’t helping the economy. I’m sure they’ll agree with you. It’s time to stop.

I know though, you’re alarmed that the government’s going to make more rules for guns, or as you put it “take my gun away.” You’re equally alarmed that they’re going to let transgender people into your bathroom, like you were alarmed ten years ago about that gay couple on the corner getting married. You’ve got to “take your country back,” from whom I don’t know, but you feel under assault. I’m not sure how many Democrats are going to have to not confiscate your guns after you accusing of them of wanting to, or how many different ways of “gay-baiting” you’re going to try without ever realizing your worst nightmares, but these culture wars are pointless, stupid, and without any merit. Regulating guns is completely constitutional, and is done around the world with great results- and it doesn’t equate out to a “gun grab.” LGBTQ people are not going to hurt you- I promise you that, they never have. The culture wars have run their course- it’s time to stop.

Finally, we get it that you are afraid of immigration now. You know, we were a nation of immigrants, it’s how we started. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, two of our great national symbols, were the first place immigrants came to when they arrived in America. You keep saying that more immigrants, especially from Mexico, will kill our labor market. American business leaders just keep disagreeing. Maybe it’s the “rapists and drug dealers” you’re afraid of, I don’t know. In all seriousness though, we’re not going to “round ’em up” and send them all back though, so it’s time for a comprehensive, humane solution to our immigration issues, the type your party is stopping. It’s time to stop.

I could go on, but forget the policy issues for a minute- whether we agree on that stuff or not, surely neither of us wants a madman for a President. Donald Trump is not qualified to be our President. He makes a fool of himself daily with statements like “Putin won’t go into the Ukraine.” He makes a fool of himself daily with statements about the “second amendment people” handling Hillary. He scapegoats Mexicans, Muslims, and women. He insults POW’s and the disabled. He brings us back to a time when enemies built walls along their borders. He talks about “Making America Great Again,” while making his products in Bangladesh and China. He talks about his great record as a businessman, while bankrupting a third of the companies he’s ran. He’s promised to bail on our treaty obligations to NATO, which would discredit us with all of our allies, world wide. He’s suggested he’s fine with a nuclear stand-off between Japan and South Korea against North Korea. His campaign manager is a Putin stooge, and Trump is out selling some of the most pro-Russian rhetoric of any Presidential candidate in modern times. He’s suggested a lack of interest in defending Israel. We’re talking about a man who wouldn’t even pay some of his sub-contractors in Atlantic City for the work they performed for him. This man actually wants to ban a religion. I suppose “family values” are finally dead to Republicans, so his affairs and three marriages probably don’t bother you at all, but it’s worth pointing out the hypocrisy from a political party who tried to destroy Bill Clinton for his affair. Trump is completely and totally unfit to be our President. He’s not qualified in any way- experience, ideas, morality. It’s time to stop this act.

So, back to my original point- you’re wrong. You’re wrong about economics, you’re wrong about immigration, you’re wrong about race. You’re wrong when you say violent crime is worse than it’s ever been, and you’re wrong when you talk about how we’re weak and vulnerable in America. You’re wrong when you scapegoat transgender people, refugees, and Mexicans. You’re wrong when you offer up Donald Trump as an actual option to fix things.

So that’s my point- I get it that you don’t like Democrats, my Republican friends. That’s fine, no one is asking you to like Hillary Clinton. We’re asking you to not vote for a national embarrassment. We’re asking you to not soil the Republican Party legacy, that of Presidents Lincoln, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, and even George H.W. Bush, but voting for this man. You’ll get another crack at electing someone human in four years.

Perhaps though, i’m missing the point in all of this- the Republican Party is where it is because of it’s people. You pushed Mitt Romney to an unelectable right-wing set of positions and cost him the 2012 race. Now in 2016, you just nominated a true bigot. I can’t get into your heads, but for as much as I like you guys, you are making these choices of your own free will. You got Bush, but he wasn’t far enough for you, so then you tried Palin and you failed. Once you got that taste of her anger and vitriol, you just couldn’t stop there, and here we are- with Donald Trump. I hate to tell you this, but this is wrong. This has to stop.