This is Not My Republican Party

An Open Letter to America

My fellow Americans,

As a Republican, I’m sorry. We have failed you, as a party, and as individuals.

We didn’t see this coming, and we absolutely should have. We should have been able to see what the instigators of frustration and outrage were fomenting within our base. We should have understood the implications of the last eight years, the rise of the Tea Party, and that its foundational frustration and obstinacy towards progress would lead to a monster of our own creation. We didn’t, and now it’s here.

But please believe me when I tell you that it is not what we stand for as a party, no matter how it may seem on the surface. This is not what I was raised to be a part of, and it embarrasses me to see what our public face has become today.

The Republican Party I know and belong to is not xenophobic. 
We don’t want to build a wall, or believe that all Mexicans are drug dealers or rapists. We don’t believe that all Muslims are terrorists or want to ban them from our country. These are ridiculous concepts belched forth from the mouth of a man playing on the fears and frustrations of a segment of America that’s sick and tired of government not working as it was originally designed. This country was founded as a haven for immigrants fleeing from religious persecution. We have a long and mostly proud history of welcoming the worlds’ tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. American culture is the sum of many cultures that came here seeking freedom and opportunity, and that came together over time as one to make up what we know and love as this nation. That cycle doesn’t have to stop. It shouldn’t stop. We aren’t full. The Statue of Liberty still bears the words of ‘New Colossus’ at her foot in New York Harbor.

The Republican Party I know and belong to is not hateful and brutal. 
We do not endorse war crimes — namely, the wanton killing of civilians solely for the misfortune of being related to terrorists. Those are the actions of petty and unjust leaders, and we abhor its suggestion. War is never the ideal outcome, and when it is, the inevitable civilian casualties are extremely regrettable. But to actively target the families of terror suspects is vicious rhetoric designed to fan the flames of hate fueled by the very terror we’re fighting. We should be better than this as a country. Allowing ourselves to be consumed with hatred for people that look and pray the same way as those that have attacked us may be emotionally convenient. But in the end, it gives the terrorists what they want — your fear.

The Republican Party I know and belong to is not violent. 
We do not incite assault against those who disagree with us. We do not offer to pay the legal bills if someone commits a crime on our behalf. We are on the side of the rule of law and seek to obey it and support those in our law enforcement community.

The Republican Party I know and belong to is not undignified. 
We do not stoop to discussions about the size of our hands on the debate stage with references to our genitals. We do not insist on perpetuating accusations about the citizenship of public officials when they have publically been proven false. We stand in the tradition of such great orators and statesmen as Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan. They are our lineage, and we should look to them for guidance in our present and future.

The Republican Party we need to rebuild stands for limited and efficient government.
This is as defined by the Constitution: our principles of individual liberty coupled with an acceptance of personal responsibility. The founders of this great nation put in place freedoms and liberties that we as a party must fight to uphold and expand to all citizens.

The Republican Party we need to rebuild respects the rule of law, not shout “foul” when it doesn’t go our way. 
We have to learn to accept the Supreme Court’s role in governance, even when we don’t agree with it. The court has provided plenty of controversial decisions that have sometimes been overturned, but rarely to a more “socially conservative” interpretation. We should embrace decisions that extend liberties to a broader population, not decry them because they don’t fit our personal moral code.

The Republican Party we need to rebuild does not deny rights to those we may disagree with.
We are all United States citizens and thus have the same rights under the Constitution. As a Party, we have to understand that just because something is legal doesn’t mean you have to participate in it, and just because you think something is immoral doesn’t mean no one else can do it. In that vein, when we do find things immoral in the public realm, it is important to discuss them with the respect due to others, realizing they may not share our morals, but would like to freely debate the issues. It is, in fact, an elevated and better nation when we are all able to exercise our freedoms without infringing on the rights of others.

The Republican Party we need to rebuild works together with the opposition party for the betterment of the nation. 
Both sides of the aisle have similar goals for America. We want to see our nation thrive domestically and in today’s global economy. We want to see this country band together as Americans and be our best selves. We come at the issue from different angles, with different solutions, and because of this we must all learn to compromise and work together with those we disagree with. It is essential for our government to operate as intended for both sides to come to the table as honest brokers willing to negotiate, compromise, and accomplish both short- and long-term goals.

The Republican Party we need to rebuild is an inclusive group, not exclusive. 
We don’t care what color you are, what you call yourself, or who you worship. If you’re willing to work hard and uphold the values of personal responsibility and liberty, you are welcome to share in our vision of the future. We are not hateful, fearful, or violent, but strident in our goal to extend liberty to all Americans and our partners in the international community. We are Republicans. It is our duty as a party to look to the future, not the past. We must take up the mantle that has clearly fallen from the shoulders of those who went before us, and carry it forward so that our ideals may continue to shape our great nation for the betterment of all citizens.

This is our Republican Party.

[Ed. Note: Removed the end photo from the 1988 convention as I realized that while it was nostalgic for a more politically successful time in the party’s history, it was counteractive to the point of reform.]