Letter: Leaving GOP for now
As both the Huffington Post and Montrose Daily Press wrote about this week, Donald Trump’s latest despicable tweet caused me to withdraw from the Republican Party.
Last Saturday, the Trump campaign put out a tweet indulging in an age-old stereotype: Rich Jews are responsible for all of the world’s problems. This particular tweet featured a Star of David, $100 bills, and the provocative line: Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt candidate ever. The inference is that the Jewish people are responsible for her corruption. In fact, that’s exactly how former KKK leader David Duke interpreted the tweet. He later put out his own tweet with a similar design, adding a list of seven wealthy “Zio-Tribalists” who have funded Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
This hit home in a very personal and visceral way. I have personally walked the grounds of Auschwitz, the deadliest of all of the Nazi concentration camps. My grandfather lost most of his family during the Holocaust. And I’ve been subjected to anti-Semitism my whole life. I just could not bear any longer my party being silent about Trump’s horrendous and horrific comments.
There is hope for my party. Speaker Paul Ryan did say, “anti-Semitic images [have] got no place in a presidential campaign.” And I admire the speaker for his words. But I still don’t feel he and the party have been sufficiently sympathetic. Paul Ryan is proud to say he is Irish-Catholic. Well, if Trump insinuated Joe Biden is unqualified to be vice president because of his ethnicity, I don’t think Ryan would’ve taken 72 hours to respond. In fact, I don’t think he’d be able to support Trump any longer. And that’s my exact point, an attack on one minority group is an attack on all minority groups.
First it is the Jews, but as with Hitler, he also went after blacks and gays and gypsies. How will pro-Catholic Trump supporters feel if he makes fun of Catholics for all being unintelligent followers of the pope? I could go on and on with different kinds of these examples. But when Trump makes fun of Hispanics, we should all feel Hispanic. When Trump makes fun of Jews, we should all feel Jewish. And if Trump were to make fun of all Catholics, we should all feel Catholic.
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The greatest irony is the GOP was founded by Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Honest Abe, the president who condemned the 19th century “Know-Nothing” movement that tried to prohibit Catholic immigration to America, the president who condemned Ulysses S. Grant’s anti-Semitism, the president, who yes, beautifully and courageously gave, in the end, the blacks their freedom.
The Republican Party is supposed to be the party of tolerance and inclusion. As a recent candidate for Congress, I cannot tell you how many Lincoln dinners I just attended. What’s the point of these if the GOP refuses to live by the principles of its founder? It’s the equivalent of a Christian ignoring everything Christ said and did in the four Gospels — the religion, or in this case a political party, ceases to have any more meaning.
In the final analysis, I ask all powerful Republican officials to revisit the words and wisdom of our 16th president. Make me want to rejoin the GOP. Make other good, tolerant Americans want to join the GOP. Make Abraham Lincoln himself proud.
In his first inaugural, Lincoln ended with, “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Surely, in a post-Trump era, we will, I hope, be lifted up by the better angels of our nature.
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