A Letter to a Republican Congressman

Ten years ago while vacationing with the family I met a freshman Republican congressman whose family was on the same tour.  Since we belonged to the same party and had a mutual friend in the U.S. House we connected.  Almost immediately I liked this young guy.  He was down to earth, level headed and thoughtful.

Over the years I followed his career and the positions he was taking in Congress.  While we haven’t agreed on many policies, my positive opinion has never changed regarding his character, his dedication to his constituents and his love of country.

Recently I decided to express my concern about the administration of President Donald Trump in a letter to my vacation friend.  This is the substance of that letter:

____________

Over the years I have watched the GOP move further and further to the right.  Fox News, dozens of right-wing radio talk-show hosts, the National Rifle Association and funding from conservative and libertarian billionaires like the Koch brothers have been pushing the Party toward a no compromise mindset that I think threatens our Republic and our democratic processes. These conservatives have fomented hatred of all those who do not agree with them.

The media, those who protest and “the Left” are demonized as dangerous or unfit to govern.  The logical conclusion is that those on the left should not be allowed in government.  A recent NRA video appeared to be a call for violence against progressives.  The NRA represents hundreds of well-armed militia groups that are eager to comply.

The election of Donald Trump has exacerbated the dangers.  I strongly believe that Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and other members of the Trump administration, along with some factions within the Party, now believe it is their mission and duty to decimate the federal administration and take complete control of the government.  If they can fill the federal benches and the Supreme Court with enough like-minded jurists they just might be able to do it.

These coming months could make all the difference for the future of the United States.  If the investigations of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and related activities by the Trump campaign and Trump’s associates are terminated without full disclosure and without prosecution of guilty parties I believe our nation will be severely and permanently damaged.

It is my fervent hope that you will help prevent these calamities.

____________

This letter might seem too pessimistic for some folks and some might scoff at the suggestion that an American political party would seek to totally eliminate its opposition.  They may counter by highlighting the separation of powers in the Constitution and claim that the Supreme Court would never allow that to happen.   I hope they are right.  But just consider what Republicans have been doing in state legislatures, in the Congress and now in Trump’s administration.

In 2010 Republicans took control of many state houses and elected GOP governors.  In 2013 many of these states enacted strict voter ID laws after the conservative majority on the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.  Federal courts have held that several of these laws were designed to make voting more difficult for minorities and others who typically vote for Democrats.  Some of these states also conducted purges of the voter rolls that resulted in the elimination of properly registered voters, particularly minorities.

In Congress Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) embarked on a policy of total obstruction of President Obama’s agenda in 2009.  His efforts resulted in over 100 vacancies on federal courts at the end of Obama’s second term and a vacancy on the Supreme Court.  It was as if McConnell believes that only Republicans should be allowed to appoint federal judges.

Of course, Trump and Senate Republicans quickly filled the Supreme Court vacancy with a very conservative jurist, Neil Gorsuch.  Over time Trump may be able to appoint two or more additional Supreme Court justices and up to 38 percent of the federal judiciary according to one study.  No doubt he will politicize the courts with judges that will support his agenda.

Recently Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as head of a newly created Election Integrity Commission.  The commission is supposedly investigating illegal voting in the 2016 election.  Trump believes voter fraud cost him the popular vote even though he has no credible evidence to prove that.  Regardless, Kobach has requested that all 50 states provide the commission with private information from their voter rolls, including how people voted back to 2006.  Kobach is a well-known champion of voter suppression and I believe he will use this information for that purpose.

Trump’s attacks on the media are continuous, unprecedented and vicious.  He even called the media the enemy of the people.  This week he lauded Poland where the press is controlled by the government and he said it was an “honor” to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin who likely ordered a cyberattack on our 2016 election and who also controls the media.

Trump seems to have no appreciation for the rule of law and he talks like a would-be dictator who would eliminate freedom of the press if he could.

Yes, some may read my letter and ask why I’m so concerned for our Republic and its democratic processes.  My answer is:  All of the above and a lot more.

About eeldav

I am a retired corporate attorney who has lived in both Europe and Asia. While working my responsibilities took me to over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
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8 Responses to A Letter to a Republican Congressman

  1. Judith Weigner says:

    Thank you for another well thought out and well written post Ron. I’m trying very hard not to get discouraged with the direction of our country and still have to believe there are more people with a brain and heart still hanging in there and who will direct a change in our country.
    Judy W.

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  2. Jack Gillette says:

    Ron, thanks for this. Do you think Mike Pence will be able to do more or less damage than Trump?

    Like

  3. Tony Dietrich says:

    All very true and very depressing. I mourn for what is happening to our country with the hatred, misogyny, racism, and incitement to violence against women, muslims, jews, blacks, and other minorities, liberals, scientists, and any group viewed as “not us”. All of this has its roots in the Republican “southern strategy”, was nurtured by Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party and other conservative extremists, and now has been taken mainstream by Trump, Bannon, and their ilk. They foment a divisive, anti government lie and conspiracy-based fervor (except where it suits their purposes). The attacks on the free press are particularly alarming since the next step is government control of the media, and the consequent control of the people. As history has shown over and over, this too easily becomes the foundation for an authoritarian destruction of a democracy. Hopefully enough people wake up to these dangers and vote in 2018.

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  4. The Pendergasts says:

    Sadly, all too true, Ron. It would be interesting to know whether your vacation friend responded. I think not, as it’s been my experience that Trump supporting Republicans have trouble honestly validating their stand on important issues. And when pressed to answer become hostile and defensive, resorting to the current mantra of blaming “fake news”. The latest horror- Kobach’s commission- should terrify every single American. And the very fact that it doesn’t horrifies me.

    Thank you, Ron.

    Judy

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  5. Jim McKeever says:

    You are absolutely spot-on, Ron. It continues to amaze me that otherwise intelligent people cannot see what is going on, not only with Cruelty Inc. in the White House, but McConnell, Ryan et al. Even if they all disappeared tomorrow, they’ve done severe damage to the national psyche, to civility and yes, to basic intellect in this country. Ironically, the most stubborn of their supporters are the ones who will suffer the most. I have a Facebook “friend” who loathes Hillary and Obama (for reasons that are basically misogynist and racist) and defends #45 to the hilt, relying on Breitbart News, Fox and the Daily Caller. I don’t know if it’s as much ignorance as willful ignorance. Either way, it’s ignorance and there’s no reasoning with him. Believe me, I’ve tried. I hope, with all of 45’s erratic behavior and the shunning he received at G20, that the “base” is dwindling and some of them will see the light. But there’s a lot of darkness we have to find our way out of first.

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  6. Ken Walker says:

    Since you began this blog I have pretty much agreed with your viewpoints as expressed therein. Now I think it is time I put a little distance between your views and my own. You have become more than a little shrill in your condemnation of Trump. Easy to do since he is an arrogant, egotistical, clown with oversize tweet thumbs. Worse, he is ignorant and apparently mostly indolent since he spends most of his time watching news reports about himself and firing back to whichever commentator has aroused his ire that day. However, you go a bit far when you claim there are “hundreds of well armed militia groups that are eager to comply” with suggestions of violence from the NRA against critics of Trump. There is no truth in your statement. Yes, the NRA has been severely critical of Trump’s critics and the mindless anti-gun campaign carried forth by Obama, Clinton, Pelosi, Feinstein and Schumer, et.al. However, I must remind you that NRA members are not only quite able to think for themselves but are amongst the most law-abiding citizens in the nation–and always have been.

    We must avoid becoming the very thing we abhor, namely, mindlessly opposed to Trump and w/o any sense of balance.

    I agree we must work to insure full disclosure about the Russian behavior and influence during the election. We must also continue to demand he disclose his tax return info so his conflicts of interest can be publicly observed and understood.(Have Russian banks loaned “The Donald” hundreds of millions??) Given all that it will only undermine our own points of view if we categorize whole groups of citizens as lawless anarchists.

    I also wish to remind everyone that our nations’ history has had times of much greater chaos, unrest, White House corruption, family nepotism, financial chicanery, bribery, embezzlement, etc., etc. before now and we have ALWAYS risen above it. Remember, we went from a corrupt Richard Nixon to a highly principled Gerald Ford in one step.

    Keep the faith and keep up a reasonable argument against the Trumpster.

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    • Jim McKeever says:

      I direct your attention to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Spring 2017 Intelligence Report, which lays out in great detail the prevalence of hate groups in the U.S. (917 active hate groups as of 2016). Many are prone to violence and have already proven that. Whether individual NRA members belong to any of these groups, I have no idea. But the recent NRA video by an angry, conservative talk show host was a thinly veiled call to arms, and you’ll not convince me otherwise. I believe it has even led to disgust among many NRA members. I don’t think Ron is “shrill” or anything close to that. He’s quite level-headed and rational in his points, and they are backed up. The lies emanating from the White House and the narcissistic, sociopathic Trump family are disgusting, and cannot be normalized.

      Like

  7. Jan P says:

    Scary stuff Ron. You leave us with hope which is what I also believe. When they go ___ We go high.

    Like

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