I have tweeted about this a great deal: the senior Republican Party leadership is about the unleash on the world a President who is a Russian spy and all manner of other unspeakable things. Which leads me to my Big Question in this post: What in the world has happened to the Republican Party? The Party of Lincoln and Reagan has become the party of Tricky Dicky Nixon and Trash Talking Trump the Russkie Spy.
How? What has possessed the senior Republican leaders to allow Trump run for the party? Did they do no background checks? Did they not talk to other people, do some research? Or did they know who and what he is and deliberately supported and abetted him in his efforts to turn America over to Putin?
I voted for Ronald Reagan both times he ran for President. I was a fan then, and I am a fan now. Which makes the current state of the Republican party even more bewildering and incredible to me.
President Ronald Reagan, in his 1989 Farewell Speech to the nation left his fellow Americans and his fellow Republicans a marvelous vision for how he wanted America to be as he passed on to his reward. At one point in the speech he said something all Americans need to absorb into their bones:
“We the People” tell the Government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver – the Government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the People” tell the Government what it is allowed to do. “We the people” are free.
By the way, I heartily recommend reading the full text of Reagan’s Farewell Speech. You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/12/news/transcript-of-reagan-s-farewell-address-to-american-people.html?pagewanted=all
When I read the full text of the speech again last night, this part made tears come to my eyes and drove me to my computer to write this post:
The past few days when I’ve been at that [White House] window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the shining “city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important, because he was an early Pilgrim – an early “Freedom Man.” He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat, and, like the other pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.
I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace – a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.
That last part of Reagan’s beautiful speech I have shared above gets to me, right in the gut. In the past few days the Republican Party has reaffirmed its horribly divisive and horribly expensive plan to build a wall to keep Mexicans out. Trump says Mexico will pay for it one day and then another he wants to hand the bill to the American taxpayers. Either way, we know he won’t pay for it. He has a long track record of refusing to pay for the honest labor of others.
The whole wall idea is crazy, it is racist, and, as you can see, it runs 100% contrary to Reagan’s lyric and arresting vision of how he wanted America to be. Reagan wanted this country to be open to anyone who, as he says so well, who has the will and heart to get here. Reagan never told anyone he was going to put together deportation gangs.
The wall Trump trumpets on and on about has become a fitting symbol for the hate in his heart. But it does not need to become the symbol of the Republican party.
I started this post with a question: What in the World Has Happened to the Republican Party? I close with two more questions.
#1: How can the Senior Republican Party leaders, especially those who have thrown their support so vociferously behind Donald Trump in the past month, justify what they have done to the party of Reagan by putting Trump forward and continuing to support him?
#2: When will the Republican Party cleanse itself of this corruption from the top down and return to the soaring and inspirational core values and actions which once made this party the party of Lincoln and Reagan?
I, for one, can’t wait to hear the answer to my last question.