I have been a loyal part of the Grand Old Party since my first election cycle back in 1976 when I was one of the few people in my Baptist college who supported Gerald Ford against the Southern Baptist peanut farmer from Georgia. I volunteered for the Ford campaign (just a one day thing) and got to shake his hand. No, he did not stumble near me. I lived through the the heady Reagan Revolution and then watched it all unravel with the Clinton reversal. I have been a consistent and loyal Republican voter in national elections. If my count is correct, this stand to be a tie-breaking election for me. I’m batting 500 in my political lifetime. 5 wins, 5 losses.
My Republican enthusiasm waxes and wanes. At times I’ve been excited and at other times I held my nose and said, “at least he’s better than the Democrat.” In my 10 election cycles there have only been 3 or 4 times I’ve voted enthusiastically and the rest of the times I’m used the latter logic, the “lesser of two evils” philosophy of voting.
I am not considering voting Democrat. They have enthusiastically and passionately embraced the culture of death, making killing babies in their mother’s wombs a virtue, a blessing, a right. They applaud it and laud it. I watched the last cycle as they loudly booed the shenanigans that included the “under God” in their platform against the clearly expressed will of the assembly. They champion perversion and oppose that which is biblical, normal, natural – the way God made us. That may not be the stand of every Democrat but it is the party line and the majority view. I will never support another candidate who gives allegiance to a party I consider debauched and opposed to what our Founding Fathers sought to establish. Just wanted to make that clear.
But I’m at the end of my ropes with my own party as well.
I am committed to principles more than I am to party. I couldn’t care less about the success of the GOP. I care about certain moral, political, and spiritual principles in government. If the party does not advance the principles, then the party can take a long walk on a short pier. The party only matters if it advances the principles.
- I want to see our nation observe the principles of the constitution as closely as we can. It was a genius governmental system and we do better when we stick by it rather than abandon it. A nation endowed by it’s Creator with certain unalienable rights.
- I want to see the moral scourge of abortion removed from our land and a culture of life replace it.
- I want to see liberty and justice for all; a true commitment to removing the last stains of racism, xenophobia, and injustice that have been the stain that has imbued our nation with a dark stain throughout our existence.
- I want to see a strong defense that is wisely used to protect us and to aid the cause of justice around the world.
That’s a short list of my principles. The party only matters because I believed my convictions were better served by the COP than by the party of death and perversion. But if the Republicans are going to abandon principle to gain power then I don’t care a lick about them. Principle matters. Party doesn’t.
But I’m beginning to think my party cares not a fig for principle.
I’ve grown increasingly suspicious that my party is more committed to pro-life rhetoric than the pro-life cause. I’ve come to wonder if my party is more prone to sound-bites than to solid strategies that will improve things in this nation. It seems as if when we get power we morph into the Democrats we railed against when we were out of power. We seem to be better at losing than at leading – absent a Reaganesque figure who can inspire and draw the party together.
Enter the Donald.
The Onion has an article that is too real to be funny about man who is declaring for the sixth or seventh time that Trump’s latest statement is so bizarre that there is no way that he can continue to stay in the race. He ridiculed McCain as a loser for getting caught and being an heroic POW. He called Megyn Kelly despicable names, in addition to the myriad of misogynistic epithets he has used in the past. He made racist comments about Mexicans. He suggested we discriminate against Muslims on the basis of their religion. He has said one outrageous, offensive, nonsensical thing after another, pandering to the lowest, most ignoble parts of the American soul, and his poll numbers defy logic. I predicted he’d topped out in the low 30s and would fade by early January. He recently hit the low 40s.
I am coming to grips with the fact that my party may actually nominate Donald Trump to run for president against Hillary Clinton. If a majority of the GOP wants Trump as its nominee it has that right. But I want to make two things clear beyond any shadow of a doubt – not that it matters, I suppose. I’m a pastor of a small church in Iowa whose only voice is this blog. But I am going to life that voice and declare these two things:
- If the GOP nominates Trump, it will lose my vote. I will not vote for Donald Trump, not even to stop Hillary Clinton whom I think may be the least honest presidential candidate in my lifetime – including her integrity-challenged husband. I will not vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances. My conscience will not allow my to vote for a man I believe to be as immoral, amoral, despicable, and wrong for America as Donald Trump.
- If the GOP nominates Trump, I will leave the party. A party that believes that this man is what America needs is not a party that represents the principles that I believe. It is a party that has bought into power over principle. It is a party that is morally compromised beyond my desire to participate. Maybe I should be there anyway, but the moment Donald Trump is nominated I will leave the Republican Party and encourage anyone else I know to do it.
1. Trump’s treatment of women is shameful.
I’m not going to link to it, but take a moment and Google “Trump’s quotes on women.” Might be better not to use your work computer. He has said some awful things about women. He judges them based on their looks. His remarks to Megyn Kelly were beyond the pale – demeaning. He called a woman who was breast-feeding her baby disgusting. Of course, I tend to agree with his opinions about Rosie O’Donnell, but he has said other things about women. If you love and respect the women in your life, if you want women treated with respect and decency, it is impossible to support Donald Trump.
2. Trump appeals to the worst in America’s soul.
Our nation’s besetting sin has been our treatment of “others.” The slave trade. Our brutalizations of the native peoples. Manifest Destiny. America has always been a great nation in many ways but like all of us individually, our nation has feet of clay. Our clay is how we treat others. It is a moral oddity, that a nation of immigrants treats immigrants so shoddily.
His statements against Mexicans, the way he talks about “the blacks,” and his general demeanor toward those who are not “respectable” members of society, especially the white society, is beyond acceptable.
One author accused Trump of appealing to a latent white supremacy and the scary thing is, the article made a lot of sense. We all want to believe that our racist history is in the past, that we’ve put it behind us and moved on to better things. Then a man like Donald Trump comes along and he begins to stroke the strings of that tune and suddenly we start tapping our feet again.
I believe that Trump has shown that racism is not gone in America. No, not everyone who supports Trump is a racist, but he is pandering to our basest fears. He does not challenge us to be more noble, to rise to become our best selves, but gives us permission to give in to our fears. He tells us that our prejudices have a basis in reality, that “they” are everything we’ve thought “they” were and we have every right to fear them. Your fears are justified after all.
We need statesmen to challenge us to challenge us to rise above our ignobility not shysters to play on those fears.
3. Trump is a megalomaniac.
It takes a certain ego to run for president. But Trump’s seems to be out of control. He offers no specifics to any questions, just the assurance that he can handle it. If Trump had been president, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened, Steve Harvey wouldn’t have biffed the name of the beauty queen, Putin would stop misbehavin7\iu]], and all problems will magically come into line. Because…Donald.
The president is not an emperor. I have been unhappy with Obama because at times I’ve felt he doesn’t understand the distinction. Trump would dismiss it completely. When challenged he goes ballistic. I would guess that as CEO bluster tends to be effective, but in budget negotiations or in a moment of international diplomacy it would be beyond counterproductive.
4. Trump lacks a moral compass.
Trump seems to lack any kind of moral guiding principles. He spoke disrespectfully of taking communion (his little cracker) and scoffed at the idea of repenting of sin (because he never makes any mistakes). He is driven by a vision of personal power and influence – winners and losers. Remember the McCain comment? McCain was a loser because he got caught. It’s not about morality or principle or doing good. It’s about winning. He talks about how tired he is of America losing. But his means of winning lacks any kind of guiding principle or spiritual limitation.
Of course, I realize that many of you will disagree. That is why this is called an opinion piece. It’s my view of things. But it is what I think.
I don’t know what is going to happen. There are two or three candidates I could enthusiastically support in the GOP race. I’m not going to name them because I don’t want this to be about any other candidate. Of the remaining candidates that are getting any press at all, I would, I think, hold my nose and vote for any one of them against Hillary. But this one I cannot, I will not – never, EVER – support.
I am not committed to the Republican Party, I am committed to principles that I believe have been best served in the GOP. If my party nominates a man like Donald Trump as it’s candidate it will be a clear signal to me that it no longer represents the principles I believe it. If that happens, once again, let me be clear:
- I will NOT vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances.
- I will change my voter registration to independent.
I will not be leaving the Republican Party. I will consider it true that the Republican Party has left me.