Wednesday, October 16, 2019
FlashbacksIn this issuePrevious StoriesThe Seyler Perspective

Republican friends, what happened to you?

Hi, Republican friends! It’s been a while since I’ve seen many of you in person. And how you’ve changed! You used to be all about standing tall with our allies, free trade, balanced budgets, morality and family values. And I was pretty sure you thought truth and honesty had some value.

These days, it seems none of these things hold water for you. Is it that you love Donald Trump so much you’re willing to turn your back on first principles? Or has it always been simply about the word “Republican” without regard to the values associated with it?

The fact that I see so many of you defending Mr. Trump’s shameful and pathetic performance with Vladimir Putin (to say nothing of Kim Jong-un) is frankly unbelievable.

This is because, despite our long-standing differences, I thought we basically stood together when it came to America’s global leadership. We may have differed on specific policy points, but we absolutely agreed that we had a critical role to play, and one of those was role model.

On many occasions, progressives such as myself have thought the FBI and CIA were out of bounds, and we have never been shy about calling them out. Most of my Republican friends were equally fervent about defending these institutions.

So the pure shock of seeing a sitting president of any party accept the word of a murderous totalitarian dictator and ex-spy above that of his own intelligence staff is surpassed only by the shock-inducing, full-throated support from the very same people who once said I was out of line for criticizing those institutions.

That the whole sordid episode comes right on the heels of inciting a global trade war and initiating an unbridled attack on NATO would be beyond the bounds of fiction were we not watching it in real time.

Who knew that Public Enemy #1 is Canada?

The thing is, many of you seemed to know Trump was trouble back during the 2016 primaries. I saw many of you criticize him quite harshly. Now I see the same people saying they love that man. What the hell happened?

The destruction of America’s standing as a leader of the free world is only a part of the toppling of what I thought were core Republican ideals.

Free trade: In truth, I can’t remember the last time tariffs were an issue for anyone in either party. But Republicans in particular were always in favor of market forces over artificial instruments such as tariffs. Now, you suddenly just love them, even though this lose-lose-lose proposition is already proving harmful to American businesses, American workers, and America’s relationships with virtually every nation on the planet.

Deficits: Well, Republicans gave up on this one some time ago. If deficits are for expenditures that might benefit the average or the poor American, they are bad. But if they’re incurred to pay for massive tax cuts for the rich, they’re good! The fact that neither Reagan’s nor Bush’s tax cuts paid for themselves as promised means nothing—Trump and Congress just did it again.

Morality: Remember back when a presidential indiscretion was cause for impeachment? Trump’s well-publicized indiscretions and the resultant hush payments are apparently okay. One religious advocacy said he gets a mulligan. Right.

Family values: Ripping babies and toddlers from desperate parents fleeing death squads is purely and simply inhumane. The Republicans I used to know wouldn’t have put up with it, or so I believe. Now, I guess it’s what Jesus would do, as witness to Jeff Sessions quoting the Bible to defend Trump’s immigration policy. Deeply offended religious organizations of every stripe loudly rebutted Sessions’ grotesque misuse of religion. How come Trump supporters don’t get it?

Truth: Lying is bad, right? But Trump gets away with it all the time and often with utter impunity. Consider his frequent campaign promise to give everybody health care. Trump has done nothing but reduce the number of covered individuals, and he continues to call for more reductions. Clearly, he had no intention of keeping his promise. When you promise to do something you have no intention or capability of doing, it’s called lying. And calling any report of your failure “fake news” is also lying.

I could go on. And on! But let’s sum it all up.

I used to have long, thoughtful, and pointed debates with many of my Republican friends. We were able to debate because, as Americans, we shared certain core beliefs. We focused less on what a result should be and more on how to best achieve that result.

Now, who knows what the core beliefs are? Who knows what the next Trump policy will be? As to this Putin thing, I remember very well in the not-too-distant past when one prominent Republican accused one of my favorite candidates of “palling around with terrorists.” Now, in the harsh glare of the world electronic press, our president is toppling our most important international treaties and palling around with dictators. I don’t remember a national dialogue to the effect that United Kingdom, France, and Germany are bad; Russia and North Korea are good. But here we are.

So many of you are cheering it on.

I just don’t get it. I’d like you to be the way you were, with principles that lasted longer than the whim of the current resident of the White House.

Please come back, my Republican friends. Before it’s too late.


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Craig Merrill

Well said Dave. Those who continue to stand behind 45 are doing so out of ignorance (they don’t grasp the damage being done) or the fear of having to admit they made a bad decision. Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse.

David Mabe

It’s the Goldwater prophesy come to pass.