An Open Letter To My Midwestern Republican (And Independent) Family

I know that we don't always agree on politics, but I also know that you have always been open-minded and supportive of my personal and professional civic and political work.  So, I am hoping for some real talk... 

As the 2016 election approaches, I need to know that you are with me. I could give you every reason that Donald Trump is uniquely and profoundly unqualified to be president when it comes to national security or foreign affairs, but many of our nation's leading military minds have already done that. We could talk about his sub-par business record as evidence that he is not an economic genius, but the Washington Post already did that. I could try to convince you that he should release his taxes, or should be more honest about his relationship with Putin. But, his fellow Republicans are writing op-eds to that end.  Together, I am fairly certain that you find these arguments persuasive. 

However, the real reason that I need to believe you will vote against Trump - and for Hillary Clinton - is much more simple: his words... I cannot bear the thought that you could look your kids in the eye and tell them you were proud to cast your ballot for a man to lead our country who says the things Donald Trump says. We could be here all day reciting the list of egregious offenses to so many Americans, including many statements that ridicule members in our family: strong women ("pigs"), immigrants ("criminals"), military officers and veterans ("loser" POWs). And then after he spews his special brand of huge gold adorned hate, he has the arrogance to play us all for fools by having his surrogates provide b.s. ("blatant spin") the next day. We all hear what he says. No one - Democrat, Republican, or Independent - believes Katrina or Kellyanne (including Katrina or Kellyanne) as they stumble through their half-hearted explanations. Our family may not be Manhattan born and Upper East Side educated, but us corn-fed, cow-eyed Midwestern hicks have a sense of decency for our fellow Americans; we have a deep sense of respect for our military and veterans; and we have an abiding love of this country that our great grandparents immigrated to not so long ago. A man applying to be our President that shows up for the interview and mocks those asking the questions, or threatens the fellow-applicants, and then takes this electorate for gullible fools isn't worthy of the job.

Look, we have 70-some days until the election, and I'm imagining you feel like you are in a bit of a pickle. I know you well enough to know that you cannot vote for him to lead America. BUT, I also recognize that you aren't a Hillary fan. I know you don't agree with certain policies. And let's be honest, you do not trust her for reasons both real and imagined (though that's a conversation for another day). Here is the thing: you can still vote for her. You can trust the many Republicans who you respect and who have said they will vote for her because she is supremely qualified; you can trust many of our nation's military leaders, who worked with her as Secretary of State and trust her to be our commander in chief and lead our troops. You can trust that when she's elected, even if she is going to appoint judges further left than you, she has the utmost respect for our Constitution (and unlike Trump, she most certainly has read it!). And, you can trust that she is going to put our country ahead of her ego. For the love of our country, I can trust that you are going to vote for her.

So I want to ask you to do one thing for me, as someone who is working tirelessly because I believe so strongly that she must be our next president -- don't hide. Don't be afraid to be public about your vote. Offer all the caveats you want; make it known that you are holding your nose, whatever. But, share your opinions on Facebook and at book club that with whatever reservations you may have, you are going to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8. You see, I am pretty sure that your friends are in the same boat; and if everyone in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Chicago, Fairfax County and Denver, or across Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania gives one another permission to support this incredibly smart, hardworking, dedicated public servant, we will all wake up November 9 proud to look our children in the eye and tell them that this amazing country made history last night by defeating hate-filled and bigoted rhetoric, and elected a woman who we may not always love or agree with, but who we know will be a leader our country can be proud to call Madam President.