I was raised in a conservative family. One of my first political memories was of my Dad enlisting the help of me and my sister to persuade our Mom to vote for Ronald Reagan instead of Jimmy Carter. The party of Lincoln became my own and I couldn’t wait until I could mark my ballot for the Republican nominee in my first presidential election.
However, the party I grew up in has become the party I have outgrown.
Two different Americas were presented in the RNC and DNC conventions. One was hopeful, inspiring, grown-up. The other was fearful, angry and filled with paranoia. In watching the Republican political theater, I hoped to find the vestige of the party I once called my own: one of compassionate, conservative values: one of embracing and believing in the greatness of America: and one of strong, united leadership.
Instead I saw a party that played on people’s fears and stoked the embers of bigotry and isolationism. From Rudy Giuliani’s unhinged rant to Chris Christie’s over the top indictment of Clinton all before a provoked crowd that might as well been yelling “crucify” instead of “guilty,” I was embarrassed for the party and for America. While the speeches of Donald Trump’s children were eloquent, they did nothing to sway me since we can fact check what Trump truly believes just by reading the man’s Twitter account.
But the truth is I don’t have to look any further than my own family to know what Donald Trump thinks.
My husband was a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf War. Thank goodness he wasn’t captured, because as we all know Trump does not consider prisoners of war as heroes when he said this of Senator John McCain, “He’s not a war hero…I like people who weren’t captured”. My husband is also Hispanic and his mother was born in Mexico along with all those other Mexican “rapists” and “criminals” and my hard working Muslim brother-in-law wouldn’t even be allowed to enter the United States to see his nieces under a Trump presidency.
But it doesn’t stop there. I have one daughter who has cerebral palsy and when Trump mocked a reporter with disabilities, he mocked my daughter. He managed to insult the rest of my daughters along with every other woman when he said this of presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that face? Can you imagine that face as our next president?” It seems that whenever Trump opens his mouth he insults another member of my family. We also have a beagle Trump, maybe you would like to insult our dog too?
I wouldn’t tolerate this type of speech from my children and I certainly won’t tolerate it from a presidential candidate so it makes me wonder ― where are the old guard Republican leaders in all of this? Their silence is just as offensive as those that defend Trump’s comments. Our founding fathers didn’t intend for our elected leaders to make a career out of politics. Serving in Congress was just to be for a short time and then you would move on and return to your real job. It seems to me that the Republican leaders are more concerned about holding on to their positions then doing and saying the right thing.
I’ve watched as Republicans shut down the government when they didn’t get their way like some spoiled little children. I’ve watched as they forgot the art of compromise and I’ve watched as they turned a deaf ear and looked the other way as a cancerous strain of racism and paranoia infected the party ― my party. They did nothing to stop those voices from getting a platform, and now the accumulation of their ineffectiveness is a presidential candidate who embodies the worst of people.
I’m done watching. The Republican party has lost my confidence, my affiliation and most importantly they have lost my vote.
For me the choice is clear. Trump does not represent my family, the America I want my girls to grown up in or the America I want the world to emulate. There is enormous leap going from the board room to the situation room and this fall I will be marking my ballot for the Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton.