To the editor,
I come from a family of life-long registered Republicans going back many generations in Oswego County. Various family members have served the Republican Party over the years in positions ranging from administrative staff to county clerks and judges, all working faithfully for the GOP.
Sadly, the party has taken a dark turn since the days of my grandparents and is no longer the Grand Old Party that I grew up with.
My grandmother was always a proponent of bipartisanship: she would vote for, in her words, “the guy - or the lady - who can get the job done.” I will never forget the look on her face when Donald Trump was nominated as the Republican candidate, or the shock and dismay in her voice as she said, “My God, what has happened to my party…we’ve just nominated our own Hitler.”
Having lived through the Second World War, she saw something in him that so many others seemed not to notice. My grandparent’s generation sacrificed too much in their fight against the rise of fascism across Europe to allow those same principles to flourish in our own country today.
As a staunch conservative and “dyed-in-the-wool” Republican, my grandfather maintained that it should be illegal to display the Confederate flag in public anywhere in the United States. He saw the flying of an enemy flag not as a first amendment issue, but as a treasonous act in itself. On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, the Confederate flag flew in the United States Capitol.
This is not acceptable. This was not a protest or an airing of grievances. It was a declaration of war.
The GOP is no longer the beloved party of my grandparents, but instead represents the dual threat of the rebirth of the Confederate States of America that our nation defeated long ago, alongside the resurgence of the brand of white supremacy espoused by the Nazi party that we helped stamp out on the European continent.
This is what’s become of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. He incited the appalling behavior that took place last week with his baseless claims of voter fraud, he encouraged it as it was happening, and in the time that has passed since our sacred temple of democracy was defiled, he has refused to take any action to calm his riled followers, even as their plans for further violence in the days leading up to Inauguration Day continue to proliferate on social media.
Whether the Republican Party can survive the onslaught of white supremacy and fascist extremism that has taken hold under his leadership remains to be seen, but we must do everything in our power to protect our country, even if it means breaking with the party.
President Trump does not represent the values that the Republican Party once upheld, or that it should uphold. His divisive rhetoric over the years has served only to drive our country and its people apart, and to destroy the spirit of bipartisanship that once enabled our elected representatives to work together for the benefit of the country as a whole. His own behavior both prior to and since the election has been nothing short of traitorous, and must not be without consequence if we expect our republic to survive.
It is imperative for Congress to take decisive action, and this action must go further than a second impeachment. This time around, his impeachment must be followed up with a conviction and removal from office to send a message that such efforts at division will not be tolerated in this country. We are the United States of America, and taking a stand against those who wish to divide us is our only path forward to unity.