I sent this letter to every big name I could think of in the GOP except Trump (As stupid as he is, what would be the point?). Perhaps someone will listen, but at least I can look ’em in the eye and say, “I told you so” when things go south.
Dear Prominent Republican
Do you want a civil war?
I am asking this as a real question for which I hope your answer is, “hell no!” But, I’ve got to say, as a student of history, that’s exactly where we are headed if the Republican Party continues to support an extremist agenda. Now, to be clear, I am not writing this letter to make any kind of threats. Like any patriot, I don’t want a civil war either. I am writing this letter because I believe we are on a collision course for just such a disaster, and I am doing all I can to avoid it.
Now, why would I suggest that something so extraordinary as a real probability?
Well first off, for the past six years I’ve noticed how the Republican Party did all it could to stop Obama’s liberal agenda. After all, that was your path back to power after the pounding the GOP took in the 2008 election, and I understood your desire to push back. However, the way the GOP did it caused some unexpected blowback that cannot be ignored.
A total refusal to cooperate or negotiate with President Obama was justified to the public by a campaign that painted him as some kind of far left socialist. This, in turn, inspired your base to concoct hundreds of conspiracy theories to support your position. The talk radio jocks took it far into left field and the Republican establishment did nothing to discourage them. Was Obama a socialist? Perhaps, but that didn’t sound provocative enough. Was he a Muslim? Oh, that sounded good! Was he secretly part of Al-Qaeda? Was he born outside the USA? Was he going to pull off a coup in Texas? And as the talk radio chatter spilled out over the internet, the GOP din nothing but smile on the sidelines, knowing that it would pay off in votes.
In all this while, the uneducated masses were lapping the propaganda up with a spoon. Fed a steady diet of suspicion, fear, and falsehood, they were primed and ready for a man like Trump who would “make America great again.” So far, I’m sure I’ve told you nothing new. Sure, you may have phrased the above paragraphs a little more gently, but you’d be lying to yourself to deny its true—and I’m depending on you to be an honest person. But now, I do have something new that you may not have been fully aware of; all this time the left was watching and getting mad.
The good news was that the anger of the left was put in check by their confidence in a Hillary Clinton victory. She was seen as a shoe-in and, with her in office, liberals could feel safe that the things they hold near and dear would be protected even if the congress stayed Republican—and when she didn’t win, the left lost its collective minds.
Now, I’d be unsurprised if that last sentence didn’t make you smile a bit. After all, November 8th, 2016 was a heck of a good night for you and your friends. The image of liberals crying in their beer is sure to give you some pleasure, and I will allow you that. However, what happened next should have caused you some concern. Possets rang out across the nation that sometimes devolved into outright riots. They lasted for days in some cities and posed a serious threat to public order.
Now, did the protests disturb your calm?
If they didn’t you’re frankly a fool. However, I’m assuming you’re not a fool or else this letter is a complete waste of time. So I’ll assume you were also disturbed by the inauguration day protests, the Women’s March, and the airport protests a week later. Congressional offices have been flooded with phone calls, letters, and postcards. The White House has been forced to shut down its comments line and even offices like yours are being so flooded with calls your mailboxes are always full.
It’s almost as if thousands of people feel very strongly about something and refuse to be ignored.
Trump, I must say, hasn’t a clue. Even a casual examination of the man reveals him to be a child in a man’s body who’s enthralled by the speckle of adoring crowds that may or may not actually exist. Perhaps you don’t agree with my assessment of Trump? Fair enough, I will not belabor the point. However, I will point out that all his decisions so far seem to completely discount the mood of half of our nation. He selects the most extreme appointees, bans immigration from Muslim countries, threatens the media and alienates our southern neighbor with abandon. At the same time, GOP congressmen like Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) are jumping in with radical “Right to Work” legislation.
And frankly, to a liberal like me, it’s looking as if all our worst fears are completely justified.
So, what happens next?
That is the $100,000.00 question now, isn’t it? Thus far, the protests have been completely ignored by the Republicans in congress and one wonders when the left will realize that no one is listening. What would you do in such a situation? Would you move to Canada? Would you just swallow your rage and take it like a good boy? Or would you…how do Republicans phrase this…turn to some kind of “Second Amendment remedy?”
As your President Trump once said, “…there’s nothing you can do, people, there’s nothing you can do. But I don’t know. Maybe the Second Amendment people. Maybe?”
Now, do you honestly think that it’s only conservatives who think this way?
As our President Kennedy once said, “Those who do not make peaceful revolution possible make violent revolution inevitable.” Was Kennedy right? When liberals are forced to swallow loss after loss with no concessions of any kind, will some of them get crazy enough to start a real fight? Would people actually die?
Like I said earlier, I am a student of history. My Bachelor’s is in history from Miami of Ohio. In circumstances exactly like what I have described above, arms have been taken up and people have actually died. Have you ever heard of the Weather Underground of the 1960s or the Symbionese Liberation Army of the 1970s? How about the Irish Republican Army of the 1980s, do you know how many people died in that war? To me (and I hope to you) such a conflict is a nightmare scenario, but it’s a very likely scenario if Republicans remain committed to their current course. But the reasons behind all this fear are actually quite simple to articulate.
To quote Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach…I don’t want it any more than you do.” Are you one of those people I just can’t reach, or are you a person of insight who will listen to another point of view? I pray the latter.
This letter is my desperate attempt to un-fail that American communication. Please listen to it because the salvation I’m about to propose is simple to obtain. Are you listening? Good.
The solution is to throw the Democrats a concession or two and to do it now. As I stated earlier, the Trump administration is following the most extreme right wing policies imaginable and the Republicans in Congress are going right along with him. This is obviously not the way forward because if you back any animal up against the wall it will bite you. If however, you give a dog an occasional bone you can get him to do backflips.
Okay, so I grant backflips may be too much to ask.
But would it be too much to ask you guys to encourage Trump to nominate Eric Garland to the Supreme Court? Face it, a lot of Republicans thought he was a good choice in the first place, and it would go a long way to pacifying a large swath of liberals. Or how about some social security legislation that improves the lives of old people. Face it, the elderly are a big part of the Republican base, and grandma’ just might return the favor to you in 2018. I could go on and on, but my point is that the Republican Party has to stop enabling its most extreme fringe, restrain the president’s worst inclinations and do some tangible things in congress that will make liberal America less terrified and desperate as a whole.
Is that so hard?
No, not really. In fact, it’s a return to that good old Ronald Regan/Tip O’Neil era when government actually worked, and Americans weren’t at each other’s throats. As a prominent Republican and a decent human being, it is your duty to act. Passively standing by while conservative extremist terrify radical liberals into a bloody frenzy is not a moral option.
So, please, leave the extremists agenda behind and travel down a more moderate road. Encourage Trump to follow his better angles (Remember Lincoln?). Give the other side the occasional concessions and make some good old fashioned deals. Right now, Republicans have the executive branch, the legislative branch and most of the governorships wrapped up in a neat little bow. Times surely seem good to you. But if you don’t reach across that aisle and soon you may not only lose all that, but you and I together could lose our whole damn country to bloody strife.
And you do love your country, right?
Staff Sergeant (SA) US Army (Retired) Clayton J. Callahan