If you had told 12-year-old me that there would ever be a time I wouldn’t be proud to be a Republican, I would have laughed.
That 12-year-old me went door to door, campaigning with a candidate for state representative in Florida, and I worked with my mother at the local GOP headquarters.
I ended up being chosen “Most Likely To Be First Woman President” in my middle school because of my interest in politics, and my performance in a Republican/Democratic debate held in my social studies class.
This is also about the time I received my first anonymous hate mail, in response to a letter to the editor in which I detailed the negative facts about Abraham Lincoln, which seem to be ignored in history texts.
If you had intimated to “college me” that I would ever feel obligated to leave the Republican Party, I would have been incredulous.
Over my college career, I was the secretary, vice chairman and chairman of the College Republicans (CR) at my alma mater.
I helped make CR the largest student organization on campus, and we were personally credited by Texas Monthly as being instrumental in getting the first Republican state senator since Reconstruction elected from Hays County.
We were so big that we, and not the county party, threw the victory party for Reagan in 1984.
Yet here we are in 2019, and the party for which I worked has become everything the Young Democrats accused us of in ’84.
Instead of a party which holds its candidates to a moral standard, I see people I previously respected going into all sorts of theological contortions to excuse crass, sexist, racist behavior.
Worse than the justifying is the lack of any Christian charity extended to anyone who isn’t “them.”
I see an abandonment of the principles of fiscal responsibility, as the national debt spirals out of control, and the president’s golf trips and neopotistic need to promote his family above qualified statesman costs us millions.
I observe whole classes of workers vote against their own best interests, buying the idea that we can ensure foreign markets are closed to us, but somehow win a trade war.
A party which refuses to give money to prevent or ameliorate the suffering of those hit by natural disasters will gleefully plan to spend millions, at the rate of hundreds a head, to set up camps to house the innocent victims of an immigration policy which hasn’t planned for the consequence of its application.
I see an administration that cannot tell the truth to save its soul, and a party willing to turn its back on those it’s elected to serve as long as it pleases Great Leader.
I see them turn a blind eye to the breaking of immigration law by a first lady best known for her soft-porn portfolio, and yet the party will brazenly try to paint her as “classy.”
I see gross hypocrisy as those in the cult brazenly contradict themselves, often with the stark evidence of their betrayal ignored in a sort of Jedi mind-trick: “You do not see what you think you see.”
With more than 31 indictments and eight convictions and counting, I still see them constantly claiming there is nothing to see in terms of administration officials breaking the law.
The party which stood firm against the USSR now kotows to foreign masters, making us Putin’s plaything.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to even let the Senate vote on legislation, silencing those elected to represent their constituents.
They refused to consider a bill to prevent foreign interference in our elections — just let that sink in.
A party that was once known for stability now goes through advisers and cabinet positions like they are tissues. We are now an international laughingstock.
People I once valued for their intellect betray it by trying to convince me a man who shows every time he tweets, every time he speaks, the limits of his intelligence is in fact brilliant and masterful, despite the objective evidence to the contrary.
If you wanted to dispute my grades, I’d show you them. If you wanted to dispute my financial worth, I could easily prove the depressing truth.
Yet the obvious, easy way to prove various assertions put forth by the administration is excused away by those in thrall to the party.
To be fair, when 12-year-old me wrote that letter to the editor, one of the criticisms of Lincoln I made was his trampling of the U.S. Constitution and attempt to advance executive power.
At the time, I saw it as a betrayal of Republican principles, but now I must say it seems to be the raison d’etre. It has become a cult of personality, echoing in frightening verisimilitude historical precedents which don’t bode well.
The problem with proclaiming all of the above, of course, is the cultists will swarm and repeat the literal party line.
Insults and ad hominem attacks will proliferate in my in-box, and a veritable sea of straw men will descend.
While I am not a Democrat, nor even a liberal, they’ll try to tar me with that brush, although to be fair, I find that far less insulting than to be mistaken for a member of the Republican Party.
I am not alone. I know many former GOP members who are so thoroughly disgusted at their previous party that they have retreated into the comfort of being an independent.
I can only hope and pray that they, like me, stubbornly resist and refuse to allow my natural loyalty to an organization I spent most of my life supporting get in the way of what is best for my country.
CHRISTINE BARR is an educator, mother of four and former Henry County resident who now resides in Texas. Her email address is email@example.com.