CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle recently submitted this opinion piece to the Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle:
All of my life I have known the values for which the Republican Party has stood. When I was growing up in Illinois my US Senators included Republicans like Everett Dirksen and Charles Percy. When I lived in New York City in the 1970s the mayor was John Lindsay, the Governor was Nelson Rockefeller, and one of the US Senators was Jacob Javits; all Republicans. When I was in New Jersey I was honored to offer the invocation at the inaugural of the new Republican Governor Thomas Kean. When I lived in Ohio I worked closely with George Voinovich, a Republican who served as Mayor of Cleveland, Governor of Ohio, and then as one of our US Senators.
As a lifelong Democrat myself, there were always areas of public policy with which I often disagreed with those Republican leaders; especially involving financing for services to the poor and marginalized. However, I never doubted their integrity, their intelligence, or their patriotism. I no longer see or hear from the Republican Party I once knew.
This change in the party cannot be blamed on Barry Goldwater in 1964 or the emergence of Ronald Reagan in 1976. I doubt that either of them could win a national election today if they ran as Republicans. This new Republican Party is xenophobic, anti-immigrant, unashamedly pro-Wall Street, and seems determined to use voter suppression and conspiracy theories to promote their political agenda.
No major Republican political leader has confronted Donald Trump on his attacks on traditional allies like Great Britain, Australia and Germany. They have been strangely silent about his repeated lies about the size of his electoral college win, or the size of his inaugural crowd, or the millions of illegal voters in the 2016 election, or his claim that thousands of people from Massachusetts voted illegally in New Hampshire, or his promise to prove that he was innocent of eleven sexual assault charges, or his recent outrage that the British Secret Service was somehow involved in wire-tapping Trump Tower at the direction of President Obama.
Instead, you hear Congressman Steve King of Iowa spewing venomous notions about “other people’s babies,” and Steve Bannon and Steve Miller directing Trump into an increasingly white nationalist agenda that is being regularly applauded by David Duke of the KKK. You hear Chris Collins of nearby Erie County supporting or defending every word that comes from the mouth of Donald Trump.
This is not the once proud GOP – the party of Abraham Lincoln. This is not the party of Dwight Eisenhower who warned against the military industrial complex. This is not the party of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush who appointed Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to be US Secretary of State.
We need a strong two-party system in our country, but we do not have one. The Democratic Party is devoid of new ideas and younger leadership. The Republican Party, either by consent or by silence, has lost its soul. In their song “Mrs. Robinson”, Simon and Garfunkel ask the question, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?…Jolting Joe has left and gone away.”
The same seems to be true of what I remember about the Republican Party.
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