BY BOB BEARDEN
It is totally inconceivable to me – and totally abysmal, in my opinion – for a national leader of one party to be so afraid of not having his party retain majority status that he would consciously put his nation in jeopardy by helping promote the election of such a person as is the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln.
I can understand how one party doesn’t see eye to eye on a number of issues with another party’s nominee. I could on the face of it understand their objection to having a choice between a true conservative and someone much more liberally bent like Hillary Clinton.
If those differences were truly the reasoning they were offering and if the differences between the two candidates didn’t rest on one candidate’s openly vile racism and bigotry, then they might actually have a valid argument for what they are attempting to stand on.
But their stance on the issues don’t wash when, time after time, they have to cringe and walk back their party’s nominee’s pronouncements by saying they don’t agree with what he is saying, nor his philosophy, and yet still support him despite his rabidly anti-almost everything they say they stand for as a party, simply because they want to win at no matter the cost to the nation and its citizens.
Over the many years of our republic, we have had other divisive candidates. Abraham Lincoln was so divisive as a candidate as to have been the primary cause for 11 states to secede from the Union and yet he wasn’t racist nor bigoted. He stood on the principles upon which our nation was founded. That was righteous and honorable.
Teddy Roosevelt found himself often more at odds with his own party than he did with the electorate in general. So much so that after his handpicked successor replaced him in the White House he became so appalled at William Howard Taft’s policies that he mounted a campaign four years later in opposition that lead to Taft’s defeat and the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the United States.
Those examples stand the test of time because the backlash proved false and out of step with the citizens of this nation. That is simply not the case now. There is widespread disaffection within the Grand Old Party of Lincoln to their party’s nominee to the point where prominent members of that party are openly refusing to support their presumptive nominee due mostly because of his outrageous and vile pronouncements. And in poll after poll, the nation overwhelmingly agrees with them.
It is a party being split apart by its own presumptive nominee who beat out 15 other GOP wannabes. At the top the party’s leadership are House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both of whom in position to react positively, yet often reacting just the opposite. They are willing to hold their collective noses and stand by a person who is openly bigoted and racist simply because they want to keep their party in power at whatever the cost.
What would Lincoln do? What would Teddy do? Times are different and both parties are different in tenor and makeup as opposed to either party of those bygone days, but both Lincoln and Teddy were honorable and principled men, despite their acumen as consummate politicians.
I believe they would do the right thing and oppose their party’s current nominee and refuse to support him as long as he continued down the path that he has chosen to follow. Shame on McConnell and Texas Sen. John Cornyn and more especially a much more principled Ryan for taking the low road and putting their party loyalty first ahead of their loyalty to their nation.
It is, I believe, a stance that will be to their everlasting regret, and history will not be kind to them for taking it.
– Bob Bearden is a trustee of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC and a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer