To The Herald-Whig:

Four years ago, my Republican friends echoed the words of Republican leadership. “Trump might be crass and unconventional,” they told me, “but Congress will keep him in line.” These friends were fed up with the insiderism and intractability of Washington politics and reasonably believed an outsider had the best chance of making genuine reforms. They are people who believe in the traditional Republican values of personal responsibility, small government and fiscal conservatism. These are people and values I understand and respect.

And yet the Republican Party has failed. Those who admonished him in 2016 have become his biggest backers. They abandoned small businesses to fend for themselves during the pandemic while Amazon raked in record profits. They supported trade wars and tariffs with little regard to how it would affect our farmers and factories, bailed out some while leaving others holding the bag. They nodded in agreement as the office of the president vastly expanded federal powers and grew the national debt by $7 trillion dollars. They looked the other way when members of their own party and their own president’s family engaged in insider trading and self-dealing. The president was greeted with cheers Thursday morning by members of the Republican National Committee, one day after inciting a mob to attack our Capitol.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois’ 16th District was the first Republican congressperson to suggest that President Trump is not fit for office and should be removed. He will probably not be the last. But this is too little, too late. This isn’t a game. The United States has been gravely wounded. My children will never have the opportunity to grow up in a country that takes for granted a peaceful transition of power.

The last four years have made it impossible to understand or respect the current incarnation of the Republican Party. I look at the leadership of the Democratic Party and see the cronyism and backroom dealing that Trump promised to rid us of. But I don’t see a group of people willing to toss aside the basic foundations of our nation in favor of conspiracy theories and lies they know to be false. The Democratic Party is a flawed one. But the Republican Party is a broken one. I see no home for people of conscience in the party of Lincoln, and I struggle to imagine a future for the Republican Party.

Brian Stitt

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