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Fellow citizens, it may seem strange that I am addressing you. I have rarely voted for any of your candidates, neither have I agreed with most of your policies. Nevertheless, I have trusted your vital role in contesting the issues facing the nation, for a one-party government is the definition of tyranny. Your perspectives have provided the basis for considering the most important matters on which this Republic was founded and still endures. The nation was solidly grounded as you stood firm on fiscal responsibility, limited government, free enterprise and a robust defense force.

In the ensuing debate, sometimes you prevailed, and sometimes you did not. But think how our national integrity would have been gutted had you not demanded a rational debate on these and other critical matters. You not only insisted on debate but called forth patriots who kept the conversation honest. I look back on Republicans with whom I may not have agreed but whose nobility commanded my respect: Robert Taft, Mark Hatfield, Everett Dirksen, William Cohen, David Stockman and a host of others who kept America tied to a rational political conversation. I think of the giants you selected as presidential candidates from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan.

What has happened? Your party has been sabotaged by an unworthy, untruthful egomaniac who has frightened you into silence. No matter what you once believed, you have been reduced to immobility by this demagogue. Anyone who dares resist is destroyed, their careers demolished and their very being threatened. Hardly a single voice is raised lest a punishing wrath silence not only the voice but also the speaker.

It is as if a burglar had been given keys to the house, so instead of breaking in he simply opened the door, stole the silver and took over the master suite. But the owners were intimidated, so they knelt and shined the burglar's shoes.

That is not the end of the destruction. The great alliances which guaranteed the world’s peace since World War II are ignored; their faithful members are humiliated, told they have freeloaded on America’s taxpayers. As a result we have no partners left in confronting grave international issues. In the meantime, instead of resolving the desperate situations troubling the nations of the Near East, those countries are increasingly soaked in the blood of their own people. What is more, we just came within a hair’s breadth of war with Iran.

Republicans, why the abdication of any concern with what may well be the most critical problem facing the planet? The world is suffocating, and warnings about the disastrous effect of global warming are continually affirmed by the world’s scientists. The president claims that climate change does not even exist, let alone the result of human activity, for admitting it might injure the fossil fuel industries and their profits. So, Republicans, you are bowing to the president’s continual statements that 97 percent of the world’s scientists are mistaken.

Finally, your leader has put aside all of the above, holding that the only matter of importance is a booming American economy, evidenced in one record stock market report after another. That’s good news if you own large blocks of stocks, but if you are a simple worker whose income in real dollars has not seen a raise in 30 years, it's not good news. You cannot hide behind the economy in order to avoid facing the tragic developments cited above. Mussolini is credited for ensuring that the trains ran on time. And Hitler took credit for saving Germany from the disastrous effects of inflation resulting from the treaty of Versailles and the Weimar Republic.

Republican patriots, I realize that none of the above comes as news to you, and I know that for many of you it raises as much discomfort as it does for your political opponents. But you are faced with a terrible dilemma. You are caught between the demands for political unity and horror over the acts of the tyrant who has kidnapped your party. How you resolve this conflict may be the most important decision your party will ever make.

Charles Bayer

Charles Bayer is a somewhat retired theological professor and congregational pastor. 

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