by Brett Farley
This morning I sent an urgent message to the Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party insisting that the party release a statement thusly:
“The Republican Party was founded to promote certain principles, rights and values that befit a free and moral people and to advance candidates for office who will defend them. It has been demonstrated finally and without question by this most recent revelation of what Donald Trump has said and what he said he does that he is wholly unfit to continue as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We, the Republican Party of Oklahoma, join the growing chorus of party leaders and elected officials around the country in demanding that Mr. Trump withdraw as a candidate for president in order that the Republican National Committee may begin the necessary process to select an alternate nominee who will more appropriately represent our party and its members.”
The response I received indicated a refusal to make a clear and unequivocal statement of the sort that has already been offered by dozens of Republican elected officials and leaders nationally. Therefore, just before 11am CST I offered my immediate resignation as Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Republican Party. The time for bold action is now. I can no longer countenance an official role with a party that is unable or unwilling to act upon the pressing moral gravity of the situation at hand.
No doubt my decision will bring with it certain derision and charges of political desertion from members of my party. And I expect fully that it will come at a cost to my professional reputation and perhaps even of a financial nature. But no cost is too great compared to what I must necessarily sacrifice if I were to continue supporting in any official capacity a party that refuses unequivocally to reject such a man.
That I am not changing my party affiliation is a mere matter of unfortunate circumstance in that it is already too late to reregister prior to next month’s election. Moreover, Donald Trump’s defeat at the hands of the weakest Democrat challenger in a generation is almost certain; therefore, I hold hope that we might find a collective dignity with which to begin picking up the pieces from this electoral wreckage to rebuild the party of Lincoln and of Reagan.
I am the father of three daughters with a fourth daughter due in February. One of my greatest joys of late has been teaching my oldest daughter of twelve years about the sort of character and Christian ethic that befits a man worthy to call himself one day her husband and my son-in-law. I cannot and I will not, then, through some twisted logic attempt in the same breath to justify a vote for a man who is the quintessential opposite of everything I am teaching her to expect in a man. To put a finer point on it, I cannot bring myself to place a mark next to the name of a man whom I cannot trust to be alone in a room with my daughters.
Once upon a time the word ‘party’ meant more than simply a letter after a candidate’s name. Not so long ago, membership in a political party meant necessarily that one ascribed to a set of principles and policies that he or she believed along with fellow members would aid our republic in creating a brighter future for our posterity. That word now clearly rings hollow.
If many of my Republican colleagues are to be believed, we have some sort of unholy imperative to cast a vote for a man simply for the fact that the letter ‘R’ follows his name, despite that that man has publicly professed values and positions in recent years — and in many cases within recent months — that are diametrically opposed to the very platform passed by the same delegates who gave him our party’s nomination. The argument can be summed thusly: Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton.
Never has more tortured logic been proffered by members of our party to justify support for a man so politically and morally bankrupt. It is an argument so specious that any further attempt to disprove it would be a waste of keystrokes. But it suffices to point out that it is precisely the same argument offered by our counterparts to justify an unwitting vote for Hillary Clinton.
Other of my colleagues offer a justification which can be summed: Donald Trump because SCOTUS. Never before has our party so willingly turned a deaf ear to history and practical political reality until now. Even in our best days, Presidents Reagan and Bush, solidly conservative Republicans, managed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who gave the deciding votes in some of the most egregious decisions in the Court’s history. Yet these same colleagues argue that we can trust a man who has broken promises to customers, business partners, wives and God himself to uphold his tentative pledge to nominate conservative justices.
Ronald Reagan once famously quipped about his switch from Democrat to the Republican Party that he did not leave his party, for his party had already left him. Over the years I have often wondered what such a scenario might look like on this side of the partisan divide. Alas, I need not wonder any longer; the answer is plainly before us.
December 17, 1998, my 21st birthday, is a date I will never forget. It was the date originally scheduled for the impeachment vote by the House of Representatives for President William Jefferson Clinton. I recall vividly watching the television two days later at a Pizza Hut just off the campus of the University of Oklahoma as Republican members of the House voted finally to impeach. They did so after having concluded that the unbecoming behavior and subsequent obstruction and perjury by Clinton met the threshold for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Not even 20 years hence a majority of the members of that same party have nominated a man who publicly brags about that same felonious behavior. Not only has he refused to repent of his transgressions, Donald Trump celebrates them in the worst instance and, at best, offers a token apology that “some may have been offended.” Is this what our party stands for today? Is this the man we want our children and grandchildren to look to as the exemplar of that “shining city on a hill”? I pray not.
The time for political machinations and twisted reasoning has come to end. It is time now for each of us to appeal to the better angels of our nature and vote with moral courage, not with a vain fealty to some predisposed partisan obligation. Our consciences, our posterity demand more of us. On November 8, I will be placing a mark neither by the name of Hillary Clinton nor by that of Donald Trump. And years from now when my children ask me to detail for them the history of the Republican Party and of our participation in it, my solemn prayer is that we may still call it ‘our’ party.