I recently stopped by the website of Republican Voters Against Trump, and I am so glad I did. It’s run by a bunch of people with whom I seldom agree, and in a few cases rather despise for everything they’ve ever done in public life, but they are allowing everyday Republicans to have a voice in explaining why they cannot bring themselves to vote for Trump.
These are important messages for other Republicans to hear, but also important for we Democrats. Let me tell you why I think that.
As I listened to these folks’ stories, I felt so relieved and grateful to be reminded that most Republicans are principled, moral people who care about this nation. They are good people who have a different idea about the role government should play in our lives. And that’s just fine. I can work with that. I can even admire that. It is diversity of opinion that gives democracy its strength.
I am relieved to hear messages from the other side that they, too, can see the evil consuming our politics. Not all Republicans have become the enemies of democracy. Many Republicans still care more about this nation’s destiny than they care about their party’s victory in the next election.
It is easy to lose sight of the opposition’s decency and patriotism when you see Republicans advocating every day for the election of a man you know in your heart is destructive to our nation’s well-being, who is doing his level best to undermine our democracy and the rule of law, and who is creating a homegrown American fascist movement. It is infuriating to be confronted daily by the manifest evidence of Trump’s lies, perfidy, stupidity, and evil, and yet to have your fellow citizens cheering on Trump’s attempted destruction of all we hold dear about this county. Frankly, it is easy and seductive to conclude there is something evil and wrong about Trump’s supporters, too.
We Democrats have to resist that easy and seductive conclusion. Is there something deeply wrong about supporting Trump? Absolutely. The willful blindness and motivated reasoning that allows so many Republicans to continue their support for Trump is profoundly dysfunctional and disturbing, but that’s what is so seductive and evil about fascism – it lurks always in our all-too-fallible human natures. We must guard against it, and fight it, eternally – because the evil that consumed the people of Germany early last century truly can consume any culture on earth. Including ours, we have now learned.
Fascism is a cancer inherent to democracy. We have to fight it and defeat it when it flares up, but those poisoned by its touch remain our countrymen. We must hold them accountable for any evil they do while under fascism’s influence, but we also have to do our best to save them. And forgive them.
Listening to these Republicans renounce Trump is a good place to start. It’s clear that most of these folks are just as bewildered and confused about what has overtaken and destroyed their party as we are. But it is also clear they are determined to do what they can to help end it. And that’s a good place to start healing.
I encourage you to visit the site for yourself and watch some of these folks struggle with many of the same feelings and conclusions shared by so many of us. I’ll just present one such man, Kevin, from Arizona, here for you to view. I hope it will spark an appetite in you for more:
God bless you, Kevin. Welcome back.