Thursday, March 3, 2016

Why I Won't Denounce Trump -- Yet

In one of the oddest election seasons in recent history, progressives and many conservatives have come to agree on one thing: that the caustic and divisive rhetoric that spews from Donald Trump's mouth is creating a dark age of overt intolerance. Republicans and Democrats are coming together to renounce his aggressive words and tactics. Some Democrats, ever in pursuit of a cause, have even urged their cohorts to switch party alliance for the primary, voting instead for one of Trump’s opponents. 

I don’t support this, and this is why: Though Trump is a bombastic narcissist and a habitual liar, and though his proposed policies would play hell on minorities and the downtrodden, we do not see the other Republican candidates as better. If anything, they are more partisan, more anti-choice, more tied at the hip with big-monied donors, and just as likely to leave a lasting legacy of intolerance by appointing right wing ideologues to the Supreme Court. Trump’s opponents are just as eager to destroy unions, stop gay marriage, and kill even the most meager attempts at gun control and immigration reform. They are just as adamant about reducing government regulations, subverting affirmative action, and ignoring climate change.

Texas Senator, Ted Cruz at rally
Even more than Trump, his conservative counterparts never fail to mix a good shot of religion in with their government, and they never miss an opportunity to spout their misguided and dangerous belief that the United States was created by and for Christians. Like Trump, they ignore history. Yes, his competitors talk about having empathy for women, the poor, immigrants and minorities, yet their first policy objectives once they reach office is to kill the Affordable Health Care Act and Planned Parenthood.

Republicans are freaking out because Trump is not one of their own. They want one of their own: someone they can keep on message. Yes, we think it is disgusting what Trump has brought to the surface of the American face. But the pus was there to be pushed out. The question is how do Republicans convince Republicans to start being more rational. The "Party of Lincoln" crossed the Rubicon when, in the 1960's, they decided to become the party of the status quo — protecting the rights of the white establishment while bowing to the social norms of the Christian right first by attacking abortion, then later, gay rights.

The Republican Party has done some important things in the past. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration were both a product of the Nixon Administration. But those days of rational pro-environment and pro-worker policies are long gone. Today’s brand of Republicans won’t even follow the Constitution they profess to love. If they did, they would hold hearings and vote to replace Justice Atonin Scalia. They would work to find reasonable ways to protect innocents from gun violence. They would not try to subvert women’s reproductive choice. And they would not support the increasing presence of religion in schools and government institutions.

Do we renounce Trump? Yes. He is a cancer, but he is a cancer galvanized by a party which traded its soul to the most radically conservative elements of our society. The voice of the moderate middle has been drowned out by the howling haters. Do I support those who suggest Democrats should shed their party affiliation and help the Republicans maintain this middle ground? No, I don't.

Republicans need to own this mess, and then clean it up. How do they do that? Moderate Republicans need to define a moderate path and then push for it every single moment of every single day. They need to dump the demagogues and stop pandering to social conservatives. They need to renounce calls by their leadership to implode government for the sake of partisan politics and stop obstructing everything Democrats are working on, and instead work with Democrats to craft middle ground policies which benefits more people than not. They need to stop the fear-based, hate-based, war-based rhetoric, and start treating voters like adults.

For the sake of our republic, Republican’s need to re-create their party into something more reasonable and humane.

-Naseem Rakha, 3/13/2016


  1. You touched on an important point for me. I was raised in Oregon and growing up I was aware of good strong Republicans who cared about our state, not ideology. Who can not remember Tom McCall or Mark Hatfield with great fondness? They were not perfect but our state was better because they worked to make it so.Sometimes I miss them when I hear the rhetoric that passes for Republicanism now-a-days.

  2. I love your view on the way things have transpired within the Republican party over the years. I'm sharing this on FB. Thank you.

  3. Hi Naseem,
    You know Naseem; I truly believed that the “isms” that governed the society of my youth had been pushed from preeminence. I actually thought the purveyors of the filth of bigotry had been relegated to shouting their hate from the margins of society.

    The first 18 years of my life were lived in a legal and socially condoned American apartheid. Racism was not against the law, it was the law. Where one could live, eat, drink, worship, go to school or simply enter a building and who one could marry were all governed by the color of one’s skin. I started working in my teens to overthrow that socially condoned apartheid.

    I abhorred the injustice and the affects it had had on my Ancestors and was having on those I loved. I worked diligently for more than 40 years to bring an end to the “isms”. I was not alone in this of course, thousands of people worked hard for these same ends. I thought we had put the era of the rule of bigotry behind us. Oh, there was still work to be done, but in the main we had established the rule of tolerance and acceptance; the rule of law.

    I may have been premature in this belief Naseem. It has been 50 years since the passage of the laws that began the prohibition of racism and other forms of bigotry. Great strides have been made in many venues. I worked joyously in a number of those venues to dismantle the structures that had upheld discrimination and to construct new mechanisms of inclusion. I admit to being somewhat insulated in that I worked mainly with people of like mind or at who at least had a tolerance for the dismantling of the American apartheid system.

    It turns out that the proponents of the system of privilege based on race and class had merely gone underground, and not very deeply. In the 1950’s and 60’s the John Birch Society was established to fight against Civil Rights for African-American People, immigrant rights, Social Security and public support for people in need. The Koch Clan funded the John Birch Society. The Koch Clan founded and funds the Tea Party. So now the John Birch Society has moved from the radical right fringes to the mainstream of the Republican Party. And all those underground proponents of White Supremacy have found a voice in the GOP. All of the Republican front runners have received the endorsement of the John Birch Society/Koch/Tea Party Republicans.

    So, I agree with you Naseem, none of the front runners in the hunt for the Republican Presidential nomination is any better than the others; none is worthy to be President. Does that mean we should not denounce Mr. Trump? Or does it mean we should denounce the entire slate of candidates.

    We each act in keeping with our conscience and our understanding Naseem. At this point I think endorsing or failing to oppose Mr. Trump is knowingly endorsing and supporting Racism and Xenophobia as a matter of public policy. Therefore, I do denounce Mr. Trump AND the other Republican front runners.
    My friend Kathleen Saadat says we need to get busy, I agree. I am going to find out who in Silverton, and in Marion County are the leadership of the Republican Party. I will ask if they intend to support Mr. Trump. If they do I will walk away. If they do not I will ask if there is anything I can do to help them oppose him. Then I will go to the Democrats in Marion County and see what they intend to do. I will also go to the college and university campuses and see what the political clubs on campus are thinking. I will go to PCUN and the Rural Organizing Project. After that I don’t yet know what I will do. Any suggestions are welcome.
    Your Friend, Joseph Quinones