Dear Republican Friend

Admittedly I don’t have a huge number of Republican friends, but I have some. If you are one, this is what I have to say: You are a good person. My hunch is that you probably did not vote for Trump but for a third party candidate. Much of what he said and his personality was as disturbing to you as it was to me and most Democrats and many Independents. But now that he is president-elect, you are having second thoughts. After all, he was elected fairly even though he did not win the popular vote. Besides he could move more to the center. He could soften his position on immigration and on free trade. He could move toward the Republican ideals of smaller government, reduced spending and balanced budgets. Let’s give him a chance. Paul Ryan is supporting him and Lindsay Graham is mellowing a bit as well. You think that he might actually be ok.

Not so fast. All indications as judged by his early appointments show he is moving in the direction of what I call the Dark Side. Think again about what he said he was going to do during the campaign and what it appears he actually will try to do and ask yourself, is this the kind of person who represents my values and is this the kind of country I want to live in.

This is what he has told us he is going to do:

  1. Build a wall, which few experts think makes any sense.
  2. Deport at least six million undocumented immigrants, many of them who have lived here for years and many who are allowed to work because they came here as children and are part of the American Dream Act.
  3. Curtail open trade by imposing 35-45% tariffs on Mexican and Chinese imports, which would result in higher prices and probably cause a global recession.
  4. Appoint a climate change denier as head of the EPA, get out of the Paris climate accord, kill all of Obama’s environmental initiatives and drastically shrink the EPA.
  5. Get out of the Iran nuclear deal.
  6. Put through massive tax cuts for the rich with no off setting budget cuts. 
  7. Ignore the need for deficit neutral budgets and entitlement reform.
  8. Build massive infrastructure projects, with no dollars to pay for them.
  9. Cozy up with Putin and pull back from NATO.
  10. Put a ban on Muslims entering the country and institute surveillance at mosques.

My question to you is this: which of these initiatives (and many others) do you agree with. How do they square with your traditional Republican values of small government and responsible spending? How do they gibe with your human values of kindness and mercy and fairness? My hope is that you support few if any of these initiatives. Trump is not a Republican. He is a populist with the temperament of a strongman, who if he gets his way would move the country in a very dangerous direction.

So what should you do? You should not support these un-Republican initiatives and let your elected officials know this. Republicans now hold the majorities in both the House and the Senate and will continue to do so. Republicans are the first line of defense. Responsible Republicans should put the brakes on Trump’s actions which could lead to disaster. Democrats will join the fight. If Trump does in fact move forward on his Dark Agenda, the country and the planet Earth are in deep trouble. What will you tell your grandchildren you did to keep the worst from happening? Never have the stakes been higher.


Joe Howell

7 thoughts on “Dear Republican Friend

  1. All citizens, be they Republican, Democrat, independent or other, should let our dually elected representatives know how we feel about the direction of the president-elect’s plans. They are OUR representatives, and are bound to represent all of their constituency, regardless of party. Remaining silent to”see how it goes” is inexcusable.

  2. In my opinion the most strategic thing to do is to make it loud and clear which of the campaign promises we want him to keep. Tell him what you like first, not what you hate.
    In particular ask him to carry through on $ trillion for infrastructure. This would please (almost) everyone. It would provide jobs, help industry and commerce and the climate. As a long-time climate advocate I can tell you that providing a modern grid, particularly a less centralized one, will do more for reducing emissions than any “admission” of the reality of climate change. Let them deny but give us a modern grid system. Solar and wind will soar. The security people would be infavor a decentralizing it as this is the path toward a more resilient grid.

  3. Notes from a small island off your east coast – on point 10 alone we would be in trouble without the Muslims – they are a substantial and valued part of our National Health Service. And I suspect they hold a similar place in your society.

    As for points 1-9 – they spell worry if not, in some areas, disaster.

  4. Cap’n,

    I think you consider me a Republican friend, but after four straight votes for the Dem presidential candidate, I don’t know what I am anymore. Somewhere around 2000, the GOP lurched so far to the right that I began to feel left out in the cold. I call myself an independent. I split my vote again this year. The democrats in Georgia are a non-party. In any case, if an independent can participate, I’ll give it a whirl. I am going to look for how many GOP friends of yours emerge.

    1. The Wall. A totally preposterous idea. Our Mexican neighbors are the Weltmeisteren of tunneling. They sprang
    the big cheese of the drug gangs by tunneling several hundred yards into his specific cell. Put up a wall and you’ll have multiple literally underground railroads. I do think we need to go much further in sealing off our southern border; but if we can put men on the moon, surely we can find a better and cheaper way. As it is it leaks like a sieve, and that, in my opinion, is unsustainable.

    2. Illegals. Last weekend he was talking about starting with the criminal element, which would be a continuation of current policy. He said there may be two to three million. That sounds high but I’m fine with ridding ourselves of the bad guys. Otherwise, it appears we have laws in place that are being winked at by the powers that be. If so, then repeal them or enforce them.

    3. I’m not well enough informed to comment. There seem to be smart people on both sides of the issue. Consider me punting on this one.

    4. I am sure the weather is warmer than it was in our youth. I know that. I suspect it may be related to fossil fuel emissions, but I don’t KNOW that. England used to support vineyards. Glaciers used to extend to the rust belt states. Another punt.

    5. Three punts in a row. Again, people smarter than I and in a better position to know take different views. In general I am pessimistic about the nuclear haves’ ability to maintain their oligopoly. In 1945 we had the franchise all to ourselves. Then came Russia, Great Britain, France, India, China, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel almost certainly has it. It’s a lot like trying to seal our southern border, or herd cats. Best to make it suicidal for anyone to nuke us. Not ideal but I don’t see anything better right now.

    6. Trump wants to reduce everyone’s taxes, not just the rich’s. He thinks he can improve the economy enough to make it up and then some with fresh tax dollars. Who knows? Maybe he can. Who ever thought he could become president in the first place? Show me, Donald.
    I’ve said before that taxing the rich usually means taxing the sorta rich. The mega rich always can hire people smart enough to find loopholes, Trump himself being the prime example. While we haven’t yet seen his tax returns, he has as much as admitted that he has paid no taxes in recent years. If he did that legally, more power to him and shame on the writers of the last tax code.
    Whenever taxing the “rich” comes up, I like to pose the following question: Do you own any tax exempt bonds and if so, why?

    7. I’m trying to think of the last president that did not ignore the need to address these issues. Still thinking. Still thinking. Still thinking. Clinton cum Gingrich once I think, but otherwise he too ignored it. STILL thinking. I’ll have to get back to you on this one. Herbert Hoover maybe?

    8. I’m all for maintaining the infrastructure. Remember the bridge in Twin Cities that fell in? As for paying for it, see numbers 6 and 7.

    9 Finally, 10. You may surmise that I am fatiguing.
    The so called Arab Spring has turned into the Arab Winter of Ice Age proportions. Just look at its wake. Is what we have now better than a bunch of strong men in place to keep the peace with iron hands? Far from ideal, but just look at essentially all of North Africa.. Look at Syria. Look at Iraq. Is this what we wanted when we tried to export democracy to areas that perhaps weren’t quite ready for it? I recall watching the fall of Baghdad on television in 2003. I even recall the exact date, April 9, my birthday. An imbedded reporter found a “man in the street” who could speak English. At the end of the interview, the man asked the reporter, ” Who will rule us now?” When the reporter replied that the Iraqis would rule themselves, the man looked as if he had been asked if he could define Avagadro’s number. That’s when I first suspected we were in trouble.
    There is nothing new or wrong with controls on immigration. My French-Canadian partner had a long wait and had to jump through a lot of hoops before he and his family were allowed in in about 1983. I see nothing wrong with vetting all would-be immigrants as he was, Muslims included. If we can try to protect our own by giving special attention to people that have been in an Ebola epidemic, why not give special attention to those that may have been infected with radical Islam? After all, the first responsibility of any government is to protect its OWN, not somebody else’s.

    I trust this has not been too much of a hypnotic. Pass it along to Lewis if you can. I just don’t have it in me to retype it all. As you recall, typing was not included in MBA’s curriculum. We elites were expected always to have our own stenographer.

    Best to your de jure First Mate,

    De facto

    1. Kudos to the Professor for the longest comment on any of my political blog posts and a thoughtful one as well. I of course am not on the fence on ANY of these questions, but it is true that I live inside the Beltway and Dr. Klllebrew lives in LaGrange Georgia where he is a hero who has mended many a bone. And the good doctor is one fine first mate on cruises in the British Virgin Islands. Count me first in line in his abiding fan club.

      1. Never reticent or short on hyperbolic flattery is JTH. Yes, inside the beltway where 95% of the votes went to HRC. Tends to lead to ideology constriction. It’s hard to appreciate other points of view when all you hear are the echos of your own.
        In addition to the politics, the photography is great too!

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