Have you no sense of decency?

I wrote this to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan earlier this year when it was clear Donald Trump was unfit to be president. I received no response.

Paul Ryan Constitution

June 13, 2016

The Hon. Paul Ryan
U.S Representative, Wisconsin
Speaker of the House of Representatives

Dear Rep. Ryan:

There comes a time in history where choices matter. You now have another opportunity to repudiate Donald Trump and his vicious and, frankly, increasingly mentally incoherent hate speech for good. I urge you to do that because of your position as the man people view as leader of the Republican Party

Endorsements can and should be withdrawn when the candidate no longer merits support. While I don’t believe Trump ever warranted an endorsement, you said you did it in the name of party unity. No political party is more important than our national soul. If you continue to endorse him while pussyfooting around his post-Orlando rant then you have put party above country and you will rightly lose whatever respect you may have retained after you tossed your hat, and the GOP’s, into Trump’s ring.

We do not agree politically but the beauty of our system is that people who disagree can find common ground and move us ahead as a country and as a people. Trump cannot do that. Frankly, if he goes unchallenged within the GOP at the convention, then the GOP has forfeited its right to any support.

I urge you publicly to repudiate Donald Trump, and soon. It’s been done before in this country when Joe McCarthy, another Wisconsin Republican, threatened our willingness to tolerate dissent, ruining many lives. He cast any opposition as Communist and clearly believed that all Democrats started at least at a light shade of pink bleeding to scarlet. His blatant run at our constitutional freedoms to dissent, to free speech and freedom of association collapsed when Edward R. Murrow publicly exposed him for what he was: a petty tyrant who relished his ability to blackmail people into submission. I include here the transcript of the last three paragraphs of Murrow’s March 9, 1954, broadcast “See It Now, A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.” Substitute Donald Trump for the references to McCarthy and the threat is crystal clear:

“No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

“This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Good night, and good luck.”

One senator from Wisconsin brought our country to the brink of disaster, but people of conscience stood up in opposition. Will you continue to endorse Trump or be like that Army lawyer who finally stood up to McCarthy and asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”?
Sarah Vradenburg
Akron, Ohio

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