A Republican’s view of recent national events
There must be an understanding before I continue with the theme of this column. I am horrified by the actions that took place in our nation’s capital earlier this month. Perpetrators should and must be held accountable. A law must be passed that requires long prison terms for anyone who threatens our political leaders, let alone causes death in the process. There is no excuse for violence.
And yes, Donald Trump is a womanizer, a self-promoter and a brash egotist. He has damaged our country, but not without the help of his enemies. I never liked the man; I had wanted Mike Huckabee or Marco Rubio to be my candidate, but they spoke too softly. So, I accepted candidate Trump because I finally had a president to speak for me. Someone who would listen to the forgotten people in the middle of our society, not the movie stars in Hollywood or elitists who live behind locked gates.
During the past four years I have overlooked Donald Trump’s abhorrent rhetoric and character flaws because I believe in many of his policies. I have been a staunch Republican since my college days and later as a Tea Party supporter my husband and I attended two Tea Party Rallies in Washington D.C. which were huge and totally peaceful.
In 2016 I had experienced years of feeling that things I cherish are no longer worthy because others have collectively decided that there is no value in what I think or feel. I have been told repeatedly by the media that I am wrong, my beliefs are archaic, and my ideas are harmful to others simply because I am a Republican. I have internally struggled with these issues, but always held firm to the knowledge that I have the right in this country, given by our constitution, to think, feel and say what I believe.
With eight years of President Obama, I felt stifled and misunderstood. I was a deplorable and I clung to my guns and religion. That was said about Republicans before Donald Trump was president.
I didn’t understand why what was coming out of the mouths of the major news outlets didn’t jive with the facts. How can our country be plagued with systemic racism if we elected a black man twice while only 14.6 percent of our population is black and 73 percent is white? How can pride in our heritage need to be wiped away because of infractions committed generations ago? Don’t all people have flaws and virtues that must be weighed side by side to clearly see their heart’s intent?
I am an American and generations of soldiers have died for the right of free thought. A right that many other countries forbid. China and Cuba are two countries where citizens are imprisoned or killed for their religious and political views. For eight years I heard our politicians praise those countries over the USA. I like 62 million other Trump voters had had enough in 2016.
It is my feeling that Trump voters have always believed in less government control and lower taxes. We don’t believe that foreign aid should be dominant in a COVID-19 relief bill. We believe charity belongs in places of worship and secular outreach organizations, not government. We believe that the government should be a temporary safety net, not provide lifetime income. We should decide who receives our hard-earned money, not ideologies in Washington. We believe we should embrace immigrants but have a wall for security purposes because foreign terrorists can easily come in a caravan. We believe there needs to be voter verification so that we can all have confidence in our elections. We believe everything that can be manufactured in the USA should be made here to give our citizens jobs. We care about the world, but we care about suffering Americans first.
I believe for the past four years conservatives have been unfairly labeled as hate mongers and racists by the media and some Democrat politicians. The riot at the Capitol confirmed that notion. Seventy million Americans voted for Trump in November, barely a fraction of that number traveled to Washington, D.C. and illegally entered the Capitol while vandalizing and causing injury. They were fringe radicals.
Now we Trump voters are all being painted with a large brush, tainted by those actions. Republicans are not heartless people. When they fly their flag and say, “America first” it is out of pride, not hatred. When they want peace in the Middle East that includes Israel’s strong presence, that does not mean they hate Muslims. When they ask for welfare reform that does not mean they look down on minorities, and when they resent free college for all it is because their households tightened their belts to pay for their children’s college tuition; it doesn’t mean they are callous to the dire straits of others. The vast majority of Republicans are not rioters and lawless thugs. They are law-abiding citizens who cherish the rights that the U.S. Constitution promises. We just look at the country differently than the other side of the aisle.
Trump has destroyed his place in history and will pay the price during his lifetime for his recklessness, but everyone must understand that the policies he championed will not go away. The cause of his voters is much greater than one man.
Donna Brown is a former Hammonton Middle School librarian and a columnist for The Gazette. To reach Donna Brown, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.