For most of my adult life, I’ve been a Republican. And not just a Republican in name only (as some of my readers will surely regard me), but a faithful, registered devotee of the GOP. Not only did I vote for Republican Presidential candidates in every major election before 2016, I also voted along party lines for all the lesser offices that I frankly didn’t care as much about. But I voted for them anyway, because that’s what good Republicans do.
But no longer. I’m officially divorcing from the Republican party, not because I’ve been unfaithful to it, but because it has been unfaithful to me, to America, and to the truth. I’m separating from it because I don’t belong in the GOP anymore. Like a survivor whose personal growth allows them to move beyond an abusive relationship, I have come to realize that my relationship with my old party has become dysfunctional beyond hope of repair. And I have to go.
Allies In A Common Cause
When I first converted to Christianity from atheism at the age of 21, I quickly found that the church is full of people who clearly believe that the Republican platform is more in line with Christian religious beliefs than the competition. Pretty much all the Christians I knew and respected seemed to be Republican, and a significant percentage of them were publicly outspoken in their criticism of Democrats and liberals. In the circles I ran in, the word “liberal” was for all intents and purposes a bad word, reserved for the foolish and the ungodly. I personally never shared this closed-minded disdain for the left and its political ideals, but I was nonetheless convinced that the GOP’s policies and agendas represented the best shot at bringing justice and righteousness to American civil life.
Given that the moral improvement of America was one of my most dearly-held values, what more important issue could there be to a voter like me than abortion? Like most evangelicals, I felt duty-bound to vote pro-life because to do otherwise felt tantamount to condoning infanticide. I truly believed that as a Christian, I could not vote in good conscience for any candidate or party that was pro-choice. There was much in the Republican world that I did not like—unwise economic policies, politicians whose sin was blatant, etc.—but it was all overshadowed by the hope that justice would one day be done.
And then came Donald J. Trump.
Going Down A Path I Can’t Follow
Unlike most Republicans, I never liked Trump. From the very start I found him repulsive, repugnant, reprehensible. As a trained mental health counselor who grew up with a father with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I can recognize the telltale signs of a true narcissist from miles away. The arrogance. The bluff and bluster. The showmanship. The constant worship of self. The vitriolic disrespect for anyone who didn’t agree with him. And the lies! So many lies. Everything about Trump made me say, “This man is unhealthy and dangerous. Under no circumstances should a man like this be allowed to run for president.”
But he did. And ever since 2016, he has single-handledly made the Republican party—and America—a worse place than before in almost every respect. His categorical rejection of unfavorable journalism as “fake news” has eroded the confidence of millions in reputable sources of information—even science—and has spawned a new era of misinformation and conspiracy theories. His vitriolic insults and harsh rebukes toward anyone who doesn’t tow his line have lowered the standards of what is acceptable in public discourse, and his devotees have followed suit. His constant need for attention, affirmation, and vindication from imagined persecution is as damning as it is irritating. And the lies! Lies about the election, lies about the January 6th insurrection, lies about his political rivals—all of these have infected the minds of millions of Americans who swallow them hook, line, and sinker. And that’s not even taking into account his own personal record of sexual sin—sexual misconduct and adultery, multiple unblical divorces, and shameful misogynistic braggadocio, all of which are still unrepented of to this day.
Rather than helping America grow in justice and sanctification, Trump’s corrupting presence has brought a new level of injustice and unrighteousness to our nation’s public discourse. The Republican party should have come together long ago to restrain Trump’s madness, but instead they embraced it because they saw an opportunity. They become so enamored with the influence that he clearly wields among his followers that they have turned a stadium full of blind eyes to his transgressions in the hopes of basking in his limelight. Trump’s corrupting influence has effectively transformed the GOP into a new, worse party—the Trump Party. Even evangelical Christians who should know better have been led astray by his manipulations, dressing him in sheep’s clothing and parading him about as a kind of Messiah. Many effectively worship him, eat out of his hand, and hang on every word he says, while his lies go unanswered, his wrongs get whitewashed, and his sins remain unapologized for. And his people love to have it so.
But not me. I am not one of them. I did not vote for Trump in 2016 or 2020, nor could I ever vote for a man of such vulgar and debased character. I believe that the moral character of our leaders does matter, and that when those above us act in depraved ways without apology, it constitutes an endorsement of such behavior and encourages us to act in similar fashion. I personally care less about Supreme Court nominees than I do about the hearts and souls of Americans who are being led down a path of arrogance, bigotry, selfishness, deceit, victimization, and white grievance. And while I disagree with many (or most) of the fundamental values and policy decisions of the Democratic platform, I have infinitely more respect in my heart for Joe Biden and Barack Obama—both as people as well as politicians—than I do for Trump.
There’s No Room In This Relationship For The Two of Us
So I’m out. I refuse to support a party of sycophants that court the fickle favor of the most arrogant man to ever hold the U.S. Presidency. I condemn the ongoing osctricism and persecution of faithful Republicans (like Mike Pence) who stood up to Trump on grounds of law and conscience and got called RINOs in return. I never believed that Trump would ever “make America great again”—whatever that was supposed to mean—but I also never expected him to do as much damage as he has done. The Republican Party I knew was never the most compassionate group of men on the planet, but there was a time when at least there was some semblance of respect and basic human decency for others. Instead the new mainstream involves posting incendiary tweets, blaming the news media and Democrats for everything bad, and making excuses for violent insurrectionists in the hope of staying in the good graces of Mr. Mar-a-Lago.
So where does that leave me? Politically abandoned, marooned in ideological obscurity without a place to call home. I’m a 45 year old white evangelical Christian man who attends church regularly and lives in a rural area. Statistically, I’m SUPPOSED to be wearing a MAGA hat, shouting “Let’s Go Brandon,” and waving flags that say “Trump, Save America Again.” But I won’t bow down to the golden idol of Trumpism, no matter what those around me say or how loud the band gets (see Daniel 3 if you missed the reference). I have to be true to my convictions and cast my vote in a way that I feel is right for America. And at this point, that may never be with the Republican Party ever again.
So goodbye, GOP. We just didn’t work out together. And for the record, It’s not me—it’s you. Call me if you ever come to your senses.