Some thoughts for my Republican friends

So, Tuesday is Election Day in Alabama. The next Senator will be either former Judge Roy Moore, someone who has been disgracefully removed from office twice and who has been credibly accused of inappropriately touching teenage girls, and Doug Jones a distinguished former federal prosecutor whose only weakness is that he is running as a Democrat. The election is predicted to be close.

And yes, I do have lots of Republican friends. Republicans have donated to the Olsen for Congress campaign. More of my family members are Republicans than either Independents or Democrats.

The Republican Party used to stand for 1) Fiscal Responsibility and 2) Minimum Government Interference. In my view, with the recent so-called tax reform that would raise the US government deficit by over a trillion dollars, the Republican leadership has abandoned Fiscal Responsibility to satisfy wealthy donors. The Republican leadership’s support of Minimum Government Interference was left behind years ago with a series of laws that tell women what they can or cannot do for their own health and contraception needs.

Moral values were a common rallying theme for Republican leadership in the past. And this brings us back to Judge Roy Moore, Republican Senatorial candidate from Alabama. Judge Moore has denied any wrongdoing, but his story keeps changing. The charges that he dated and groped teenagers under the age of consent when he was in his 30s are multiple and credible. This is not a he-said, she-said scenario. We are talking about multiple women, who for the most part share only one connection: That as teenagers they were pursued by a man in his 30s who was supposedly a public servant.

At some point, the common sense we were taught by our parents must prevail: Where there is this much smoke, there must be fire. As much as this is a political choice, it is also a moral choice. This weekend, Alabama’s other Senator, Richard Shelby, said that he wanted to see a Republican elected to the U.S. Senate … but that he could not bring himself to vote for Roy Moore. I applaud this sort of public service. Senator Shelby had to know that his announcement would not be popular with some, that it could even cost him votes in the future. But he let his conscience guide him when he cast a write-in vote.

Perhaps other Republican leaders could follow the leadership of Senator Shelby. The Senate majority leader and the Republican National Committee (RNC) initially kept their distance from Moore’s campaign, but after Mr. Trump formally endorsed Judge Moore, these leaders backtracked and the RNC is now sending funds to the Moore campaign.

My Republican friends: You are kind people, you are generous people, you are intelligent people, and you love America. Unfortunately, your party leadership has left your ethical values behind.

In my own case, I was an Independent for 25 years, and then I decided to run for Congress and became a Democrat. It is going to be harder for you, my Republican friends, to push a button in a voting booth that does not have an R beside it, to cast a write-in vote, to root for a different team, to stand up in a group of Republicans and say, “This is wrong.” But you need to do it. There will be no change if you vote for the same types of people you have always voted for.