|U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, a three-term Republican from Oneida County|
As I have mentioned from time to time, I was born in and lived through high school just outside of Syracuse, New York. I came from a family of Republicans and during the years I lived there, the region was a Republican bastion. I left the Republican Party when it became clear to me that the GOP had jettisoned the concept of separation of church and state. In the intervening years, the sickness of the GOP has intensified - indeed, it has metastasized. Things have become so bad with the nomination of Donald Trump as the GOP presidential candidate and standard bearer that one GOP Congressman, Richard Hanna from neighboring Oneida County, has announced he will be voting for Hillary Clinton and laid out a case for never voting for Donald Trump. Here are highlights from Hanna's op-ed in the Syracuse Post-Standard:
Our country is desperate for a functioning two-party system. A system that understands that compromise is the sweet spot of peace in a pluralistic society that values tolerance and inclusiveness. Not these endless attempts to run the table in two- and four-year cycles that produce few results and parties that seem to regard gridlock as an accomplishment.
Government has become unable to address big problems. Talking points are presented as if they were solutions. Critical issues like tax reform, infrastructure, immigration, the environment and any future investments in people and assets are relegated to the opinions of the extremes of both parties. Electing Donald Trump will only make this worse, much worse.
Months ago I publicly said I could never support Trump. My reasons were simple and personal. I found him profoundly offensive and narcissistic but as much as anything, a world-class panderer, anything but a leader. Little more than a changing mirror of those he speaks to. I never expect to agree with whoever is president, but at a minimum the president needs to consistently display those qualities I have preached to my two children: kindness, honesty, dignity, compassion and respect.
I do not expect perfection, but I do require more than the embodiment of at least a short list of the seven deadly sins.
I have long held the belief that the Republican Party is becoming increasingly less capable of nominating a person who is electable as president. The primary process is so geared toward the party's political base, which ignores the fact that we have largely alienated women, Hispanics, the LGBT community, young voters and many others in general.
If I compare the life stories of both candidates I find Trump deeply flawed in endless ways. A self-involved man who is worth billions yet is comfortable -- almost gleefully -- using bankruptcy laws to avoid the consequences of his own choices. A man of character would not defend his actions but rather display shame and or at least regret. He is unrepentant in all things. Think about those average people who paid for his choices.
For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.
Secretary Clinton has issues that depending on where one stands can be viewed as great or small. But she stands and has stood for causes bigger than herself for a lifetime. That matters. Mrs. Clinton has promoted many of the issues I have been committed to over the years including expanding education and supporting women's health care.
While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton. I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing.
Hanna reminds me of the Republicans of yesteryear - a breed that is now largely extinct and sane individuals have fled the GOP.