COMMENTARY: Open letter to Republican Party

The impeachment of President Trump will eventually move to the Senate for trial. I am neither so jaundiced as to believe that senators will not feel the weight of their constitutional responsibilities, nor so jejune as to think that the politics of the situation will not, also, enter in their thinking.

But time in politics is counted in dog years. Here is an important fact: All senators are assigned to a “Class,” either Class I, Class II or Class III. Only one class is up for reelection during any national election year. On Nov. 3, 2020, senators in Class II (and any vacated by retirement) will be on the ballot. This fact leaves 34 Republican senators who will NOT face re-election in 2020. If even 17 of those Republicans join the Democrats, Trump can be removed from office.

This is an open letter to every one of those Class I and Class III senators, from someone who has spent a lifetime as an active, ardent, believing and voting Republican.

In 1955, I was 9 years old and living in Denver. My grandparents were coming for a visit and we were waiting for them at the train station. I had hopped on a coin-operated horse in the lobby of the station and was pretending to ride it. Two men in business suits were having a conversation nearby when one of them turned to me and said, “Do you want an ‘I Like Ike’ button, little girl?” He pinned it on my coat, smiled at my mom and left.

I have been a Republican ever since.

Being a Republican is like being a Christian or a vegetarian. Saying you are doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t act like one. So, I have always worked for the Republicans. I walked door to door in Colorado winters to pass out literature for Goldwater. When I moved to St. Louis I did more door-to-door work. I alphabetized lists, made phone calls, addressed envelopes. I got up early on election days, worked the polling place for two chilly hours, voted and then went to my day job.

I never had money to give the party, so I gave my time instead. My continuous willingness to volunteer culminated in my being appointed to the Reagan/ Bush speakers’ bureau in 1984 and then a worker for the White House advance staff for George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992. I had security clearance, got to work with the Secret Service, met the president and first lady and rode in a motorcade. I still have the copy of my personal invitation to the 1989 inaugural, and still wear jewelry with the presidential seal on the front and an engraved autograph on the back, given me by first Reagan and then Bush.

I live by Republican ideals. I marched for civil rights because if you believe people should rise or fall on their own merits you also must believe that artificial barriers (like race and gender) must be eliminated. If you make your money honestly, I don’t care how much you make and don’t believe you should be punished for your success. Personal responsibility, not government dependence, has always been my goal. I know that the United States of America is a special place where mankind has its best hope to evolve freedom and growth to their highest level. To me, the Constitution is the equivalent of holy writ.

When Donald Trump won the presidential nomination, I left the Republican Party.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I am the scarred soul of the Republican Party. Frankly, I would love to be a Republican again, but do not know how that can happen. There will come a time — soon — when you will need my time, my vote, my voice and my commitment again. But if there is any hope for me or for you, you must find Trump guilty. Remove him from the office he has debased and start our redemption.

I keep the faith — now show me that you do.

Louise Butler is a retired educator and published author who lives in McAllen. She writes for The Monitor’s Board of Contributors.