Open Letter to Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

Dear Mr. Speaker:

According to the news reports I have seen lately you are currently in the process of deciding whether or not to endorse Donald Trump. I am writing to request that you refuse to endorse this dangerous demagogue. I know that as an oceanography PhD student I cannot claim to know more than the Speaker of the House about politics or governance, but I make this request not as a politician or an activist, but as a patriot and a person of conscience.

The truest form of patriotism is the willingness to put the interest of one’s country before one’s own interest and certainly before the interest of any particular political faction. This sort of patriotism was what drove the men of the 442nd Infantry Regiment to serve their country bravely during World War II even after the US government had unjustly relocated their families to internment camps. This patriotism and commitment to the belief that “all men are created equal” is what inspired heroic white civil rights activists to join heroic Black civil rights activists in protesting segregation, at great risk to their reputations and even their lives, even though they were not personally harmed by such a system. This was the sense of patriotism that inspired President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even though he knew that doing so would cost the Democratic Party the support it had enjoyed from Southern whites since the end of Reconstruction. And this is the sort of patriotism I am asking you to show by refusing to endorse Mr. Trump.

I am aware that if you make the heroic decision to repudiate this Mussolini-quoting, race-baiting, misogynist you will face a certain amount of criticism from the cult of personality he has assembled, but I think we both agree that insults are less intimidating than either Axis bullets or lynch mobs. You, Mr. Speaker, have the rare opportunity to help defend our country against a thin-skinned would-be American Putin without exposing yourself or your family to any physical danger. I sincerely hope you have the courage to take this opportunity and help prevent Mr. Trump from occupying the highest office in our (still) great nation.

I also understand that certain members of your party have been willing to endorse Mr. Trump, because they see him as the only way to allow a Republican to control the White House for the first time in eight years, but allowing someone of such appallingly bad judgment to lead our country just to advance the fortunes of a political party is unconscionable. Mr. Trump has attempted to divide the American public along racial and religious lines, has threatened to curtail freedom of the press, lies continuously in public statements, traffics in conspiracy theories, advocates torture in clear violation of the eighth amendment of the US Constitution, and was recently praised by North Korean state media. This is not the type of person we want leading our country.

I sincerely hope that you will refuse to endorse Mr. Trump. It may be necessary to accept some short setbacks for your political career and your party in order to avoid the long-term damage that would be inflicted on this country by a Trump presidency.

Thank You and God Bless America:
Abigail Libbin Cannon


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