VOICES: Fellow Republicans, we can’t be silent any longer

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: This guest opinion column by Ashley Webb, a Republican, West Point grad and Iraq War veteran, appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Jan. 17. Other pieces printed that day are linked below.

My wife and I have felt very alone somewhere in the middle. For the better part of 2020, we were silent with regard to the national political conversation.

When voiced, our views have been disparaged by the left because we are Republicans and demonized from the right because we have firmly believed from the beginning that Donald Trump is a selfish bully that does not share our values. So for months we have steered the conversation away from politics when interacting with family, friends and coworkers.

That changed on Jan. 6 when the president incited a mob to storm the Capitol building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the results of a free and fair election. While the actions of the president and his rabid supporters who beat police officers and ransacked the Capitol were shocking, the host of apologists who have rallied to their defense is what has caused us the most distress.

We can’t be silent any longer.

Republicans of sound mind can no longer ignore the lies and conspiracy theories repeated by Trump’s loyal followers. What we saw Jan. 6 was not simply trespass and vandalism where laws were broken.

We saw the culmination of a seditious attack on the law itself that our Republican president has been waging for months. We need to say loud and clear that there was never a steal to stop. We have to own the fact that the banner of our Republican president was the banner of insurrection at the Capitol. We have to come to grips with what we have become.

Only then can we start the work of rebuilding our Republican party.

Is walking away an option? Certainly it is, but our system needs two strong parties to function properly. In the aftermath of President Trump, we are a party divided. It is going to take a lot of work to regain respect for each other and rebuild our Grand Old Party. This process starts by reaffirming our commitment to America’s success, above party and personality.

I remember hearing Ronald Reagan talk about America as “a city upon a hill” when I was a teen and forming my first political opinions.

In his farewell address 32 years ago, Reagan shared what that city looked like to him: “But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

Unfortunately that is not where we are today, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up the vision of what America can and should be.

Ashley Webb is president of the Vulcan Tool Co. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. A former Kettering City Council member, Ashley currently serves on the Central Committee of the Montgomery County Republican Party. Guest columns are submitted  or requested fact-based opinion pieces typically of 300 to 450 words.

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