Opinion

A desperate ‘Dear John’ letter for the Trump era

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., visits a defense contractor in his home state. He’s already stood up to President Donald Trump, but how far is he willing to go?
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., visits a defense contractor in his home state. He’s already stood up to President Donald Trump, but how far is he willing to go? AP file photo, 2015

Dear Sen. John McCain:

I’m a Democrat. You’re a Republican. I’m a snowflake (says Fox News). You’re a war hero (says me and everyone except the narcissist in the White House).

We are both Americans, with birth certificates to prove it.

We undoubtedly disagree on many issues. I favor single-payer health care. You do not. I object to school vouchers. You support them. You picked Sarah Palin as your running mate. I, uh, well, would have kept looking.

What matters now is that our newly elected president — under the guise of making America great again — threatens what made America great in the first place.

I respect the office of the president no matter who holds it, but Donald Trump’s insulting, disgusting and bullying conduct — past and present —makes it impossible to respect the man who now holds that office.

(Do you know any other father who would answer, “Yeah,” if Howard Stern asked permission to call their daughter “a piece of a--” on the radio? I have a daughter and I would have ended the interview in a heartbeat. And so would you.)

President Twitter’s list of childish retorts, arrogant boasts and “alternative facts” is endless. But I’m not here to tell you something that anyone with the sense God gave a fruit fly doesn’t already know. I’m asking you to become a hero again.

I read your book, “Faith of My Fathers.” I doubt our president did. (It’s more than 140 characters long.) If he had read it, maybe he would have thought twice about disrespecting the bravery you showed during years of cruel confinement as a POW.

On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t have made two sniffs of difference. After all, our grabber-in-chief graduated from — cue the bugles — the New York Military Academy (a private boarding school) and he knows more than any general.

And hey, as he famously told Stern, he felt like “a great and very brave soldier” by dodging the clap during his promiscuous past. Tell me, Sen. McCain, wasn’t that right around the same time North Vietnamese guards were breaking your left arm?

Now I’m asking you to show a different courage, the kind rarely seen but sorely needed — political courage. I know you can do it. I saw it during the 2008 presidential campaign when you defended Barack Obama against the birther bunk peddled by some of your supporters.

You are a Republican and so is our president (in a what-the-hell-happened-to-the-party-of-Lincoln way). He needs support from GOP leaders like you to advance his agenda.

I beg you and others (I’m counting on you, Gen. James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) to put country over politics and stand up to the president.

This is needed when he makes claims that defy the facts (election fraud), picks petty fights (over the size of his inauguration crowd), pursues policies that compromise American principles (using religion as an immigration criterion) or proposes actions that undermine our security (antagonistically moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem).

Just say no to loose talk about nuclear weapons. It’s dangerous. Just say no to repealing Obamacare without a true replacement. Lives are at stake. Keep saying no to torture. It’s inhuman.

Say no to deporting law-abiding undocumented immigrants. It’s heartless. No to smothering the flow of public information from agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s what Big Brother did. No to spending billions of dollars to build a wall because — news flash — Mexico ain’t gonna pay for it.

Don’t let the president soften our support for NATO because Putin is waiting to pounce. Don’t let him open secret interrogation sites because they violate human rights. Do press him to release his tax returns because a promise is a promise.

It’s encouraging that you’ve signed on to legislation that would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions on his own.

One more thing. Don’t let him say yuuuge. It’s not a word.

Brad Broberg is a former South King County newspaper reporter and editor who is riding into the sunset as a freelance writer for local and national publications. He lives in Browns Point.

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