Resignation letter

Yesterday I resigned my position in the York Township Republican Committeemen’s Organization. Below is the letter I sent to the chairman explaining my decision.

***********

Chairman Cuzzone:

We come together in political parties to magnify our influence. An organized representative institution can give weight to our will in ways we could not accomplish on our own. Working with others gives us power, but at the cost of constant, calculated compromise. No two people will agree on everything. There is no moral purity in politics.

If compromise is the key to healthy politics, how does one respond when compromise descends into complicity? To preserve a sense of our personal moral accountability we must each define boundaries. For those boundaries to have meaning we must have the courage to protect them, even when the cost is high.

Almost thirty years ago as a teenager in Texas, I attended my first county Republican convention. As a college student I met a young Rick Perry, fresh from his conversion to the GOP, as he was launching his first campaign for statewide office. Through Associated Republicans of Texas I contributed and volunteered for business-friendly Republican state and local candidates.

Here in DuPage County I’ve been a precinct committeeman since 2006. Door to door I’ve canvased my precinct in support of our candidates. Trudging through snow, using a drill to break the frozen ground, I posted signs for candidates on whom I pinned my hopes for better government. Among Illinois Republicans I found an organization that seemed to embody my hopes for the party nationally. Pragmatic, sensible, and focused on solid government, it seemed like a GOP Jurassic Park, where the sensible, reliable Republicans of old still roamed the landscape.

At the national level, the delusions necessary to sustain our Cold War coalition were becoming dangerous long before Donald Trump arrived. From tax policy to climate change, we have found ourselves less at odds with philosophical rivals than with the fundamentals of math, science and objective reality.

The Iraq War, the financial meltdown, the utter failure of supply-side theory, climate denial, and our strange pursuit of theocratic legislation have all been troubling. Yet it seemed that America’s party of commerce, trade, and pragmatism might still have time to sober up. Remaining engaged in the party implied a contribution to that renaissance, an investment in hope. Donald Trump has put an end to that hope.

From his fairy-tale wall to his schoolyard bullying and his flirtation with violent racists, Donald Trump offers America a singular narrative – a tale of cowards. Fearful people, convinced of our inadequacy, trembling before a world alight with imaginary threats, crave a demagogue. Neither party has ever elevated to this level a more toxic figure, one that calls forth the darkest elements of our national character.

With three decades invested in the Republican Party, there is a powerful temptation to shrug and soldier on. Despite the bold rhetoric, we all know Trump will lose. Why throw away a great personal investment over one bad nominee? Trump is not merely a poor candidate, but an indictment of our character. Preserving a party is not a morally defensible goal if that party has lost its legitimacy.

Watching Ronald Reagan as a boy, I recall how bold it was for him to declare ‘morning again’ in America. In a country menaced by Communism and burdened by a struggling economy, the audacity of Reagan’s optimism inspired a generation.

Fast-forward to our present leadership and the nature of our dilemma is clear. I watched Paul Ryan speak at Donald Trump’s convention the way a young child watches his father march off to prison. Thousands of Republican figures that loathe Donald Trump, understand the danger he represents, and privately hope he loses, are publicly declaring their support for him. In Illinois our local and state GOP organizations, faced with a choice, have decided on complicity.

Our leaders’ compromise preserves their personal capital at our collective cost. Their refusal to dissent robs all Republicans of moral cover. Evasion and cowardice has prevailed over conscience. We are now, and shall indefinitely remain, the Party of Donald Trump.

I will not contribute my name, my work, or my character to an utterly indefensible cause. No sensible adult demands moral purity from a political party, but conscience is meaningless without constraints. A party willing to lend its collective capital to Donald Trump has entered a compromise beyond any credible threshold of legitimacy. There is no redemption in being one of the “good Nazis.”

I hereby resign my position as a York Township Republican committeeman. My thirty-year tenure as a Republican is over.

Sincerely,

Chris Ladd

Postscript – Needless to say, the response to the letter has been stunning and overwhelming. I want to express my gratitude to the people who have shared so many kind thoughts. It was my intention to reply to each of the emails I’ve received, but I was snowed under by late last night and they keep piling up.

Some of the warmest regards have come from right here in suburban Chicago. When I posted this letter I was prepared to face some anger here at home from fellow Republicans. Nothing of the kind has materialized. The only official response from the local GOP so far has been support, for which I am immensely grateful. It gives me hope. We may all come out of this debacle in better condition.

***********

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016, Republican Party, Uncategorized
1,388 comments on “Resignation letter
  1. […] fail to resist a figure so plainly destructive and incompetent? The question is entirely fair, and it inspired my own resignation from the Republican Party. It would be a mistake, however, to imagine that Democrats are less inclined to the same […]

  2. […] a resignation letter posted to his blog, GOPLifer, Chris Ladd writes about his longtime history with the party in Texas, including his friendship […]

  3. […] Fortunately for me — there is a voice out there that has articulated what I’m feeling, and it’s not a democratic voice.  It belongs to Chris Ladd, lifelong active Republican party member, who blogs at GOPLifer.com.   Ladd has just submitted his resignation letter to the Republican Party.  You can read the entire letter here. […]

  4. Rosalyn Dewey says:

    Thank you, Chris Ladd! I’m a Democrat, but I vote for the person.
    If ever, I see the name of Chris Ladd,
    I will vote for you. Of course, you speak TRUTH, but exhibit the courage
    to speak!!! Brave man; you will always
    have my vote and everyone left who
    still value Integrity!

    Rosalyn Dewey
    Retired Family Therapist

  5. Maureen Tillman says:

    Now, this is a man with conscious intelligence and great honor!

  6. Rebecca J Smith says:

    It is a shame that more have not placed principles over votes. You have my utmost admiration and respect.

  7. Thank you for your courage and your convictions. From an almost always loyal Democrat.

  8. Lisa Szanto says:

    Good for you – for having standards and morals instead of just bobbing along with what ever happens. Your courage to step away because you have standards shows there is still some hope that *others* will see the light and follow suit against the hatred and anger that has oozed forth.

  9. Sully says:

    Well written op ed and analysis.you have put in the words with many of us feel even of us independents who lean Republican. I have no words for at least the next four years.

  10. Kristin Peterson says:

    Mr. Ladd I applaud you!
    You are holding the moral high ground and I sure hope many other politicians will follow your lead.
    The next 4 years are truly terrifying!
    I fear for our country and all of it’s citizens.
    I fear for our safety.

    Too bad we can’t impeach Trump NOW!
    We are at the point where one’s party affiliation has nothing to do with it anymore.
    The point we are at now is what is morally right & what is morally just.
    Trump is unfit to be president, hell honestly I wouldn’t even trust the man to petsit.
    He is not fit to run a country, the man can’t even run his own business legally & justly.
    He is mentally ill and needs some extensive therapy. He lives in some fantasy world where his superior genes make him far better then everyone else who walks the planet or so he thinks. I’m sorry but, to be honest he is the dumbest person I have ever had the pleasure of hearing speak. Every time the man opens his mouth he sounds more ignorant and more uneducated.
    He is a liar, a racist, a cheat, a bigot, & the list goes on and on and on.
    The man is unstable and puts our country in danger.
    He doesn’t care who he screws or hurts as long as he’s making a buck.
    He will do anything as long as he can line his pockets.
    Money is the root of all evil!
    Mr. Trump doesn’t give 2 shits about our country or any of it’s citizens. He has proven that with his university scam that took from young already struggling people who gained nothing, yet he gained millions & billions.
    Trump is nothing more then a con man who should have been in prison years ago.
    He is UNFIT to run a country, hell he is UNFIT to even run his OWN business.

    God HELP us ALL!
    Let’s HOPE we MAKE it through the next 4 years and stay alive.

  11. Sheila says:

    Willie Nelson says it best…turn out the lights, the party’s over. We live in an uneducated America. I have felt like a pile of concrete has been placed on my shoulders. I have four years to fight for a Dem to clean this mess up. I’m 70. I may or may not live four more years.
    I will go to jail fighting for what my party stands for.

  12. Victoria Ferkinhoff says:

    Excellent letter! I wish all US leaders had as much courage as you, to stand up and speak the truth rather than turn a blind eye on the despicable, intolerable, now ‘president elect’! I’ve never felt so unsafe in my own country as I do since Mr. Trump was elected! I fear for my future, the future of my children, grandchildren, and all future generations! I fear for our planet! I fear for women, young and old, black people, Jewish people, and Muslim people. I’m heartbroken at what our country has become in just the past 1 1/2 years, since Mr. Trump declared his candidacy for the most powerful and respected position in the world.

    Again, I want to sincerely thank you for standing up for what is morally right and acceptable in this great country of ours.

    Victoria Ferkinhoff

    • Sylvia Robertson says:

      I am in total agreement with you on this. The election should not be based on the needs of a few questionable politicians but on the needs of the country. It is apparent that America’s needs are not the priority anymore. I am so happy that at least one Republican has the strength of moral conscious to acknowledge that his job is to look out for the interests of all Americans and not just the rich and depraved. Thank you so much Mr. Ladd. I had never heard of you before but I will remember your name now because you took the stand on the side of America. Thank you for caring.

  13. Pascal says:

    A GOP person with guts.
    Congratulations. Have no fear for your future, you’re on the winners’side.
    Pascal.
    Trending democrat, California.

  14. Damaris Rowland says:

    We can’t get rid of Trump now that he’s been elected. But your resignation, Mr. Ladd, sends a clear message that you hold the moral high ground. I hope other politicians will follow your example. Trump is incompetent, he lies, he doesn’t understand the issues, and he probably won’t want to put in the hours once he starts living in the White House. Thank you for your integrity.

  15. pete conder says:

    I am a liberal but have always respected the rights others have to believe as the wish. Really don’t understand why people don’t see things as they are with regard to Trump, watch an old appetite episode should be enought to see what kind of person he is. He is not even president yet and is leading us into a nukleor arms race. The man is not playing with a full deck and Chris clearly see’s this, sadly so many in this country have there head in the sand…

  16. Pat says:

    Congratulations on being an independent thinker and not just someone who always goes along party lines even if they truly disagree on several levels. No one political party is perfect, most people disagree with some aspect of the party they claim to be part of, but there are so very many red flags that Mr. Trump has heralded throughout the campaign and since the election, it is disconcerting. I am dismayed, fearful, and disappointed in what has transpired. I am left wondering how soon a law suit will be filed against Mr. Trump for violation of the US constitution, and what that will mean for this country. I pray for our country.

  17. Helen Bollger says:

    I am a former Republican but when they voted for the big tax rates for the wealthy (trickle down economics) I changed, Then the Iraq war declared by Bush that has been tragic and unnecessary and caused such deficits, I was glad to be a Democrat. When Republicans declared that they would not approve of any thing Obama proposed I thought that was not how this country could work. This has become a country for the wealthy and the poor with middle class edged out. Not good!

  18. Dee Fredson says:

    I agree with you Chris, I have been so sick to my stomach ever since the election and mostly scared to death what will become of this country. Trumps pick of the cabinet is so dangerous, I never thought that this could ever happen putting killers in the White house. God help us. and thank you for standing up for what is right. God Bless you. I am a devout Democrat and so is my family. Dee

  19. Pamela Hall says:

    Thank tou for this wonderful and brave letter. Thank you dir showing me that there are thoughtful and consientious people on the other side or the aisle. I promise never to say horrid accusations against the Republicans: I will always think that there must be more “human” political figures across the aisle who are like you, and can unite with good Reason.Thank you.

  20. Georgette says:

    I appaud Mr. Chris Ladd’s letter which shares his sincere stand behind his values. There are millions and millions on this country, both republicans and democrats as well as a large msjority of independents. We all need to be vigilant together, be watchful over the hateful ahendas which will be implemented right in front of our very noses if we fall asleep. The nazi regime of Hitler sureptitiously pushed its agenda because people thought it was to stupid to credibly weild power. But look 👀 what happened?

  21. Arnold Woodrich says:

    Well said.

  22. Chris Ladd – I just now read your resignation letter and support you 100% for the courage and conviction you expressed denouncing Donald Trump. I am a Democrat, but have friends who are Republican and voted for Trump based on party lines. They say they didn’t really “like” Trump but couldn’t vote for Clinton. The problem as I see it is that Trump really doesn’t represent the Republican Party and so voting for him on that basis is baseless. Trump is such a danger to our country and its values, it cannot be emphasized enough. So again I thank you for your courage. You are a breath of fresh air.

  23. Dean Warren says:

    Chris…….I’m almost 82, a retired union pipefitter, long a democrat, and am really grateful for your posted letter. I had almost given up ever hearing a republican speak what’s in his heart.
    I just knew I had to be wrong, that every republican had jumped the traces and was hopelessly lost forever. Even my close religious friends and family members claiming they voted for Mr. Trump and their conscious was clear. I now believe we can live together and solve our sure to come problems. Thanks.

  24. Christine t. says:

    The sorry election of Donald Trump and the support of his candidacy by mainstream Republicans will eventually be the ruin of the GOP. Our nation needs more leaders like Chris Ladd, who follow a moral compass and have integrity and courage. I am sorry to see him resign but champion his decision. I believe men and women will stay the course and survive to lead again.

  25. John Rippon Sr. says:

    Thank you for recognizeing the complete sell out of our democracy.I have hope that many more will do the same.

  26. Robert McWilliams says:

    There are two sides to the continuum that is the collective human social psychology. In the modern age we call them “Right” vs. “Left,” “Conservative” vs. “Progressive,” etc. It is literally the force of natural selection that’s given us this duality because the synergy between the two worldviews has made us much stronger as a species. Most unfortunately, in recent decades people on the two sides of the spectrum have become less and less able to communicate and do the hard but essential work of compromise. It’s clear that Chris Ladd “gets” this intuitively. We need more from the Right with his kind of clear-eyed insight and personal courage; many, many more.

    • faster says:

      Please explain just HOW one can “compromise” with fascism.

      Your concepts of what can work are correct, but you didn’t consider how having one party go utterly toxic can still result in a healthy “middle ground.”

      Can you – or would you suggest – compromise with a “side” that wants to steamroll our entire democracy?

      The clues are huge, and have been consistently building all throughout this election cycle. Now, we’re being told to watch out for what we say that criticizes Trump. The GOP is demanding lists of names of “liberals” who worked for things like climate change, and are actively and publicly trying to “purge” liberals out of our military. The fascism becomes undeniable when we’re told we must do things “or else.”

      If you couldn’t see that an absolutist government was on the Republican ticket, the fault is your own, for not bothering to learn what you needed to know – like what fascism IS and what it DOES to people.

      I’ll give you a big clue. Fascism is an absolutist political ideology. In other words, it takes TOTAL control of a nation and enslaves the people through fear.

      Did you ever hear the phrase, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”? THAT is precisely what we will face on Jan 20.

      If you try to “suggest” compromise to the fascist leaders, you could end up on their “hit list.” Fascists don’t just fire people who disagree with them. They kill them.

  27. Kathy Chambers says:

    So glad you have the intelligence to see Trump for what he is and that you care enough to act on it.

  28. Mridu Sekhar says:

    I am a Democrat who believes in humanity over nationality and country over party ! You are doing the right thing! You actions are brave ! The leadership of Senator McConnel and Congress’sman Ryan are pitting ideology over integrity! Integrity will win every time.

  29. Janice Ray Hallman says:

    Chris, I always rejoice when any person chooses to follow his/her conscience and values. May you be blessed as you have blessed us all by your example to stand up for what you believe in for our people, our country, and our world.

  30. Marge says:

    Your letter has struck my heart. I now believe, after reading your words written with such profound integrity, that there just may be hope for us as a country. After the election I did not believe I could, or our country would ever recover from electing this vile person. I hope every voter who made this election choice can own their decisions. I pray our country and our world survives long enough to have a change in our course of action. Thank you for expressing your convictions so sincerely and eloquently. Marge

  31. Tami Johnson says:

    Dear Chris:
    Thank you for being a voice of reason in a sea of instability and insanity. This is not the GOP I grew up with and I am embarrassed for the party. Know that you’ve done the right thing.
    Tami

  32. Wendy Lalli says:

    Thank you for this. I only wish you could get through to your former party’s leaders. The fact is, even if Hillary wins, the country will still lose because of the Republicans’ refusal to believe in, let alone support, the political bi-partisan traditions of this country. Hopefully, enough of them will be true to America and turn their back on the ugly part of their party to enable Hillary – and America – to succeed.

  33. Bob says:

    As a lifelong Democrat, I am thrilled that there are still Republicans like the author of this blog and the resignation letter. He is articulate, courageous, principled and rational. I only wish there were many, many more like him.

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