John T. Broderick: Admire Republicans who are standing up

For the Monitor
Published: 10/16/2020 3:15:12 PM
Modified: 10/16/2020 3:15:02 PM

In recent days it has been reassuring and comforting to see noted and respected Republicans in our state step out to reject President Trump’s re-election and to support the bid of former Vice President Joe Biden to become our next president. That was not an easy thing for them to do given their lengthy and well-earned prominence in state and national Republican circles. I admire the conviction and courage it took. They could have confined their protest to the privacy and anonymity of the voting booth as many Republicans may but they chose the harder road. They elected to speak publicly.

Quite simply, they put country before party and extended that challenge to all their fellow Republicans. To be sure they are not cashing in their Republican bona fides and switching sides nor should they. I trust they will remain Republicans and work to restore their party to needed credibility.

Many Republicans will join them. A vibrant two-part system is essential to a functioning democracy.

But I suspect they see what I see: that President Trump demonstrates every day that he does not possess the character, temperament, decency, curiosity and intellect to lead our nation. Some days he seems willfully blind to its history, its time-honored promises, its cherished diversity and its Constitution. Never in my lifetime has any sitting president attacked and tried to discredit and undermine the institutions of our government, worked to divide our people, demeaned our veterans, questioned the validity of our elections with unfounded claims of massive fraud, offended our allies, embraced our foes, lied to the American people repeatedly, dismissed science and attacked the free press as “the enemy of the people.” None of that is normal or patriotic or worthy of support. Indeed, it is profoundly troubling. Even now in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence and against the mandates of his own CDC the president continues his reckless neglect of the pandemic and endangers the health and welfare of the American people. It has been stunning and disturbing to watch. But there is an alternative.

I, too, support Vice President Biden. I have had the privilege to know him for 34 years. He is decent, patriotic, smart, deeply experienced, globally respected, thoughtful and richly compassionate. He respects our people, our government and our historic and critical role in the community of nations. He understands our challenges and constantly encourages what’s possible. He appeals to our better angels. He will restore the competence, character and civility so desperately needed at a very critical time for our nation and he will work whenever he can across the aisle to diminish our political divisiveness and begin to heal our nation.

The Vice President will honor our cherished values and do his level best to represent and advance the legitimate interests of all Americans. Gone will be the mean-spirited tweets and attacks and the constant contradictions and duplicity of this Administration that over time have taken their toll on the American psyche. We have a watershed choice on Nov. 3. The world will be watching. My money is on the American people to reclaim our government, our values and our rightful role in a world that is desperate for American leadership.

John T. Broderick Jr. is the former Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and founder and first Executive Director of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy.

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