Dear Speaker Ryan

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May 12, 2016
Dear Speaker Ryan,
On Thursday, May 12, you are scheduled to meet with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States. According to reports in the media, the purpose of the meeting is for the two of you to get better acquainted so that you will feel comfortable enough with Mr. Trump that you will endorse his candidacy, unify the Republican Party, and win the presidency as well as down ballot races.
I am writing to encourage you to withhold your endorsement. Please do not put party unity and the will-to-win the next election ahead of the good of the nation.
You have put the party and the next election before the good of the people in the past. When you participated in the 2009 inauguration night conspiracy where you agreed with several GOP leaders in Congress that you would not work with President Obama on ANYTHING, you elevated the politics of obstruction to new heights. Your plan partially worked, and the GOP regained control of the House of Representatives in 2010 and the GOP took control of the senate in 2014. You failed, however, to make President Obama a one-term president.
Despite your efforts, the first two years of the Obama administration were two of the most productive since Franklin Roosevelt. Economic recovery, bank reform, the auto bail-out, and health-care reform passed without your help. Let us give your predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, her due. She was a historic speaker in more than one way. She was both the first woman speaker and one of the most effective.
You apologized for your remarks about poor people during the 2012 presidential campaign. I have been waiting for you to apologize for your participation in the conspiracy. Alas, I continue to live in hope.
Again, I encourage you to withhold your endorsement of Donald Trump. He has run a ridiculous, ignorant, sophomoric, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, crass, no class, vulgar, fact-free campaign. You have had to speak against Trump’s policies on banning Muslims from entering the country and his maybe so, maybe not disavowal of racist support. To endorse him is to endorse his campaign, his style, and his positions.
Since I am not a member of the GOP or a conservative, I will not make the conservative case against Trump. I urge you to read the intellectual right. “The National Review”dedicated an entire issue to essays arguing against him. Columnists from various newspapers have written against him. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, has outlined why Donald Trump is not good for the country.
I am writing to remind you that history is watching. When we look up the list of Speakers- of-the-House of Representatives, you are on the list. You are now in the company of people such as Henry Clay, the great compromiser; James K. Polk who went on to become president; James G. Blaine who cooperated with President Grant to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875; Sam Rayburn, the longest serving speaker so far, who refused to sign the Southern Manifesto supporting segregation in opposition to the Supreme Court’s Brown v Board of Education ruling, who coined the term sun-belt in support of building Route 66, who is quoted saying: “A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.” ; Carl Albert who helped President Johnson pass Great Society legislation, including Medicare, who, in the wake of the resignation of Spiro Agnew from the vice-presidency, the Watergate scandal, and President Nixon’s resignation, did not manipulate the process to his own advantage; Tip O’Neil who worked for peace in Northern Ireland; Newt Gingrich who passed welfare reform, a capital gains tax cut, and helped Bill Clinton balance the federal budget; Dennis Hastert, a confessed child molester; and Nancy Pelosi who will forever be remembered for helping millions of people get affordable health insurance.
What will history say of you? If you cave to the pressure to unify the party and Hillary Clinton becomes president, you will have sold your soul for very little. Will you work with Clinton to pass good legislation for the country or will you continue the useless craven politics of obstruction? If you support Donald Trump and he wins the presidency, will you craft and help pass legislation that will ban Muslims from traveling to the United States? Will you go down in history as the speaker who passed legislation to fund a police force powerful enough to round up 11 million undocumented people and deport them to various countries around the world? Will you pass the appropriations for a border wall? Every thinking person knows that Mexico will not pay for such a wall. Even Donald Trump’s own explanation on this is ludicrous. He says the money will come from the trade deficit. We know that the deficit is not a pot of money from which one can draw. Will you abandon your free-trade principles and block good international trade deals, opting for protectionism? Will you place punitive taxes on companies that choose to relocate their manufacturing operations outside of the United States?
You will have to look yourself in the mirror every day. What is your moral core? We have not seen a moral center from Donald Trump. He only cares about winning and the art of the deal. So, he will take one position in the morning and another in the afternoon and call it a negotiation.
There was a time in the history of this country when the office of Speaker-of the House of Representatives was not a partisan position. I do not expect you to declare yourself non-partisan, but you can say that you cannot endorse Donald Trump. You can explain this to your people during your own reelection campaign, and if you lose, you lose. There must be something you are willing to lose an election over? What is that thing?
I hope it is the idea of America. Donald Trump is dragging that idea through the mud. Republicans are falling in line. I hope that you will have the heart, the spine, the guts, the clarity of vision, the brains to say no to Donald Trump. History will think well of you if you do. Peace.
Valerie Elverton Dixon, PhD
Founder of
Author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation”