Preston Xanthopoulos: The majority of traditional Republicans have been silenced
Former Chief Justice John Broderick is one of the smartest, kindest, thoughtful gentlemen our state is graced with and his recent words in this paper are something we should all read and take heed.
While I may not agree with every assertion in “Make no mistake. America is broken.”, it is something to consider thoughtfully, as he clearly did while penning his opinion on the state of American discourse and our democracy.
Justice Broderick poses several questions and I’d like to take a stab at answering two of them. “Where are the Republican voices with the courage to speak up? Why are so many good Republicans remaining silent or objecting only in whispers or among a small circle of safe friends?” While he may have been referring to our elected Republican leaders, let me answer from the perspective of a regular Republican folk. The answer is quite simple: We’ve been silenced.
The vast majority of we Republicans, and it is the majority of us, love our country, our democracy and don’t demonize the opposition. We have friends on both sides of the political aisle and we are dismayed at the current discourse from the fringe of the Grand ‘Ole Party. But, anytime we discuss it, we get attacked, ferociously and not just from our own side.
I expect extremists in my party to get angry when we call them out for being extremists, but, we get arrows shot at us from every angle. I’ve been vocal about my thoughts on the Insurrection, and I believe it was indeed an Insurrection, and I’ve been told by those on the rabid left, “too little too late.” I’ve been told the fact I’m still a Republican shows complacency for everything Trump may have done or said—it is a “silent support” of the violent acts of those at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to not leave the Republican Party. No words are strong enough, no sentences long enough, to be simply enough to appease those that actually agree with you on certain topics, if you are members of different political parties.
If I put “hypocrite” or “hypocrisy” into the search bar at the top of the email account attached to this column, I get literally dozens of past emails sent to me responding to something I’ve written—almost every single one of them is in response to a time I disagreed with or condemned something done by my own party, or members of it. Every time in that instance, it is by a self proclaimed liberal or Democrat who is the sender.
The reality is, while Justice Broderick is authentic in his seeking for Republicans to rally against the unAmerican acts of perpetuating “The Big Lie” or not calling out Jan. 6 and its participants and motive, the vocal Democrats on the far left are not. They don’t want us to speak out as Republicans, they simply want us to become Democrats. The problem is, being a member of a political party is not like joining a social club. I’m not a Republican to have cocktails with friends. I’m a Republican because I believe in conservative principals and a free market and I am not responsible for every word or act of others in my party any more than Democrats are responsible for every word or deed of theirs.
So, to answer your question, Justice Broderick, why do so many of us stay quiet when sometimes we want to scream at the top of our lungs for the world to hear? Because, it’s not worth it, man.
Life — and we should all know this more than ever before — is simply too short to keep walking into the wolves den, particularly when every known breed of wolf is laying in wait. The country is just too angry. So, we stay quiet, at least more than we’d like to. More than we would’ve in years gone by.
We are “remaining silent or objecting only in whispers or among a small circle of safe friends,” because it is no longer worth it to speak out. We won’t convince anyone of anything except that it’s a good idea to send a nasty email saying things like, “Your life is filled with hate and ugliness ruled by greed, fear, hate and ignorance. You are a pathetic role model.” That came from a self-proclaimed progressive in response to my fierce condemnation of the Jan. 6th attack and Trump’s role in it. And, yes, that email started with telling me to save my “hypocrisy”.
So we, the majority of conservatives and Republicans, (yes, majority regardless of what silly polls say,) stay quiet more often than not. We take solace speaking with each other and knowing how most of us feel. It’s quite simply, just healthier that way and as I noted, we aren’t changing anyone’s mind right now. Heck, Trump can’t even change his own supporters minds about the vaccine, what could be expected of the rest of us?
While I have the greatest respect for Justice Broderick and I know he loves this country that he has served in many honorable ways, let me point out one place I have more optimism about America than he might.
In his piece he noted, “Unless things change, America will continue its sorry decline from being a democratic beacon to a world yearning to be free to just a sad example of a noble yet failed experiment in self-government.” I am more optimistic than that.
Things will indeed change. When all the things causing our nation angst right now get better — and they will get better — so will our national temperature. When COVID moves out, and the inflation slows and we get further away from the 2020 election cycle, we will get better. We may be broken, but as a country, we have plenty of glue — the things we all actually believe in — to put us back together again. Justice Broderick’s piece actually demonstrated that, if you look closely enough.
Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos is a former political consultant and member of the media. She’s a native of Hampton Beach where she lives with her family and three poodles. The views expressed are those of the writer. Write to her at PrestonPerspective@gmail.com.