Guest Columnist

Sen. Ernst must fight for our national soul

What I hoped for was character enough to join other Republicans who are now saying that Donald Trump is ruining their party

I recently wrote a serious letter to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and, mysteriously, got back a lesson intended for a high school civics class “C” student.

I wrote “I am appalled at the scene in Portland that belongs in a police state, not in our democracy.” I urged her to speak up, nothing more.

She wrote, more as a schoolmarm than as senator “As you know, on November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. On December 19, 2016, the Electoral College voted to officially confirm his victory and on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Those that did not support him have continued to raise concerns about his election and administration. I certainly respect these concerns.”

Really? How will I ever know? Here is what I did also learn in my American history class, and now share with the Senator.

Beginning on July 4, 1776, we have held elections, not coronations. Our Constitution, ratified on June 21, 1778, established rules for our democracy.

I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I have voted in 18 presidential elections. I have attended several inaugurations. Sometimes my candidate won, sometimes he lost. I may not have liked policies, but I never had “concerns” about the election. I may have deplored the outcome, but I have never had to be told it took place.

I was confident that Republican presidents understood the Constitution even as they pursued goals I did not share.

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Sen. Ernst wrote about her military service, including in the National Guard, something I, of course, knew. I did not question her patriotism. I salute it.

But that was a distant yesterday. What I hoped for, today, was character enough to join other Republicans who are now saying that Donald Trump is ruining their party, even as he sullies America’s role as a world leader, as he separates us into good and evil forces, as he encourages one nation divisible.

I am a Democrat, but I stand today alongside responsible Republicans who care about their party, as well as our country. One, Stuart Stevens, has worked “for decades,” in his words, to elect Republicans, including in four presidential campaigns. He deplores those Republicans who today support Donald Trump, as Sen. Ernst has, as having “so egregiously betrayed the principles it claims to represent.”

The Lincoln Project, a group organized by a very conservative Republican, Steve Schmidt, and joined by Republicans across the board, is urging the defeat of Donald Trump in order to permit, to encourage, a return to principle they hold dear.

They include John Kasich, a Republican stalwart, elected to the Ohio legislature in 1979, to the U.S. House in 1983, and governor in 2011, George Conway whose wife works in the White House today, and many more distressed Republicans.

They seek an honorable president who unites and does not divide. They will vote for Joe Biden on Election Day which they, as I, know without being told, is Nov. 3.

Now is the time for Sen. Ernst to serve our country in a battle for its soul. It is not the time for a furlough from civic and senatorial duty.

Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary, and authored a memoir “From Nowhere to Somewhere.”

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