Op/Ed: We Are One

Four years ago, I felt great pride and joy when I saw Donald Trump taking the oath of office on the United States Capitol steps. However, the joy I felt then slowly dwindled as the days of his presidency wore on. I soon realized that Donald Trump was not just destroying the Republican values that I stood for, but also the American values that every single American — Republican and Democrat — stand up for every single day.

In 2018, former House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said “there is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” The statement held true then and still holds true today.

Unfortunately, not many Republicans realized that the Republican Party was being misrepresented during the four years of Trump’s presidency. Although I’ve always had the hope that the Republican Party would return to the party I know, I now fear it might not.

The Republican Party I know is the Party of Lincoln, the party that has the ability to not play identity politics, that reaches compromise for the betterment of the American people. The party that does not think only about themselves, but also thinks about the American people and stands for what they believe is right rather than being a puppet to someone who does not reflect what being a Republican really means. Most of all, the party that respects our democracy and our democratic process rather than undermining it for one’s own benefit.

We had a man who put a great stain on the Republican Party. The stain can be cleaned but not by just one person. It will take a group effort and all Republicans must come together and clean this.

The first step to clean the mess that Trump created is for all Republicans to come together and realize that he did create it. Some Republicans realized that after the Capitol riots, but that’s not enough. Republicans should also realize the damage Trump has caused over the course of his presidency. We need to realize how Trump has put a bad image on the Republican Party, and then figure out ways we can fix the image to appeal more to the American people.

As President John F. Kennedy said in his inauguration speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” In order for that to happen, every single one of us, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, should get up every single day and ask ourselves, “What can I do today that will make this country a better place?”

We did that, but Donald Trump doesn’t ask that question in the morning. Instead, he asks “What can I do today that will put myself in a better position.” That mindset has also led other Republicans to ask, “What can I do today that will further Donald Trump’s agenda?”

The second step to bring back the Republican Party is to do away with that mindset and go back to the mindset that Kennedy wanted all of us to be in.

The Republican Party can do this by growing up. Republicans are now scared to stand up for what is right and stand up for Republican values. Donald Trump created an environment of fear and hatred which caused many Republicans to become his puppets. Republicans have to now realize that they have to stand up for what is right not just for their own party, but for the American people. If this does not happen soon, I fear that we will not be able to get back to Lincoln’s party.

The third and final step to rebuilding the Republican Party is the most important one. It is something that Republicans and Democrats must do. We all have to stop playing identity politics. We are not European Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans. We are Americans, period. Let’s stop having the mindset that we are not going to get along with a person just because they are part a different political party. If we don’t stop, then we won’t be able to get things done and we won’t be able to progress our country further.

These are dark times. These are troubling times. The only way we can get through this is to come to a realization that we are not separated by parties. We also have to realize that we all are one and that it is OK to be different from one another. The one thing I like to say is that Republicans and Democrats have one thing in common. They both want the United States of America to be the best country for every single person, regardless of race, religion, and gender. The only thing that separates them is that they both believe that there are different ways to make this country a better place. I believe that if we all start working together and come to compromises, then we can start to make advancements in this country and create a less toxic political climate. As George W. Bush said, “We are not partisan combatants, we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise.” Let’s rise together.

Viraj Joshi
Chadds Ford Township

Viraj Joshi is a freshman at Penn State University

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