I have been a registered republican since I turned 18 years old. My dad was always very vocal about politics and although at the time his career kept him from community involvement, he always spoke about candidates, issues and the importance of voting. We are Norwalk born and raised, so much of the interest and focus was always on Norwalk issues at the dinner table.
However, as a child I did not necessarily pick up on the latest city government happenings but certainly nationally whether you pay attention or not as a child, you hear adult conversations about the President of the United States. Something is retained from television, adult conversations overheard, school, current events or newspapers etc.
I chose to register Republican at age 18 (now 40) because I admired Ronald Reagan and was in awe of how he communicated and was able to identify with a broader base. He seemed to be the People’s President. Dubbed The Great Communicator, he definitely spoke to me. Although I was young during his presidency, an impression was left. Watching him speak resonated with me on a multitude of occasions. Young and impressionable I did not necessarily understand his policy at the time but I did understand his character and that he represented the United States.
It was clear, he was a leader. Through his speeches many found him reassuring and even after his presidency, the history of events, speeches and policy that he left behind made me proud to be an American. He spoke to everyone. If you study Ronald Reagan today, it is clear that his policy was overall sound. Strong on defense, the war on drugs, and a rapid growth of our economy and jobs. Reaganomics-Not too shabby. But with the policy also came the respect, leadership and the pride of being represented by someone that was positive and understood that not everyone was a Republican or a conservative or agreed with him but regardless of his stature in politics-you were who he was fighting for. And no matter what, he was going to fight for you in the most positive way he could. He was accepting and he was in many ways, a feel good president.
Was he perfect? No. But no one will ever be. That is a given. All in all, it was a wonderful time in American history and he left a legacy as a leader that I am certain not just me admired.
I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum. And I respect each and every one. I have overall remained loyal to my party. But what is party loyalty? Where do you draw the line? Just because I choose a party, does not mean that I am not entitled to a view different from the other. Insert Donald Trump. In the beginning it was okay. I voted for him. But it’s no secret that I have become quite vocal about my disapproval of our 45th President and once headliner for the GOP.
Trump in my view does not represent the party of Lincoln, the party of free markets and limited government. Trump has now become representative of quite the opposite. Trump represents Trump and political advancements and power that seem to benefit him. He did not “drain the swamp”. Trump has taken very few steps to clean up Washington. Instead he has presided over a norm-shattering expansion of private interests in government. The government during his presidency had to spend money at Trump’s private hotels as his family traveled around the globe. Trump side stepped rules that had been designed to prevent nepotism, allowing his son-in-law to serve in a top government role. It is no secret that Trump touted companies run by supporters or allies who received government contracts. (these facts courtesy of Washington Post)
Donald Trump has fueled a consistent narrative that you’re either for him and thus America or, if you’re against him, you’re against America, thereby painting those who criticize him and his policies as fundamentally unpatriotic. What? We can’t think for ourselves anymore? We can’t have different viewpoints and opinions? He uses rhetoric like this (and much, much worse) to divide our country rather than to unite it. There is a base of fanatical supporters who parrot what he says, falsely believing they are advancing conservative, Republican values.
In my view, little could be further from the truth. Repeating Trump’s falsehoods and ramblings doesn’t help the Republican Party. It simply feeds Trump’s personal propaganda machine, and is meant to build up his brand at the expense of the Republican party. Many now are finally coming to terms with these concerns and I am hopeful that as a local party we recognize the need to move forward with someone else. We are a community and embracing this rhetoric should no longer be tolerated by a local party. We represent moms, dads, grandma, grandpa and the hardworking college kid trying to land the new job or just starting out in his/her career. There should be no room for hatred, bigotry and the narrative that anyone who thinks differently than you, is not okay.
After the results of the midterm elections, it is clear that Trump is not doing any favors to those whom he endorses. Almost all he endorsed were unsuccessful on November 8, 2022. I was greatly disappointed as I wanted the red wave hype but it simply was not. There is no question Biden is increasingly unfavorable to Americans and his policies or lack there of are hurting the average citizen. There is great opportunity in my view and the time is now for Republicans to embrace the need to move away from the Trump narrative and get back on track.
We are the people’s party. But we can only be the people’s party if we move away from the narrative that has become Trump and embrace character, strength and restore confidence. The midterm elections were a convincing argument that the time is now to move in a different direction. Policy is bad and people need a leader they can be trust. As Republicans, let’s address the “elephant” in the room. Take a stand and stand up for what is right. Stand up for America. We are built on character and unity.
Not everyone will have the same beliefs. Diversity is the American dream. It is okay to not agree but we can still be united. Or at least we should be. We must set an example for young and impressionable minds.
At the end of the day, we all just want quality of life and we want what is best for our families. We want to work hard, put food on the table and have opportunity.
I hope that we can agree, that at this juncture the very least-it is time to move forward as a local community party and push a much different narrative. Our issues in Norwalk elections are not reflective of voter fraud results and rigged elections. Just like the results were proven not to be the case in a Supreme Court ruling in 2020.
Our elections are due to the fact that Republicans are fighting for the wrong leader and it is time to recognize that too many mistakes have been made and there is too much that can not be taken back. We must appeal to a broader base and we must become relevant as Republicans and recognize the need to “divorce” Trump.. Norwalk Republicans are outnumbered but we always have been. Yet, we have prevailed. We have had many successful elections in the past. Something more is lacking and that is our honor, character and how we are embracing our brand or allowing our brand to be represented. Trump brands himself and himself only.
He is not someone that I choose to represent me and my morals and principles. It is time to move forward and denounce Trump and push forward with a resolution to support something very different. I hope that Republicans local and beyond will join me in bringing back the party in a way that we can be proud of. United, strong, humble and kind. It seems corny but it is the most valuable way that we can insert ourselves in our community.
Diana Paladino Christopher