An Open Letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan:
Dear Mr. Ryan,
I like you.
You come across as more genuine than the average politician. Sometimes you even let your affection for President Obama leak out which I think is great – we could use a bit more of that if you ask me. I even like your nerdy version of being handsome – I don’t know how you pull that off.
And sometimes I like your politics – like your obsession with fiscal responsibility – that’s awesome.
However, recent events have soured things a bit in our relationship. But before it’s too late, I wanted to give you one last chance to not only get my like back, but a whole lot more…
Recently you endorsed Donald Trump. You hated that. Truth be told, you can’t stand him. Not as a politician, but as a person. You despise his racism and sexism and narcissism. And if you could just make a decision absent of the responsibility of your position and the potential for your future, you would have done what Jeb or John have done and kept your distance. But you’re the Speaker of the House… AND you have your eye on a certain rectangular desk in an oval office (don’t worry, I’ll keep that one between you and me), and so you did what you thought had to be done. You swallowed your pride, you put on your mic, and you said it, “…I’ll be voting for him this fall”.
Thud! (in case it’s not obvious, that was my heavy heart hitting the floor)
You sold out. You calculated the cost of going against him but the price was too high, and you sold out. And part of you regrets it. Part of you is even still considering taking it back, and it is to that part of you that I’d like to appeal.
House Speaker Ryan, I commit here and now to voting for you in 2020 or 2024 (your choice) if you will simply do what you know is right and once again swallow your pride, put on your mic, and take it all back. I know that part of you wants to. It’s the part of you that is real, and genuine, and kind, and just. And just to add a carrot, it’s the part of you that will win over younger voters who you’ll need in your quest for that egg-shaped office.
And if you’re up for taking it back, may I offer one suggestion? Your political advisors will tell you to say something like, “After first meeting with DT I was convinced that he could lead our nation forward, but recent events have shown that not to be true. Therefore, I am rescinding my former endorsement”, i.e., I’m changing my mind and DT is to blame.
Don’t listen to them.
If you’re gonna do it, go all in. Take the blame. After all, it’s yours to take. DT hasn’t changed a bit. You had the information you needed, you just made the wrong call. So own it! Give us something to believe in and just say what is true – that you knew what you should have done but you sold out to politics as usual, but that it’s not too late and that you won’t be voting for DT in the fall and you hope others won’t either.
And here’s what I predict will happen next…
In the short term you’ll be a political pariah – and that will be hard. But DT won’t win the election, and in 4 or 8 years those wounds will be ancient history and you will have endeared yourself to many. Millennials will love you, conservatives will get behind you, minority groups will believe in you, and right-leaning Democrats like myself will give you a serious look.
But even if those predictions are wildly miscalculated, at least you’ll be remembered as a man who stood by his convictions even when it was hard. A man that his wife and children can be proud of. A man that said what needed to be said when our nation needed him to say it.
I know this relationship isn’t as important to you as it is to me, but if you’re reading this and if you do it – you’ll get my like back and you’ll get my vote.
Oh – and P.S. – if you throw in an acknowledgment that climate change is a result of human activity – I”ll do more than vote for you – I’ll canvas the state and deliver MA for you in the general (5 of our last 6 governors, one whom you know pretty well, have been Republicans, so it can definitely be done).