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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter to Sen. Murkowski

By Michael McNally


September 14, 2016
Wednesday PM

Dear Senator Murkowski,

Do you remember 2010? As an independent Alaskan voter you can bet I do.

To refresh your memory, 2010 was the year that the far right wing of the Republican Party denied you the party nomination, preferring to run Joe Miller as their candidate. You were re-elected only with the support of Alaska's moderate centrist voters -- I was one -- and we hoped that when you returned to Washington you would remember that it was the people, not the party, who sent you back to represent our interests.

Six years later we are again in an election year, possibly the most polarizing election of our lifetimes. Through an unprecedented and almost unbelievable primary process, all of Alaska watched as the largest plurality of Republican primary voters chose Donald Trump as their candidate for the highest office in the land.

For as long as I can remember the Republican Party has promoted itself as the party of American values. As an independent voter I don't agree with the implied claim that the GOP has a monopoly on such values but if your party's aspiration to represent American values is to have any meaning at all then now is the time to be clear about what you believe those values to be. Despite his occasional half-hearted gestures to the contrary it could not possibly be any plainer what sort of values Donald Trump represents and what kind of man he is. Are those your values as well? If not, then why have we heard only silence on the matter from you and our other elected representatives? What kind of leadership is that?

To what will be their lasting disgrace, the national party apparatus has lined up behind Trump as he openly courts racists and promotes religious intolerance, energizes misogynists, and brazenly appeals to authoritarians, praises foreign dictators, and offers an incoherent mess of ridiculous and transparently fraudulent promises in lieu of policy. Many conservative figures of national prominence have openly refused to endorse Trump or have given their endorsement to Secretary Clinton but the list of conservative public figures willing to speak on the record is light on incumbent office holders. However, you are in a unique position -- the only serving Republican-aligned senator to have been re-elected in your last race without the support of the party. I have spoken on several occasions with your office staff here in Ketchikan, asking when Alaska voters can expect a statement from you on whether you support or repudiate the campaign being waged by Trump and his allies. They tell me that they have received many similar requests from voters on both sides of the issue. And yet no statement has been forthcoming, nor can they tell me when one will be available.

I can promise you this -- nobody respects a cowardly choice and neither side will love you for trying to ride the fence on this issue. Alaska voters deserve, and should
receive, a strong and clear statement from our leaders, starting with you. I personally hope that you will choose to publicly reject Trump, withhold your support, and speak plainly in support of an Alaska that welcomes and is open to Americans of all kinds. But one way or another, Alaskans expect you to choose.

Yours sincerely,

Michael McNally
Ketchikan Resident and Concerned Alaska Voter
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received September 14, 2016 - Published September 14, 2016




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