“I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear.....I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear. . . . Surely we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.”
These words were spoken by Margaret Chase Smith in 1950. Smith was the first woman to serve in both houses of the United States Congress. A life-long Republican, she became the first member of congress to condemn the actions of Joseph McCarthy and delivered a 15-minute speech on the Senate floor that became known as the "Declaration of Conscience".
The quotes above are excerpts from that courageous speech and her words are equally relevant today. As thoughtful Republicans begin to speak out, might there be a shift in the ethical landscape of this very strange presidential election cycle?
Recently, David Irvine, a Salt Lake City attorney, a former chairman of the Davis County Republican Party and a former Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, quoted Smith's words in a Salt Lake Tribune op-ed. In his piece, he urged his fellow Utahns to vote for Hilary Clinton. For those who have endorsed Trump, he states,"There's a point where this failure to withdraw an endorsement becomes a self-indicting embrace of a demagogue's values."
As we head into the final months of the presidential election, we should, like Irvine, take every opportunity to quote Smith's words -and heed them.