Letter: Trumpism hijacked conservative ideals — and it must end

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington. Far-right social media users for weeks openly hinted in widely shared posts that chaos would erupt at the U.S. Capitol while Congress convened to certify the election results. Selena Gomez is laying much of the blame for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol at the feet of Big Tech. The singer told the leaders of Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube that they've allowed "people with hate in their hearts" to thrive and therefore "failed all the American people." It's just the latest in the 28-year-old Gomez's efforts to draw attention to the dangers of internet companies. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Gomez explains why she's so passionate about the issue and what she's done both publicly and behind the scenes to get her message across. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

I am a lifelong Republican. My political views are informed by conservative ideals that I truly believe lie at the heart of our nation’s founding, and at the core of the most promising version of its future: limited government, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, global leadership, and a commitment to protect and defend our nation and its Constitution. But somehow during the last four years, the banner of conservatism has morphed into something almost unrecognizable to me.  It’s become a distorted, misshapen shadow of what it once was.

Now we find ourselves at the culmination of that sad transformation: a moment in which terrorism is painted as patriotism, cowardice is passed off as strength, and blind loyalty to Trump is prized above all else. This alarming conflation of Republicanism and Trumpism is a total hijacking of conservative ideals, and it must end now.

True conservatism doesn’t spew racial slurs just to secure our borders, doesn’t alienate our allies just to reinforce our sovereignty, and doesn’t violently assault our nation’s most sacred monuments and traditions just to maintain its pride and power.

It doesn’t reject medical experts in the name of protecting personal freedoms, antagonize minorities under the guise of preserving law and order, or circulate fake news when it can’t cope with the reality of a fair election.

The Jan. 6 attack leaves a poisonous, permanent stain on both the president and his gaggle of power-hungry enablers, but it’s just one of many offenses committed against America and conservatism by this administration. The man who brought us to this point will ultimately collapse into the rubble heap that is the wrong side of history.  He’ll take with him his demeaning slurs and polarizing rhetoric, his fake headlines and small leadership, and his violent mobs and failed coup.

On January 20th, Joe Biden will succeed Donald Trump as president of the United States. This election testifies to the strength of American political institutions that have, as always, protected our democratic process and upheld the will of the American electorate.

America will survive this tumultuous moment. I know it will. I believe the Republican Party can and will survive it as well.  To that end, I am committed to helping the party reclaim its true conservative ideals.  Ideals that are still at the heart of this nation’s remarkable past, and at the core of its bright future.

Jake Hunsaker, Ogden

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