When I was ten years old, over a plate of rice, beans and tortillas, I watched the evening news in front of an old Emerson 19-inch tube TV. On the screen was a man who looked like a grandpa, resembled the dad on “Father Knows Best,” and who spoke of a Shining City on the Hill — whatever that meant.
I didn’t know who Ronald Reagan was at that time, but I knew he was an honorable man. I knew that he cared for me and my family. And I knew that even though I did not look like him, I wanted to be like him: fearless, just, righteous — an American.
Ronald Reagan embodied for me what it meant to be a citizen of these great United States of America. We are a people who are strong yet compassionate, convicted yet tolerant, determined yet understanding.
I am a Republican today because of Ronald Reagan. He instilled in me the principles that have guided my life, personally and politically. I believe in fiscal conservatism, American exceptionalism, a moral rubric based on Judeo-Christian values, and on a basic fealty to the essential standards set by our forefathers: truth, liberty, self-sacrifice and basic goodness.
And yet, today, our own president of the United States mocks these basic tenets. Since Donald J. Trump has been president, he alone has increased the national debt by over $1 trillion. Yes. One trillion dollars. The fastest any president in U.S. history has accrued that level of debt.
Our president has mocked and belittled our immigration laws, our intelligence agencies, our foreign policy strategy and even the American people. We have been called “stupid,” “weak,” “a joke” and “pathetic,” all by our own president.
Our president has reveled in sexually engaging with those actively trafficking in the pornography industry and he has ridiculed those religious leaders who would deign to question him for doing so. He mocks and laughs at those Christians who would question him.
I was one of the only Republican elected officials in the country to plead with the American voters to abandon this charlatan prior to his election. For my transgressions, I was summarily unelected from the Texas Legislature. I have no regrets. I always do what I believe is right. That is not politically expedient, but it helps me sleep at night.
But verily I say unto you today, if we do not stop this man now, today, over 500 days into his presidency, we will be equally culpable in what he has planned for our great nation. President Trump thinks you are a fool. He believes you will never abandon him. And he believes that that there is almost nothing that he can do that would cause you to abandon supporting him.
But what he doesn’t know is that you are not a fool. You, like me, are an American. And no man will own your heart and mind like this president thinks he owns you.
Today is the day we take back our America. Today is the day we say “NO” to anyone who revels in abusing those weaker than them for political points.
Today is the day we stand up and fight for the American values that Reagan taught us: truth, justice, peace, civility, comity and righteousness.
This is who we are. Not the sordid, ugly, Trumpists who require anger and vitriol.
We have the clarity and focus to do what is right to make our communities better and stronger. This is who we are — not the contorted caricature that the alt-right has created of us.
Today, we will stand with our better angels. We will stand with those who seek to transcend the common detritus of the ordinary and become citizens of that shining city on the hill that Reagan spoke of so long ago.
We are better than what this president suggests we are. We eschew ugliness and divisiveness. Donald J. Trump is no longer our leader. It is time to push him into the ash bin of history.
Today, I ask you to impeach Trump.