BY MIKE LARSEN
I’ve supported Republican leaders my entire life — George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney. I respected and saw true leadership in them all.
One process has pushed me farther from the party I once thought represented me: Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would fill her seat immediately.
In 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. They thereby established a precedent that Supreme Court seats should not be filled in a presidential election year.
Yet, now that the tables are turned, they plan to confirm Donald Trump’s nominee before the election. They are flying in the face of their own convictions.
The hypocrisy and outright lies defy the values I once associated with my party. I want my 3-year-old son to have leaders he can look to as role models. I want to pass down to him the principles of leadership I grew up with.
The values I want my son to have are simple: Tell the truth, even if you’re not proud of what you’ve done. Don’t be a bully — be kind and empathetic. Try to stand in other people’s shoes and understand their perspective. Most importantly, work hard and follow through on your promises. These are the markers of leadership.
I am a conservative, and I likely will agree with a lot of the stances of the new Supreme Court nominee.
But frankly, democracy matters more to me than having solely my views in power. Even leaders who I still had hope in, like Sen. Mitt Romney, are choosing power over principle.
Leaders our children grow up with will significantly impact our country’s character for generations. My son is in one of the most formative stages of his life. His generation will look to leaders for guidance.
By not standing up to this hypocrisy, conservative leaders in Congress are dismantling the independence of the judicial branch.
I fear for the country my son will grow up in. America is at a crossroads, and ordinary people are coming to understand that it is up to us to stand up for one another.
Like any father, I will do what I need to do to fight for a better world for my child. That means rejecting manipulation of power and demanding that our leaders represent the voices of the people.
Mike Larsen lives in Jacksonville, FL, with his wife and their 3-year-old son.