Keep ‘Republican’ affiliation on yard signs

To the editor:

I can understand why local Republican candidates would leave their party affiliation off of their yard signs. Being a Republican does not mean what it once meant: Supporting limited government, fiscal restraint, family values, our military.

Being a Republican now means whatever President Trump says it means: Limiting government to self-dealing cronies unable and unwilling to procure and fairly distribute medical supplies in a pandemic or actively crippling a post office to a point that it cannot reliably return a ballot; creating record budget deficits, cruelty toward our immigrants; the sexual exploitation of women; and the degradation of our veterans. This is not a party that the majority of Fairfield County supports any longer.

So, I can understand the desire to hide from such an affiliation, but to remove the name of the party from yard signs — and to go the further step of asking Democrats to do the same — does not solve the problem of a co-opted Republican party. Rather than a purported attempt to rise above partisanship, it is an obfuscation, a deliberate attempt to mislead voters. Not only does it deny voters basic and accurate information about an election, but it creates the illusion that party does not matter.

But party does matter. Not only because those we elect here may rise to influence or further the national policy agenda, but because in today’s Republican Party those ideas and priorities filter down. It was Republican governors who followed the president’s lead in reopening too soon after the COVID-19 shutdown and disregarding basic public health precautions like mask mandates to disastrous result. We need the assurance from our state and local leaders that they will not fall in line in the same way.

Local Republicans cannot credibly say they differ from the president. The party is the president. Change your party or leave your party — or at least critique your party, as no one from the U.S. Senate to the Connecticut General Assembly has dared do — but let’s not pretend that today’s Republican Party is not a vehicle in service to one incompetent, venal and cruel person, and that it is not an affiliation that matters.

Rebecca Martin

Westport