Terry McAteer: Rejecting endorsement of hatred, bigotry | TheUnion.com

Terry McAteer: Rejecting endorsement of hatred, bigotry

I have been a lifelong Republican. I have been elected six times (four times in Nevada County and twice in Inyo County) as County Superintendent of Schools. I worked hard for the Reagan and Bush campaigns (even being invited to the inauguration for my assistance).

I am first, though, an American.

This week, I was aghast that my party leader (President Trump) gave voice to hatred and gave life to un-American activities which undermine our foremost American tenant that “all men are created equal.” Therefore, I have changed my party registration this week because I cannot morally be in a party with a leader who is a bigot.

As an American Irish-Catholic, I am fully aware of the hatred spewed upon my immigrant relatives by the KKK and the Know Nothing Party. The discrimination they faced was unfair and brutal solely because they worshiped in a different church. All immigrant groups (Italians, Polish, Jewish, Slavic, etc) who came to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s faced the backlash led by the same hateful groups that reared their ugly heads this past weekend in Charlottesville.

The Republican Party was formed in the 1850s as an anti-slavery party. They represented oppressed peoples such as ex-slaves and Native Americans. They represented the Horatio Alger “rags to riches” youth who knew that anything was possible through hard work. As a youth, I was inspired by Congressman Jack Kemp, Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Reagan as they offered a “big tent” for Republicans and a moral and progressive type of leadership.

Those days are gone and moderate Republicans, like myself, have been left shaking our heads.

The final straw came this week, as a political party without a moral leader is a bankrupt party. After 42 years as a Republican, I can no longer be associated with a party that endorses hatred and bigotry.

Dr. Terence K. McAteer, a former Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, lives in Grass Valley.

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