I have always prided myself on be politically independent New Hampshire resident, and have tried very hard to remain one. Not only in label, but in mind. I try to keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say. I really do what I can to not allow myself to reach a conclusion with political candidates until I have had a chance to watch and see if their actions match their words. But I long ago learned that words mean nothing, unless paired with action. And, it’s that kind of personal vetting that has allowed me to have a dramatically different reactions to each member of New Hampshire’s political dynasty, the Sununus.
As I reached voting age, old man John H. Sununu was still the governor here. Soon after though, he moved on to the White House to serve as H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff. Without going into too many details, there was a massive transportation scandal surrounding my ex-governor. That was how, at the ripe old age of 18 I found myself engaged in some of my first political protests. That kind of activism leaves a lasting mark. Sometimes from the experience itself, and sometimes just from handcuffs or corresponding trespassing charges.
Jumping forward about a decade, and I am working at a local print shop on the late shift. One night I am asked to sit with a customer and help them edit some files on a small booklet he was producing. The customer, as it turns out, is the son of the former governor. And that was how I met the man who would soon be one of my state’s U.S. Senators, John E. Sununu.
Despite the negative connotations I had associated had with his last name, I found myself liking the guy, at least when he wasn’t asking for my vote. So, when he ran for the U.S. Senate, I gave him an honest look. (It should be noted here that during that particular election, the NH Republican Party “meddled” in the election in what would become known as the “2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal”).
Soon after getting elected, Mr. John E. Sununu proceeded to go testicle-deep in the second amendment debate. He did so in such a way that it was clear he had become a rubber stamp for The Party. That was the deal breaker for me, especially since he was supposed to be representing the entire state, not just the Republicans.
So, when Chris Sununu showed up and announced he was running for governor, I had plenty of good reasons to shout “Seriously? Another f**king Sununu?!” But once I calmed down, I knew I should give him a fair chance, like every other candidate. I can honestly say that, based on many things I saw from him during his first term as governor, I was willing to out a little check mark next to his name in order to re-elect him as governor in 2018.
What does this have to do with anything right now, especially during a presidential impeachment trial? Because it turns out the day I cast that vote (November 6, 2018) that I had cast the very last vote I will ever willingly cast for any person running as a Republican in the United States of America, ever again.
As a voter who has always tried to keep an open mind, I know that the only way I can satisfy an open mind is to give it lots of good information to examine. So, when the United States Senate voted to bar witnesses, or any new information into Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it was the Republican Party alone who made the decision.
It could be argued that the voters made this decision, because it was made by their elected representatives. Of course, you would have to ignore countless public statements and polls that say otherwise, but if you tried hard enough you could do probably get there. And if there was any shred of evidence that showed that the decision to omit witnesses and documents in a presidential impeachment trial had come about as the result of thoughtful deliberations, then I might be willing to believe this had been the will of the American people. But instead what we got was a handful of off-the-cuff excuses that all amounted to the same explanation from the Republican Party, “We are in the majority, we don’t need a reason”. And with that, the Republican-controlled United States Senate shut the door on information.
And without information, it’s impossible to be an informed voter. Which means I can no longer trust the Republican Party.
The only way I can express that to them is to make sure that, going forward, each and every time I encounter a Republican politician looking for a vote that they know that they just forever lost one of those independent votes they covet so much in tight races.