I am writing this letter to voice my concerns over the direction that your party is trying to take this country. My primary focus is on the environment and climate change, although there are a couple of other points I would like to quickly address. First, the fact that even after the tragic shooting in San Bernardino Republican members of Congress continue to fight gun control legislation is appalling. Secondly, the anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric coming from many members of your party is repugnant. The United States is a country of immigrants, and although my family has been here for several generations, a DNA test of my blood shows European ancestry, not Native American.

The anti-Muslim sentiment is outrageous, and the recent statements by Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIntel CEO becomes third exec to leave Trump council after Charlottesville Rupert Murdoch urged Trump to fire Bannon: report Protesters descend on Trump Tower as president returns home MORE on the matter are horrendous. The fact that he is considered by many to be a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nominee for president is a tragic example of what has happened to the Republican Party. Does the party need reminding of the countless examples of terror that have been carried out over the years in the name of Christianity? Do the Crusades ring a bell? How about the fact that there have been many home-grown, white male terrorists in the United States, such as the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh? Not all Muslims are bad people, just as many so-called Christians are poor examples of their faith group. 

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My primary cause of concern with the Republican Party is the environment and climate change. Some of the things I hear coming from the mouths of your members keep me awake at night, make me feel sick to my stomach, and cause me to have great fear for the future of this country and the planet. The Republican Party used to be a party that had concern for the environment. In fact, 70 percent (19/27) of major environmental acts and laws were created during Republican presidencies, more than during Democratic presidencies. Sixty percent (9/15) of Federal agencies and commissions concerned in some way with the environment were established by Republican administrations; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was signed into law by Richard Nixon. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, is considered by many to be one of the fathers of modern conservation. He set aside more than 230,000,000 acres of land to be protected in one way or another. Even George W. Bush created the largest marine reserve at the time during his presidency, and spoke of the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, develop alternative energy sources, and tackle climate change during his 2007 and 2008 State of the Union addresses.  

The Republican Party of old has become a perverted version of itself, corrupted by greed, by money from Big Oil and Dirty Coal, by the influence of the likes of the Koch brothers and Donors Trust, and organizations like The Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute. Gone is a sense of reality, replaced by the views of right-wing Tea Party ideologues. The RepubliCAN Party has become the RepubliCANT Party; if the president is in favor of it, they can’t be, if it is good for the environment, they can’t let it happen or want to dismantle it, if the majority of Americans want it, they can’t do it. Nearly all credible scientists and most faith leaders agree that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our future, yet the Republican Party is hell-bent on gutting environmental regulations, attempting to disrupt the COP-21 proceedings, and putting the country and in fact the planet on a fast-track collision course with a death sentence. 

I was raised in a Republican household, one with a strong environmental ethic. As I grew older, and saw what direction the Republican Party was heading, I could not in good conscience remain a member. I am proud to say that I am a registered Democrat, and if I had the money to run for elected office, I would do my best to oust or at least challenge those of you running for re-election or election to higher office. Unfortunately, I don’t have dirty oil money flowing into my pockets, so this voice of the common people will not be heard on the big stage. I am 40 years old, and I work two jobs to make ends meet, yet I give a percentage of every paycheck to environmental and conservation organizations. If any of you gave a damn about the future of this planet, I would not have as much reason to be pessimistic, yet the Republican Party of today inspires little more than pessimism and a feeling of despair. 

I am not expecting a reply, as I am sure you will disagree with everything that I have had to say. The sad thing is, you don’t represent the views of the majority of decent people in this country, yet you carry on as if yours is the only way. During this holiday season, I hope that you will at least reflect on what I have had to say, and perhaps just like the Grinch, your hearts will grow as well and you will start to do the right thing for the United States and our greater global citizenry.

Taylor is an environmental educator.