I’ve written an open letter to the electors via DearElector. There’s a copy of the letter posted here, where you can add your name as a signator, if you feel I’ve said anything worthwhile, but the body of the text is also replicated in this post.
These are the things I can probably safely say I know about you:
You have deeply held convictions.
You are politically active.
You are a Republican.
That’s it: that’s all I know about you. I know those things because you’re a Republican elector for the Electoral College, a position you wouldn’t be in without being politically active and holding deep enough convictions to feel it was an important use of your time and energy.
I admire that profoundly. I grew up in a very political family (my uncle Hugh Malone was one of the instigators of the Permanent Fund), and as an adult it still shocks me when people aren’t politically involved. The fact that you are relieves me, even though I’m on the other side of a political divide from you.
There are things I imagine I know about you, too. Right now, mostly I imagine that you might feel caught between a rock and a hard spot in casting your electoral vote. I could easily be wrong; you might feel that your task is simple in this election cycle. But it’s hard to imagine you expected a president-elect who would fill his cabinet with people like a self-admitted bigot whose hero inspired him to say, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment” (Steve Bannon, The Daily Beast, 2013), or Goldman-Sachs alumni, or former representatives of Exxon, who were responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in Alaska itself.
It’s hard to imagine you thought the CIA would conclude that a foreign interest, Russia, had interfered in the election in an attempt to install a man whom they had personal investment in the Presidency. It’s hard to imagine you thought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was aware of suspicion of such interference and felt that information, on a topic which should be of concern to every last one of us who is interested in maintaining integrity in our electorial process, should be squashed rather than highlighted, or that after McConnell moving to keep that information quiet, McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao would be nominated for a Cabinet position.
It’s easier to imagine you know we’re on history’s radar, right now.
It’s easier to imagine you know that there are very few moments in history when we can look back and learn from a parallel situation, and look forward and recognize which side history is going to place us on, through our actions.
Being on the right side of history is—historically, if you’ll forgive me—generally terrifying, in the moment that it’s happening. Choosing to go against tradition or social expectation, to find a line and say, “They shall not pass,” is a tremendous action of courage and foresight.
You are in a unique, rare, powerful position right now. You have the ability, right now, to be on the right side of history. It will require an action that many people, many of your peers, will not approve of, and equally, an action that many of them will approve of.
It will require a tremendous degree of confidence in your understanding of history and your vision of the future—because again, it’s difficult to imagine that no matter how much our visions of America might differ, that your vision of the future allows for someone like Steve Bannon to encourage the president-elect to destroy the very foundations of our nation—and a tremendous degree of confidence in yourself as someone who is trustworthy to shape the future of our nation.
I imagine you would not be in the position you are right now if you did not have that degree of confidence in yourself. You wouldn’t be in the position you are right now if our Founding Fathers had not also had that degree of confidence in you: the Electoral College was established in part so that people of conviction and wisdom could prevent someone hopelessly unqualified and influenced by toxic regimes from being placed in the Presidential seat.
I imagine that you know no one in American history has ever been censured or fined for being a ‘faithless elector’, nor are Constitutional lawyers convinced that it is lawful to require electors to vote in a winner-takes-all bloc.
I genuinely believe that it’s the duty of our Electoral College, people whom I believe to be patriotic, passionate, and of strong conviction, to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote, whose qualifications outshine the current winner of the electoral votes. I genuinely believe that such a vote is what our forefathers would expect of us and what our grandchildren will thank us for. I genuinely believe this is a turning point in history, and that the Electoral College is our last, best hope for peace and prosperity for all of our futures.
I ask you to cast your vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19th, 2016, and to go down in history as someone who stood up for, and helped to shape, the continuing American Experiment for all of us.
Catherine (CE) Murphy