It was midnight, Nov. 8. I had just celebrated my 83rd birthday, and various friends and family members from different stages of my life had reached out to make me grateful for God’s many gifts. But as I sat alone staring at the TV screen it gradually sunk in that somehow my fellow Americans had made a terrible mistake, and so much that I had learned to love about my country was up for grabs.
I come from a very patriotic family—my father was cited for his heroism in World War I, I spent years in the army between graduating from Fordham and joining the Jesuits, and my younger brother served in the Marines reserve. I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. feeling as if I had been punched in the jaw, then woke up at 3:00 a.m. to see Donald J. Trump accept the voters’ decision to make him president of the United States.
Since then, I have followed the process of Mr. Trump selecting a cabinet, while secretly nursing the wild hope that the Electoral College would rescue us. So I rejoice in Tuesday’s op-ed article by Christoper Suprun, a Texas paramedic and one-time firefighter who responded to the Sept. 11 attacks and admired President George W. Bush’s leadership that helped unite the nation in the “tragic days that followed.”
Mr. Suprun is also a Republican member of the Electoral College who has watched Mr. Trump drive a wedge splitting the nation in two. He states that Alexander Hamilton in “Federalist No. 68” argues that the Electoral College “should determine if candidates are qualified for office, not engaged in demagoguery and independent of foreign influence.” He reminds us that during this year’s presidential campaign, 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts co-signed a letter opposing Mr. Trump, saying “he would be a dangerous president.”
He goes on to summarize the evidence that Mr. Trump, as he selects advisers and cabinet members unsuited for their jobs, does not understand the Constitution and “has played fast and loose with the law for years.”
Mr. Suprun concludes that when the presidential electors meet on Dec. 19, they have “both a legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.” He believes they should unify behind a Republican alternative, “an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio,” who, as we reach for unity, I suggest is also worthy of Democratic support. Mr. Suprun has been moved to make this proposal because of the oath he took 15 years ago as a firefighter and prays that his fellow electors will join him.
Since my birthday, I have prayed that someone, somehow, someday would rescue the country I love from chaos and division. I pray in gratitude for this elector’s courage and initiative.
Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., is America's books editor.