Dear Ms. Cheney,

Politically, I disagree with you on a host of issues. You believe in small government, and I believe that larger government is necessary to meet the social and economic needs of many Americans. You believe in deregulation as a vehicle for economic growth, and I believe that regulation is necessary to protect us from being harmed by industrial toxins, unscrupulous financial institutions, tainted foods and climate collapse. You believe in corporate welfare, and I believe that corporations and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes.

I am relatively sure we would disagree on gun reform as well, but I am not familiar enough with your other positions to draw additional contrasts.

I think we agree on some things as well: I believe in a strong military; I believe that what has been going on at the border, through umpty-nine administrations, has got to stop; and I believe in the United States Constitution.

In spite of the fact that I have real policy disagreements with you, there was no one more deserving, in my opinion, of the Profile In Courage award you received in 2022. In my estimation, you are one of the most courageous Americans in this country. You dared to expose and pursue the truth about the violent coup attempted in January 2021 under the aegis of President Donald Trump in his effort to remain in power. You did this in spite of the condemnation from your own conference that ultimately ended your career in politics.

You put country ahead of party.

That takes a level of character rarely seen in politics these days, on either side of the aisle.

Ms. Cheney, what has become of the party of Lincoln, the party that ended the abomination of slavery and gave Black Americans their franchise as citizens?

How has it come to this perilous place of unmitigated hate and exclusion, guided by the principle that any individual who is not straight, white, Christian and male has lesser value? How has it become the party of xenophobia, homophobia, antisemitism, racism, sexism and fascism?

What happened?

When did they become the party of book-banning? When did they decide that women should be denied reproductive choice? When did they conclude that every agency and institution of government should be eliminated? When did they determine that personal liberty applied only to them, to the exclusion of millions of Americans who are the casualties of their biases?

I miss the old Republican party. While I disagreed with much of the Republican platform, it was possible to engage in spirited debate and principled disagreement without flushing democracy down the toilet.

Now, Trump’s MAGA acolytes, calling themselves Republicans, represent the greatest threat to democracy since Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s House Unamerican Activities Committee of the 1950s — one of the most un-American spectacles of the past century.

Your party now proposes to rescind the Constitution, dismantle the government and stage a civil war in which they, like the Confederate states they so vigorously opposed under Abraham Lincoln, intend to secede from the union.

How did they become the opposite of who they were?

If I were a MAGA-averse Republican, and I assume there are still some out there, I would be traveling to Wyoming to beg you to run for president as the only person who appears capable of standing up to the liars and bullies working to actively destroy your party and, by extension, American democracy.

As it is, I am simply a MAGA-averse Democrat, and I am not just disgusted and angered by what I am witnessing — I am frightened.

So, as a liberal Democrat, I am asking you to run for the Republican nomination. You are one of the few Republicans in this country who might be able to prevent us from descending into a dystopian hellscape and return us to a political environment where we all recognize the floodlit warning signs of fascism and are able to have policy disagreements without taking a hatchet to our core values.

Although I disagree with you on any number of issues, if you run and secure the nomination I will pledge, for the first time in my life, to vote for a Republican.

Vickie Shufton is the school psychologist for Berkshire Hills Regional School District and Richmond Consolidated School.