FREEPORT — Adults spend countless hours teaching their children how to be good people and to be positive members of society. The lessons we teach are fundamental – the Golden Rule, the importance of helping others, being respectful, kind and loving and being accepting of others.

We teach them our values and encourage morality at home, in school and in church. We teach them to share, to listen and to think about consequences before speaking or acting. Just as importantly, we try to embody all of this in our own actions so that we can be good role models and to provide them a positive example to follow so that they can grow and thrive.

We could all do well to remember this when we approach the ballot box.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

I am a lifelong Republican who believes in the principles and values upon which my party was founded. But recently, the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee has caused me to ask myself some important questions.

Can I support the Republican nominee if that person embodies everything that I taught my children not to be?

Can I hold my nose and tolerate someone “for the good of the party” if that candidate routinely shows himself to embody behaviors and characteristics such as bigotry, intolerance, thoughtlessness, meanness, name-calling and a lack of principles that undermine what the party stands for?

Can I really cast my vote for someone just because he has an “R” after his name even if I know him to be a loose cannon, unwilling or incapable of working with others, untruthful, lacking character and largely uncaring when faced with the plight of those who are less fortunate in this world?

No matter who you are or what your political persuasion, most people agree about what makes someone a good person and what behaviors we want our kids to emulate. We do our best at home, in our schools and in our churches to teach those to generation after generation for the good of us all. But Donald Trump does not display many of them. Can that be overlooked? And, if so, what makes my choice during the 2016 presidential election – or any election, for that matter – different?

After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to view this November’s election through the lens of a parent. If Donald Trump is not a good role model and does not demonstrate the values I have taught my children and try to express in my daily actions, he should not have my support to be the leader of our country and the Republican Party. My standards and principles are higher than that, and the promise of America deserves more. Donald Trump simply does not rise to those standards and principles.

AN UNCERTAIN DECISION FOR NOW

So, what does this mean for me when I enter the voting booth? I don’t yet know.

But there are two things of which I am certain: First, I will vote for someone other than Donald Trump, in a manner that will make me (and the person for whom I vote) a positive example and role model for my kids and my country. That means that my vote will go to someone who is representative of the qualities, character and behaviors we so highly value in America but seem to have forgotten or ignored in the haze of our nation’s deserved anger and frustration with “the establishment.”

Second, I will be playing the long game when I cast my vote, caring more about the future of my party and the country than the results of any one election.

I believe in the Republican Party and that for which it stands, but it just may be that a loss at the ballot box at the top of the ticket is what is needed to begin the process of restoring the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan so that it can once again be worthy of my vote and support.