Do you support the vulgarity in our current executive branch of government and the stoking of fear of everything from immigrants to Democrats? Do you support the separation of children from parents and the deportation of those parents to other countries?
How about the cruel neglect of the Dreamers? Do you support scorched-earth tariffs that impose crippling taxes on American businesses and consumers? Are you pleased that POTUS alienates our allies and makes cozy with murderous authoritarians?
One political party supports these policies, either overtly or by acquiescence. One does not. Most Republicans will vote for Trump in 2020 regardless of his financial ties to bad actors.
Do you believe that any limitations of gun rights are infringements of the Second Amendment, or do you agree with Ronald Reagan that assault weapons should be banned? I agree with Antonin Scalia, who did not believe that citizens were guaranteed the right to own an assault-style weapon, which is easily defined despite what the NRA says.
The AR-15 (and similar models) is the symbol of gun-right absolutism and historically is the firearm most capable of inflicting the greatest number of casualties in a single shooting incident. Some will say that a ban would be ineffective because of the vast number of these weapons already possessed. However, it is critical that we as a society take a strong position with a ban that sends the message that these weapons represent an unreasonable risk of harm.
The manufacture of these weapons and their accessories should be stopped. Subsequently, they could be confiscated when discovered during the course of appropriate investigation of crimes justifying a search by law enforcement authorities. It is slow progress, but we're now in the position of needing to understand that gaining sanity over this menace is a long game, were not going to erase this threat in any short term and if we never begin, our successors will have an even more ominous task facing them.
I appreciate that many gun owners are responsible and may even keep their gun in a locked safe. Many gun safes, however are easily breached by a good crowbar, and thousands of guns are stolen on a regular basis. Besides, your gun will most likely outlive you, and a subsequent owner may not share your sense of responsibility and sanity. There is no safe assault-style weapon.
Aside from the above, there are many common-sense proposals that are shunned by Republicans and pro-gun zealots. Bans on bump stocks, silencers and ridiculously oversized magazines are no-brainers that we should demand of elected officials. How about overturning the Jay Dickey amendment that blocked the CDC from even researching gun violence? Why can we not close the gun show loophole and have our own state red flag law? It's obvious that the majority members of current state and national governments will never take us in the right direction on these issues. Vote with the party that will.
Do you believe in a woman's right to a legal abortion, as is the law of the land? The Republican state Legislature imposed law after justly contested law restricting this right on the grounds of bogus safety issues. Members of the Democratic Party can, however, empathize with the plight of women who are candidates for abortion and support Roe v. Wade.
Do you believe that Americans should fully participate in voting for our elected officials? Do you think our government should encourage by words and policies our citizens to exercise this basic right of citizenship? The Democrats do, and they support expanding opportunities for working folks to cast their ballots.
The GOP, however, has sought to restrict participation by specious laws in order to protect their majorities under the guise of protecting the integrity of the process. Rubbish. There is little to no evidence of voter fraud. This is all about personal power and party over country. Thousands of Native Americans in North Dakota in rural areas and on reservations have just been disenfranchised by the Kavanaugh Supreme Court because they don't have a street address.
Similarly, the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp of Georgia has purged 1.4 million registrations since 2012. And we have our own legal stumbling block voter ID law forwarded by Representative Mark Lowery, which is another solution in search of a problem. Provisional ballots and other remedies prescribed for insufficient identification are still obstacles which hinder voting and further the purpose of the Lowery legislation. Voting irregularity lies with the absentee voting process which the GOP's oppressive policies do nothing to address.
Are you comfortable with the suffering of fellow Americans who cannot afford health care but don't qualify for assistance? Is health care simply a commodity like a TV or a dishwasher? Is it just for those with the money and for others to do without? Or do you think as the Democrats do, that maybe this fortunate country of ours has such a thing as a moral obligation to alleviate such suffering and provide what our medical resources have to offer, especially if we pool our resources according to the law of large numbers?
Medicare works great for me and I bet it would for you as well. Some say we can't afford that, but I suspect those don't want it to work in the first place. And besides, it's just lazy thinking.
Make no mistake, the GOP wants to voucher Medicare, strip down Medicaid and turn your health care over to the benevolent hands of insurance giants. This gets us back to the bad old days of "uncompensated" emergency room care, which is poor in efficacy and squeezes the viability of rural providers. Obamacare has its problems, one of which being the GOP bootheel on its neck. Premiums are too expensive but let us not forget that 40 percent of bankruptcies were related to medical expense before the ACA came to be.
This newspaper just reported an article by Kim Cobb of the Georgia Institute of Technology urging "an aggressive drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that would avoid some of the worst damages associated with climate change." Do you agree? One party favors such actions, the other chants "drill here, drill now." Some argue that other countries wouldn't undertake transitions to greener energy and that we'd only disadvantage ourselves in a futile effort; not true as we see other countries making progress in greener energy.
Besides, have we not always believed it was our duty to lead the rest of the world when it comes to the big issues like democracy, freedom and civil rights? Climate change is of the utmost urgency. Have we abandoned our leadership role? Does "America first" mean that we don't care about what happens in the rest of the world? That would be foolhardy; we're all connected and obviously what happens elsewhere affects us all.
I understand that many are fearful of our changing demographic. Capitalizing on this fear is the basic currency of the GOP and I believe the underlying purpose of many of their policies. By 2020, whites under the age of 18 will no longer be the majority of this age group, by 2045 minority groups will outnumber whites. This is simply the way it will be.
We should heed the lessons of the short-sighted Jim Crow laws and subsequent institutional discrimination. The future of diversity should be accepted and embraced for the betterment of all peoples and our country. Denying the inevitable will just make life miserable for everyone.
There are high stakes for all of us in the midterm elections. Bring your family and friends to the polls. Vote for the party that believes in legislating for we the people.
Roland Robinson of Maumelle, a graduate of the University of Arkansas, is retired from the Arkansas Insurance Department, where he worked in risk management.
Editorial on 11/04/2018
Print Headline: Go vote! This week's elections matter