Sunday, July 24, 2016

Election 2016, Part 1

On Facebook, a friend asked me about the 2016 election and who I thought should (and shouldn't be) president. 

I've voted in every presidential election since I became eligible to vote at the end of 1977. I've voted for candidates. I've voted against candidates.

Now here we are in one of the most hotly contested elections in years. There are a great many who think that Bernie Sanders should have been the Democratic nominee. I'm not here to debate that.

Sanders is out. He ran a good race and raised a lot of important issues. But he isn't and won't be the nominee this year.

The third party candidates? Gary Johnson? Jill Stein? In my experience, these candidates serve only to muddy the waters and spoil the election for otherwise reasonable candidates. It was the Nader supporters who gave us George W. Bush. Oh, they can cry and whine about how the reason Bush was elected was because the Democrats didn't give them a candidate they could support but they couldn't see beyond their own egos long enough to see the writing on the wall.

So, realistically, we have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I cannot even fathom voting for Donald Trump and the extreme right-wing, religious zealotry of the Republican platform.

So here's what's at stake in this election.

Social Security
The Republicans have stated with no equivocation that they wish to privatize it or do away with it. 

With the former, they'd turn the money over to their cronies on Wall Street to use as they see fit. If the market is strong (which it seldom is under Republican administrations), we might fare well. But with market speculation being what it is, you can count on a lot of our seniors losing out with no safety net in place. And that's what social security was meant to be.

If our next president serves two terms, by the time that second term ends, I'll be of an age to start collecting from a system I've been paying into for over 40 years.

It's not the government's money. 

It's mine. It's a loan that comes due when I turn 65 and they'd damned well better be able to repay it.

Women's Reproductive Issues
I am not pro-abortion but I am pro-choice. And it's none of my business if a woman chooses to have an abortion. It's hers.

It's a woman's right to choose when and if she has children. 

The Republican solution is for her to either have children or not have sex. And they seem to think that her employer should be able to make that choice for her as well by not covering contraception as part of medical insurance coverage.

The Republicans have also worked to defund Planned Parenthood under the smoke screen that the government shouldn't fund abortions.

There hasn't been a government funded abortion performed at a Planned Parenthood facility in years. But there have been cancer and STD screenings, basic medical care, sex education (which the Republicans seem to hate) and contraception available at Planned Parenthood clinics which will all disappear if the Republicans get their way.

Climate Change and the Environment
Despite the number of trained climate scientists who are almost universally in agreement that human beings are having a detrimental effect on the Earth's climate, the Republicans stand steadfast in their denial of anthropogenic global warming.

We have already seen the first problems that are arising from climate change. Hurricane Katrina, droughts, bizarre weather patterns and the like are just the beginning of what could bring mankind to its knees. 

The Earth will recover. I've little doubt of that. Whether we're here to see it or not is another issue entirely.

Anti-Science Rhetoric
The band, Third Eye Blind, shouted, "Who believes in science?" in a performance at the Republican National Convention.

They were booed.

While there are some Democrats who are anti-science (or pro-pseudo science), it seems to be hand-in-glove for the Republicans. They treat science like it's the enemy.

Yet they want all the products of science while denying its teachings.

Another recipe for disaster.

Erosion of the Wall of Separation
In a letter to the Danbury Baptists, Thomas Jefferson wrote about a "wall of separation" between the church and state.

Some Republicans have said that the wall of separation is a "communist invention."

They fail to realize that this wall protects the church as well as the state.

Historically, every time a government has gotten into the religion business, either its promotion or its suppression, things have gone poorly for the people. The best solution is a secular government that remains neutral in what should be a purely personal decision.

The Republicans would undo something so vital to the success of our country that the founding fathers saw fit to put it in the first amendment.

LGBTQ Rights
The Republicans have made it clear that they think they have a monopoly on the definition of marriage. That the definition doesn't include lesbians and gays. They think it's perfectly acceptable to legislate who we can and cannot love.

Part of their platform includes support for "restorative therapy" in order to "cure" people who are gay. In other words, they see it as a defect that needs to be corrected.

As for the rights of transgender individuals, we need look no further than North Carolina's House Bill 2 (the so-called "Bathroom Bill") that was designed to discriminate against transgendered individuals in the guise of protecting women and children. But we've all seen through that smoke screen for what it is. 

I could go on and on about why I can't support Trump or another Republican candidates. As long as the treatise above is, it's only the beginning of why the Republicans will never get my vote again. I didn't even touch the 1%, "trickle down" economics (which their own former president, George H. W. Bush, called "voodoo economics") and myriad other topics. And I haven't touched on the volatility, thin-skin or narcissism of their nominee. 

Maybe Hillary Clinton isn't the ideal candidate. But she's a damned good one who has come through a great deal and is still standing. So, yeah, she's getting my vote.