A Guest Essay by our member William:
I guess we’ve heard that before, and said it before, too. But this time it really is the most important election ever. Frankly, I don’t know if this country or planet can survive a Republican president, to go with a Republican-dominated Congress and a right-wing Supreme Court. Maybe thirty years ago we could have survived it, but probably not now. We certainly should never give up; but I don’t even want to think much about what would happen if we were to lose this presidential election, and particularly when we have a truly superb candidate and potential president in Hillary Clinton.
The problem is that the Republicans are beyond redemption. There aren’t any Nelson Rockefellers or even Gerald Fords out there now. Every one of the Republican candidates, and indeed 99% of the Republicans in the Congress or the state legislatures, is wrong on virtually every issue, all the time. There is no redeeming quality in their politics. Their rigid and unnuanced views are like a religion to them. They want to cut the tax rates for millionaires, and make up the lost revenues by shredding the safety net. They want to destroy all labor unions, so that we are back to 1870 or so, when people had to work 18-hour days in horrible conditions, so that twenty or so people could become billionaires and live in Versailles-like palaces, and buy a bunch of faberge eggs. They want to remove even the very limited environmental protections we have, so that we can return to the era where companies could cut down trees, strip mine the land to death, pollute the water and contaminate the food, all with impunity. They want there to be no restrictions whatsover on any kind of gun purchases. They want to end the right to abortion, and access to birth control as well. And this is all of the Republicans, at least 99% of them on each of these issues.
Let me tell you what I know many of you already know, or maybe are trying hard not to think about, because it is so frightening. If the Republicans win the White House this time, I doubt that the country can recover from it. I never have thought that before. I went through Nixon and Reagan and both Bushes; and though I was very upset when we lost those elections, I thought that we would get through those regimes; that people would react to them and then elect better people. And though it didn’t always happen right away, it usually turned around. But this time, I am not sure. And I know that our planet cannot afford to take this chance.
So here are the reasons why I think that this election is the most important one ever. And here are the issues which highlight it.
1. Global warming.
Some days I feel compelled to read the statistics and the scientific findings. Some days I find it too depressing to do so. Let’s just say that it is absolutely imperative that we try to do something about global warming now. We cannot wait even another year.
Hillary Clinton will do something about it. I am sure of that. She is aware of the magnitude of this problem. I saw Bill Clinton make a speech at Georgetown University not that long ago where he talked about “one last chance” to do something significant to curtail global warming. The Clintons will not let this chance go by. Now, obviously, Hillary would have to deal with that more than recalcitrant Congress, but that is why it is so crucial that she manage to pull in some legislators with her by winning handily. We need both Hillary to win, and for the Congress to be much more favorable. A large task, but it is not impossible. I personally think that if Hillary actually made global warming and climate control the centerpiece of her campaign, it would work, because I think that most people are now pretty well aware of it, and just need some leadership. The Republicans’ position on this issue is essentially nothing. They cannot even pretend to want to do something, because they would upset their oil billionaire masters. So they would look like idiots in any debate which focused on this. I would pound away at this issue. I am not sure that Clinton will do so, but I wish she would; because it is a winning issue, and because it dwarfs every other issue.
2. The Supreme Court
Conservatives have controlled the Supreme Court for about 25 years now. Calling them “conservatives’ is actually being generous; because what they are is right-wing corporatists who were carefully selected by Republicans to think exactly the way they want them to; to never grow or evolve as jurists, just to decide cases in the same way that the Republican legislators vote on every single bill.
This was actually the master plan of the right-wing think tanks; and I would not be surprised if the “Citizens United” decision was what they had in mind all along. As long as Citizens United remains law, there will be no stopping the radical right billionaires from trying to take over our entire political system, lock stock and barrel. There has been some talk about trying to pass a constitutional amendment to invalidate that decision, but in my opinion that is virtually impossible, given the number of deep red states which would never vote for such a referendum; and you need three-quarters of state legislatures to do so
The only way to end Citizens United is to have a different Supreme Court revisit and essentially overturn it. And that very well could happen if we can win the White House. All we need is for one of those right-wing Justices to retire. If Hillary Clinton can win two terms, I would be pretty confident that it would happen. The Republicans are well aware of this, too. They think that they own the Supreme Court. They have turned it into a politicized branch of government which has lost most people’s respect. They will do everything they can do–and it is a good deal– to try to defeat Hillary Clinton in this election. And we cannot let them do it.
3. The Safety Net
Jeb Bush didn’t even try to hide it. The other day he said that Medicare would have to be phrased out. Why? Well, because the Republicans have to pay for their tax cuts for billionaires. More importantly, because they are committed to rolling back all the progress made by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and returning us to the Gilded Age. They do not want people to get Social Security benefits, or Medicare. They want them to starve or get sick on the streets, and then have the courtesy to do so out of the range of the rich people who do not want to have to step over them on their way to fancy restaurants. And that, as overstated as the major media might think it sounds, is actually exactly what the Republicans want to do, and plan to do. Watch them, if they get control of the executive branch.
Hillary Clinton would of course protect Social Security and Medicare. She would not “put it on the table” as Obama kept indicating he would do. Those crucial protections for retirees and the elderly would remain in place, and would undoubtedly be strengthened under a Clinton regime.
4. Workers’ Rights
Again, the Republican goal is to return to the time when there were no labor unions; and company bosses could hire police officers to shoot would-be organizers or strikers in the back; or hire Pinkertons to break the heads of labor agitators, and sheriffs to throw them into jail. Labor unions are the only threat to management being able to pay as little as possible to employees, provide no benefits and no safety standards. So why not get rid of them? They are trying to do it in Wisconsin, and in many other states where this would have seemed anathema twenty years ago. Who is going to stop them? A Democratic President would. And Hillary Clinton has always been supportive of the rights of workers.
The Republican goal is to make abortion illegal, the way it was before the pesky liberal Warren Court made it legal 42 years ago. They are making headway at the state level. All they need is a somewhat more conservative Supreme Court, and they can probably overturn Roe vs. Wade, or at least make it a state by state issue, and then try to get the state legislatures to make it illegal in as many states as possible, if not all of them.
6. Various other environmental issues
The party which always puts the wealth of industralists above the protection of the environment, has all sorts of plans to build more pipelines, to allow fracking everywhere; to drill offshore on both coasts and in any preserve. Again, just give them a president to not veto such bills, and they will take care of the rest.
Hillary Clinton has always been very pro-enviroment, and I am completely confident that a Clinton Administration would do more to protect the land, the wildlife and the waterways, than any administration has in quite a while. We have this one little planet to survive on; and a political party which doesn’t care an iota about protecting and saving it, is beyond evil, in my view; and it is imperative that they not gain absolute power. The Republican party which sometimes used to have conservationists in their midst, is long gone. In their place are wealth-obsessed millionaires who were put into office by the black money of oil barons, and who do not have the intelligence or the bravery to go against them on anything.
There are many other issues, of course. Again, this is not the Republican party of the 1960’s. This is a band of extreme right-wing doctrinaire nutcases, many of whom do not have the slightest understanding of history, economics, government, or anything else. They are the ones who were cheerfully talking about not voting to increase the debt ceiling, so that the government would default; something that would have caused an economic cataclysm. Fifth graders have a more realistic understanding of how government and economics work, than do most of these people. They don’t have even a rudimentary grasp of science eiither, as witnessed by various comments Republican candidates made in the last two election cycles. They don’t believe in global warming; they don’t believe in evolution; they don’t want to hear about medicine, botany or biology. They believe what they believe, and they ignore the rest. There were always such people, but they were usually confined to a few states, and had no power. Now they populate the halls of congress. And all their presidential candidates are like that as well. It is as scary as any science fiction movie I have ever seen.
But they can be defeated–if enough people are helped to realize what is at stake; and how different Democratic ideas are from Republicans’. And if people actually take the time to listen to what Hillary Clinton says about these crucial issues, as compared to what the Republicans say. And if voters do not let the media try to turn this election away from real issues, and toward their own little game of trying to invent personal issues or “controversies,” to make the campaign look like some kind of superficially entertaining TV “reality show.”
All of us have to do our part. Whether it is sending money; or walking precincts; making phone calls; writing essays; participating in blogs–whatever best befits people’s skills and inclinations. We just all have to do something. There is no room for waiting to complain after the fact. This really is the most important American election ever, and it is one that we and Hillary Clinton have to win.