What is happening to people in our country? Why are partisan fights and arguments intensifying? Why does the far right fight so fiercely against its self-proclaimed “enemies”, whether they be Democrats, progressives or certain members of Congress?
Why are both sides experiencing divisions, violence and the destruction of our democracy?
We encounter a very nasty trend in the campaign trail – angry attacks on opponents, insults, vicious threats against candidates and their families (Paul Pelosi, Eric Swalwell, etc.) that somehow we tolerate. We cannot. These attacks are ugly and destroy our real electoral process. I don’t know what to do about it except…. Shout! What is happening?
I fear for our country; I am worried about the lives of our elected officials and their families. I’m sad for all of us.
Voters meet men in uniform at the polls, some carrying guns, cameras clicking on everyone who votes, absentee ballots banned in some states, states that want one party to control all elections, electoral rights being reduced. Absolutely scary.
Why do many Americans seem indifferent and unconcerned about a Q-Anon member hitting Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer, causing a fractured skull? Why are some Republican candidates using this very deadly fracture to make supporters laugh at their rallies? (Yes, it happens.) Why does the man who attacked Pelosi’s husband say he wanted to break his knee joints to show the House that his enemies are serious?
It seems so much easier now for far left and right wing politicians to create an enemy and promote fear than to show courage and stand up and declare it all wrong!
What can we do about it?
Get up and talk and talk about it – in city center squares or in public forums; at neighborhood meetings and social events, or in letters to the editor of daily newspapers; or front yard signs or car bumper stickers. Organize gatherings. Get the paperwork to report your concerns. Start a movement, as Americans have aptly done in the past. Think Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or “Me Too.” Or the current importance of sexual harassment against women.
All of us who care have to stand up and say, “Stop this. Look how we are all destroying our country. We do this by either hammering the husband and falsely accusing the contestants of things they never said. But we also do it through our apathy or being so quiet, because your silence tells opponents that you really don’t care. Your silence is not going to help this country.
Other Election Changes
And now for my other, albeit minor concerns:
The first: before each election, I receive a ballot filled with many state proposals. On television, I hear a daily deluge of political advertisements identified only by proposal numbers. “Vote for Proposition 86, vote against Proposition 87, but vote for Proposition 30 and remember, it’s yes on Proposition 1.
Locally, it’s the same: “Vote for measure L and against measure K; don’t vote for measure V (which, by the way, is a Menlo Park measure, but who would know that from the ads)?
Vote for Jansen for sheriff. Vote for Jensen for sheriff (yes, both are running, but against each other). Vote for Ronald Arnold. Vote for Joe Smith and, of course, also for Tom Jones. (I made up those last three names just for fun and to confuse you).
I read the measurements and their attached numbers, and figured out who was what – until I forgot them a week later. Now, what was Prop 29 about? Should I vote against Prop 21? And why then vote for 26 but not 27, since both have something to do with Indian casinos? And why should I vote for Proposition 30? An email I received today told me to vote no on Proposition 31 – it’s “government overreach”. Couldn’t this sentence apply to a large number of propositions? ?
This is just one example of what happens in this year’s election, but these consecutive proposition measure numbers and the alphabet soup of letters certainly don’t help in making a decision, because I can’t not always remember what’s what – or what’s who.
Why don’t sponsors tell us in their plethora of ads what those numbers are? For example, tell me Prop 28 means more art and music programs in schools, or Prop 21 is about abortion rights for women in this state – you get the idea.
Second, I listen to local candidate debates. Most questions from moderators are softball, for example, what is your position on housing? “I support him.” Alright, let’s move on to another problem. What about gun control? “I am for.” Etc. These are not debates.
Where are the probing questions for these candidates, the “Why”, the “How can this city afford this”? What can we cut? What are we spending too much of our tax money on?
In general, I see few pollsters from voter forum moderators. The “questions have already been asked and result in well-rehearsed candidate PR statements as answers. Easy to do, since most debate moderators ask the same questions. We need to improve that.
And finally, we live in very troubled times. And if we don’t have fair elections, we don’t really have democracy in America. I am not the first to say this. Yet the people I talk to about it seem indifferent – or nonchalant – about losing democracy. Yet if we did, it would be a crucial crisis. It can happen here – and I think it does!
To encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, story comments are available to registered users. If you are already a registered user and the comment form is not below, you must login. If you are not registered, you can do so here.
See our registration requirement announcement for comment.