Vail Daily column: Stuck with Hillary
October 19, 2016
Thank you for printing Kaye Ferry's opinion on Monday (Valley Voices). I agree with Kaye on one point: Kasich would have made an excellent candidate. Hoping to be able to vote for him, I changed affiliation to have whatever minuscule effect I could to keep Trump off the ticket. Kasich was the only viable candidate who might have addressed the biggest problem facing America: polarization. Putting ideology before America got us where we are today. I would have voted for him over Hillary in a heartbeat, even though I disagree with him in several key areas.
As it is, I'm stuck with voting for Hillary. Here's why. Kaye Ferry is concerned about Supreme Court nominees and mentions freedom of speech, gun rights, health care, union domination, religious freedom, education and election reform. I'm concerned about Trump's attempts to repress speech at his rallies and to control the press. I'm concerned about our marching to the NRA's drummer, which has brought us the majority of the nightly news lately. The NRA has moved to the extreme — check out their reasonable stands in the past. I'm concerned about believing that the free market will cure our health care woes. The Affordable Care Act has not been the answer, even though it has benefited people I care about. But the free market had us paying more than twice as much per capita annually as the next country down — with lower life expectancies than 40 other countries. I haven't heard Trump come up with any new ideas. I don't understand the fear of "union domination" — union membership in our country is as low as it's been in decades.
With regard to religious freedom, Trump has specifically targeted Muslims. We can't have it both ways. If we want to support religious freedom, it must be for all religions, not just one. Trump's education reform includes vouchers, dismantling Common Core (which he wouldn't have the power to do as president), and downsizing/eliminating the Department of Education. Vouchers could be used for religious schools — a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, as has been determined by courts right here in Colorado. If by "election reform" he means requiring ID (which sounds like a pretty good idea), but then shutting down certain offices where people can get ID (as happened in Wisconsin, where offices in Democrat-leaning areas were closed), I'm still waiting to hear Trump's plan.
It's true Hillary wants to target Citizens United. Given the tenor of elections since this case was decided, I'm fine with that. It was after this decision that we became bombarded with ads full of lies and negativity. With regard to abortion rights, let's put programs in place that have been shown to reduce the incidence of abortion. Republicans rallied against a birth control program here in Colorado that was shown to do just that. It's valid to question whether Republicans want to reduce the abortion rate as much as they want to impose their idea of sexual morality on women.
With regard to guns, the cries that Hillary wants to take our guns have yet to be substantiated by anyone who has made that claim. Trump, however, used the issue to suggest that gun rights activists might be able to do something about Hillary being elected, showing extreme lack of regard for the possibility that some of his base might actually take him seriously.
On the issue of national defense we are in a new era in warfare, and I have not seen Trump offer any new tactics. If anything, he has shown the capacity to bolster the recruiting mantra of terrorists regarding US aggression against Muslims. The Obama administration has certainly made major mistakes, but Obama understands the need to avoid actions that can fan the flames that keep the ISIS fire going. Also, I'm leery of a candidate who is favored by North Korean and Russian leaders. Should we put such a similarly erratic man's finger on the button?
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With regard to debt, I have listened to Trump outlining his plan of reducing everyone's taxes, beefing up the military, and a host of other costly items. This is reminiscent of Reagan, a far more decent man, who also cut taxes and beefed up the military. The resulting increase of the national debt drives it home again: you can't have it both ways. There is no reason to believe that Trump's policies will have the desired effect on the national debt.
Trump's idea of immigration reform is to magically get Mexico to build a wall, to exclude people from our country based on their religion, and to somehow get Americans to take the jobs that only immigrants are willing to take now. He has also proposed ideas that will require massive amounts of regulation. I don't agree with everything Hillary wants here, but Trump's pie-in-the-sky messages have me totally unconvinced that he can handle this issue any better than Hillary. With regard to the "sieve at our borders," illegal immigration to the United States has been in decline since 2007.
Regarding global warming, it makes no sense to say that a threat to the climatic balance of an atmosphere that evolved to the point of being able to sustain life is not a major one. All the wonderful conservative policies in the world will not matter if we can't live here anymore. Republican objections to curtailing known contributions to warming by humans revolve around saving money and denial. But I don't see us all being able to hop onto Mars once we've trashed the earth — something that certainly will cost more than any amount of money we might spend to change our ways. What happened to the value of cleaning up our messes, acting responsibly, leaving a legacy for our children, and faith in human ingenuity?
Kaye Ferry wonders if Clinton is really up to the task, and I believe she is because of her experience with and appreciation of the problems we face. Clinton has a lot of baggage, but at least she's been extraordinarily scrutinized for decades. We are just beginning to uncover Trump's baggage, although many times he does it for us. I see toward the end of Kaye Ferry's editorial that we actually agree on more than one thing. Sitting this election out or voting third party is a waste of a precious right in this particular election. I can't wait to get my ballot, either, but I also can't wait for the Republicans to rise up into a more viable choice now that they've hit bottom with Trump. We need both parties to figure out how to talk respectfully to each other and convince doubters to try the best of their ideas. Hopefully, Kaye and I have set a nice example of what this looks like.
Debra Dieter lives in Eagle.
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