Why are both parties experiencing divisions, violence and the destruction of our democracy?
We are encountering a very mean streak in election campaigning – angry attacks at opponents, mud-slinging, vicious threats to candidates and their family (Paul Pelosi, Eric Swalwell, etc.) that, somehow, we are tolerating. We can’t These attacks are ugly and are destroying our t rue election process. I don’t’ know what to do about that except …. Cry! What is happening?
I am scared for our country; I am worried about the lives of our elected officials and their families. I am sad for all of us.
Voters are encountering uniformed men at the polls, some carrying guns, cameras clicking on all who are voting; mail-in ballots are forbidden in some states, polling places have limited hours; states that want one party control of all elections is growing, election rights are being reduced. Absolutely frightening.
Why are many Americans seemingly indifferent and unalarmed about a Q-Anon member bashing the head of Paul Pelosi with a hammer, causing a skull fracture? Why are some Republican candidates using that very life-threatening fracture as a way to get a laugh from followers at their rallies? (Yes, it is happening.) Why is the man who attacked Pelosi’s husband saying he wanted to crack her knee joints to show the House that her haters mean business?
It seems so much easier now for the politicians from the far left and right to create "enemies" and promote fear than it is to exercise courage and stand up and declare this is all wrong!
What can we do about it?
Stand up and talk and talk about it – at downtown plazas or at -public forums; at neighborhood meetings and socials, or in letters to the editor in daily newspapers; or front-yard placards or car bumper stickers. Have rallies. Get the papers to report your concerns. Start a movement, as Americans have done so aptly in the past. Think about the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or “Me Too.” Or the prominence now of sexual harassment against women.
All of us who care must stand up and pronounce“Stop all this!" Look at how we are all destroying our country. We do that either by husband hammering or falsely accusing candidates of things they never said. But we also do it by our apathy or by being so silent, 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 more minor, concerns:
The first: Before every election I get a ballot filled with numerous state propositions, On TV daily, I hear a barrage of political ads identify only by the proposition numbers. “Vote for Prop, 86, vote against Prop 87, but vote for Prop 30 and don’t forget, it’s yes on Prop 1.
Locally, it’s the same: “Vote for Measure L and against Measure K; don't vote for either. Vote yes for both. Don’t vote for Measure V (which, BTW, is a Menlo Park measure, but who would know 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. Cast your ballot for Joe Smith and, of course, also for Tom Jones. (I made up those last three names just to confuse you).
I have read about the measures and their attached numbers, and understood which was which – until I forgot them a week later. Now what was Prop 29 all about? Should I vote against Prop 21? And why then vote for26 but no 27, since both have something to do with Indian casinos? And why should I vote for Prop 30? One mailer I received today said Vote No on Prop 31 –it’s about “government overreach.” Couldn’t that phrase apply to a lot of propositions?
This is an example of what is happening 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, since I can’t always remember which is what – or what is which.
Why don’t the sponsors tell us in their plethora of ads just what these numbers stand for? For example, tell me Prop 28 means more art and music programs in schools, or Prop 1 is about abortion rights for women in this state– you get the idea.
Second, I listen to local candidate debates. Most of the questions from moderators are softballs, e.g., What is you stand on housing? “I support it.” Good, let’s go on to another issue. What about gun control? “I’m for it.” Etc. They are not debates.
Where are the probing questions for these candidates, the “Whys,” the “How can this city afford this”? What can we cut? What are we spending too much of our tax dollars on?
In general, I see few voters’ forum moderators probe. The “questions" have been asked before, and result in merely well-rehearsed candidate PR statements as answers. Easy to do, since most debate moderators ask the same questions. We have to improve the quality of debates.
And finally, we are living through very troubled times. But if we don’t have fair elections, we don’t really have democracy in America anymore. I am not the first to say this. Yet people I talk to about it seem indifferent – or nonchalant -- about losing democracy. If we lose it, then what hat comes ini its place? Autocracy? And, if we do lose democracy, that would be a critical crucial crisis It can happen here – and I think are on the path to do so. Unfortunately!