Respect the two-party system
Political signs have sprung up all over St. Croix County — a reminder that we’re in the final weeks of an election campaign for president, Congress, and local Wisconsin officials. Voters are receiving candidate flyers in their mailboxes, texts and email messages, and, of course, phone calls from volunteers encouraging voters to register to vote either absentee or at their community polling place.
Both parties have worked hard to recruit and train volunteers and turn those volunteers loose to canvass voters. Dedicated volunteers — people like you and me — selflessly staff the offices, stuff the mailers, send the texts, and make the calls. And keep our democracy alive.
Our Founding Fathers created a two-party system to give the opposition a voice and a role at the table, and to ensure a smooth, peaceful transition from one party to another.
Make no mistake about it — citizens in countries that don’t allow the expression of opinions, freedom of speech, fair elections, and a choice of candidates — do not enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities we do.
So even if you don’t agree with the other party or its candidates, you need to respect the institution of a two-party system.
Stealing or vandalizing political signs is wrong, just plain wrong.
Slamming down the phone or cursing at volunteers who are phoning for their party or encouraging you to vote is rude, just plain rude.
Jeering or heckling a speaker at an event is disrespectful, just plain disrespectful.
Until the election, do your part. The best way to get off the lists is to vote and to tell political callers which party you support. That way everyone wins.
Thoughts on pro-life voting
I often write as an economist, but I write this as a Catholic Christian. I cherish my church’s tradition of social justice and protection of the born and unborn. As a mother, I’ve held the very small but infinitely precious human beings that I’ve miscarried. As a humanitarian, I try to be consistently pro-life.
There are multiple ways to be pro-life on abortion. Some seek legislation and court rulings, while others seek to support a woman's difficult choice to bear her child by assuring a strong national safety net. I choose the latter as the only way I can be consistently pro-life for both the born and the unborn.
A national safety net should support all pregnant women, especially the poor. (Guttmacher Institute. Some estimates suggest 50-75% of abortions are for poor women.) Indeed, the safety net should support all the poor. It should ensure access to housing, nutrition, child care, health care, paid maternity and paternity leave, and paid leave for illness or to care for ill children or aging parents.
Our nation is rich but has an enormously unequal income distribution. As an economist, I know we can afford to meet the needs of all, even in a pandemic, if we prioritize our resource distribution.
I choose this approach to the “consistent life ethic” called for by the bishops. I embrace their call for a “preferential option for the poor.” As such, I simultaneously seek the protection and dignity of refugees and immigrants, those facing racism, the poor and the needy, and also the unborn. It is an honorable and compassionate approach to abortion. It aspires to achieve what the bishops call the “common good.”
The faith and character of candidates are important. Are they genuine in their faith or in their search for the common good? Are they authentic in their empathy? Are they competent? Do they seek their own personal ambitions over the greater good?
I put my faith above political party. I put my faith before personal gain. I put my faith and my work and my life into pursuing a consistent life ethic that cares for all humanity. I ask you to consider the same.
Warning: COVID might become ‘pre-existing’ condition
As we know, the president and GOP governors have brought a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act with no plan to replace it. Oral argument will occur before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 10, 2020.
The GOP-controlled Senate will soon vote to confirm a conservative Supreme Court justice, despite its refusal to even hold a hearing to confirm a presidential appointment in 2016, claiming that this could not be done during an election year. If this appointee goes through, the newly appointed justice will hear the ACA case, which ruling could result in the loss of health insurance for millions of Americans.
It is especially ironic that the Senate is engaged in this effort to rush through a Supreme Court appointment and overturn the ACA, when more than 215,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 thus far, and millions more will have long-term health problems from COVID-19 (which would be pre-existing conditions currently protected by the ACA, but may not be, after the Supreme Court ruling.)
As well, the president's promises of a vaccine “this year” have been disputed by scientists on every level, and we still have no consistent, satisfactory testing and contact tracing procedures in place. This, from the alleged world's superpower?
Become informed on climate change, check out program
On Oct. 12, internationally recognized climate scientist Terry Root gave an urgent talk on climate change via the River Falls Public Library’s virtual sites. Dr. Root is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She is also a Stanford University professor emerita.
Dr. Root has studied the changing climate for decades. She observes that climate disruption impacts everything from diseases spreading faster, to worsened droughts and fires, to loss of beloved songbirds. Recognizing the harm of increased CO2 emissions, she says we need to work quickly to reduce those emissions. Her suggestions for things we all can do include decreasing meat consumption and increasing plant food sources, purchasing Energy Star appliances, switching to electric vehicles, and voting for candidates who support CO2 reductions.
I urge you to check out this virtual talk at the River Falls Public Library’s Youtube Channel (www.youtube.com/watch?v=onApRI47Yt4&t=11s) or Facebook.
Thanks to the River Falls Public Library, University of Wisconsin-River Falls Office of Sustainability, River Falls Hope for Creation, and River Falls Municipal Utilities’ Powerful Choices for collaborating to make this happen.
Do and did
There is a big difference between what we do today versus what we did years ago. Times have changed. Circumstances have changed and for a lot of us we have gotten older and hopefully wiser.
That brings me to the November election. What politicians did years ago is different from what they do now.
But it is more important what they do now. Ask yourself, “Is your family, your country, and you better off today than four years ago?” Vote accordingly, but, vote.
Tony R Huppert