Point of View Columns

Why Elections Matter

It has now been 50 days since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. That means that there have been 50 days and 50 nights of men and women trying to figure out how a man, believed to be unfit for office by the majority of his supporters, could actually become President of the United States. It also means that there have been 50 days and 50 nights of an intensive, interactive, real time seminar demonstrating that nightmares can come true and elections do matter.

During the presidential campaign there was too much baseless rhetoric spewing, disseminating the shameful notion that the presidential election did not matter as there was no real difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Even as Trump and Clinton tried mightily to demonstrate the very real differences between their candidacies, there were so many “pure progressives” who tried to persuade their followers (or listeners) that there was no real choice between them and that no vote, or a third party candidate protest vote, was the best course of action. And now, we are witness to the first 50 days of a 4 year seminar on why elections do matter.

Consider the initial Trump cabinet appointments:

Attorney General – Jefferson Beauregard Sessions – That this U.S. Senator from Alabama is named after not one, but two Confederate heroes, should not be a disqualifying factor in and of itself. But Sessions is on record as being against the Justice Department inquiring too closely into police shootings or other local and state violations of civil rights. He is staunchly opposed to Roe v. Wade and is certainly a supporter of less governmental oversight of all major industries.

The next time a white police officer unlawfully shoots and kills a black citizen and the Justice Department does not act, remember that elections do matter.

Secretary of the Department of Labor – Andy Puzder – Puzder is the founder and CEO of the company that operates the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains. He is an implacable opponent to raising the minimum wage, family leave, equal pay for women, overtime pay and other seemingly basic recognition of the humanity of workers, particularly low wage workers. There is no doubt that he will do everything in his power to roll back any and all progress and protections for workers that have taken place over the past several decades.

The next time workers are needlessly harassed or injured and the Department of Labor stands by and does nothing, or even worse, advocates for more power for employers, remember that elections do matter.

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt – The current Oklahoma Attorney General is a self-described “leading advocate against the activist agenda of the EPA” and will now be in charge of that agency. Since the establishment of the EPA during the Nixon Administration, it has been a matter of rare bipartisan agreement that the EPA is an important component of the effort of the federal government to protect the environment and the health of the American people. Pruitt clearly thinks differently.

The next time that a water contamination tragedy like the one in Flint, Michigan occurs and the EPA does little or nothing, remember that elections do matter.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services – Tom Price is a Congressman from Georgia and a dedicated opponent to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He has already developed a plan to repeal the ACA, which would leave over 24 million Americans without healthcare coverage. Price (and Trump) supposedly have a plan to replace the ACA so that no one who is currently covered would lose that coverage – but, of course, Donald Trump has a tradition of making a breaking promises and has been a litigant in over 1000 cases to prove it.

The next time that an emergency room in a city near you becomes the source of primary care for poor people – again – remember that elections do matter.

There can be no doubt that if Hillary Clinton had been elected President of the United States, her cabinet would not be overstocked with overwhelmingly white and mean spirited avatars of the right wing of the right wing armed with a dystopian vision that includes the few and excludes the many.

In sum, due to the vengeance of 18th century elitist attitudes, aka the Electoral College, and the boneheaded notion that elections don’t matter, the entire American populace will soon have a lesson on why, and how, elections do matter.

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One thought on “Why Elections Matter

  1. Glorine D Edwards says:

    Excellent and scary piece. Since Trump was elected by people who don’t seem to care about the lies he tells routinely, how can they be helped to understand he threw them under the bus too?

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