- Jack H. Bender
One Issue Voter
I’ve never been a one-issue voter, but this year is different. In fact, there are four issues so broad and essential to democracy, any one of them will do. My short list:
Truth – As of July 9, President Trump had told over 20,000 lies. In year one, he averaged four or five a day. As his tenure matured, he was telling well over a dozen a day. Presidents affect our lives and I’m interested to know the reasons why decisions are made. A lie suggests facts and a laudable rationale aren’t available. This year, I’ll vote for Truth.
Justice – Justice happens when people receive what they deserve. Voter suppression is an injustice. Racial incarceration is unjust (1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated while 1 in 17 will of white men). Red lining housing is unjust. Racism is unjust. Healthcare that bankrupts families is unjust. Homelessness is unjust. Paying less than a living wage is unjust. Tax avoidance is unjust. Having ten percent of the population own ninety percent of the stock market is unjust. Our military expenditures dwarf the next five nations combined and rob people of economic dignity. This year, I’ll vote for Justice.
The Planet – Global warming is an existential threat not being addressed by this administration. In fact, it continues to roll back one hundred guidelines on air and water quality, auto emissions, drilling, etc. An administration is supposed to protect us from existential threats. The window for action continues to shrink, making actions we take later more expensive and less impactful. As global citizens, we are in a race to save the planet that sustains us. This year, I’ll vote for Life.
Democracy – The frequent use of “law and order” is a veiled dog whistle to domestic terrorists, racists and voters. It’s aimed at shutting down free speech and peaceful protest against racism through use of force. The “rule of law” is different. We live in a nation guided by laws. Laws are the organizing principle of our country. The opposite of that is being organized by violence encouraged or ordered by a dictator.
Voter suppression, lies, Russian intervention in our elections and lawlessness are driving our nation toward a fascist, white supremacy state and away from democratic norms that give citizens a voice. The weaponizing of Twitter, Facebook and Fox News by Russia and the GOP has brought about a transition similar to that of early Nazi Germany. People who could have stopped Hitler from coming to power were too slow to act, never catching up mentally and emotionally to the stark reality right in front of them, never believing they would wake up to being under authoritarian rule. This year, I’ll vote for democracy.
We’ve been fed a fake reality since 2015. The distortion of patriotism, religion and conservatism in politics has never been greater. They are unrecognizable to anyone awake. I’m deeply worried that people have been deceived and are unaware. We can’t be one issue voters unless we pick the overarching structures of truth, justice, the planet or democracy. Any of our traditional hot buttons won’t matter under fascism. Decisions will be made by one man who will justify them with lies or nothing at all.