Liberty or enslavement? Really?
Matt, I do value your opinion and agree, in principle, with much of what last week's opinion article was trying to drive home. I have been a conservative-leaning voter my entire life. I value the many fine principles of the Republican Party. Patriotism, family values, the American dream, protecting our borders, etc. However, the first main request of your article asked us to forget the candidates and focus on the greater context of what you will be voting for.
In this election I will not, and cannot, put aside my strong anger of the way The Donald has been conducting himself.
This election is about not choosing to put aside the candidates and instead look keenly at the person you are voting for. I am not a Joe Biden fan. I do believe he is a fine person and will do his absolute best to lead this country.
I have already cast my vote, not for Joe Biden, but against Trump. The last four years of Trump's administration has been about division, Democrats against Republicans, cities versus the suburbs, and natural Americans versus immigrants.
It has seen the USA being ridiculed by much of the world. And it has fallen victim to a president refusing to fully engage against this pandemic enemy.
He has downplayed the severity. He has told his people to slow down the testing because the positive results he thought would weaken our economy. He has fought against masks. He has called the scientists idiots.
No, Matt. Sorry, I will not put aside looking at the candidates.
Some thoughts on opinion piece
I read your opinion piece in the Oct. 22 edition and wanted to share a few thoughts:
Your headline is sadly typical of the media of our time. I believe you have exaggerated two unsubstantiated extremes to cause your readers to choose one or the other. Have any of your readers experienced indentured servitude? As the answer to this is a thunderous "No," I wonder what useful objective your "Enslavement" fear mongering will accomplish. My conclusion, nothing useful.
- Your use of the preamble to the party platforms was entertaining as best, hopeless at worst. When in power, both parties have increased the deficit, increased military spending and increased the size and reach of government. It is my opinion that there is no difference in the policies of either party. The two polarizing issues that seem to define the difference between the two have nothing to do with the function of government. Therefore, all the energy spent on these two issues is wasted, in my view.
- Here are some things you may want to consider as you offer an opinion about policy in the future: Total Federal Spending in 2019 ($4.4 trillion), here is how it was spent: Social Security is 23%; Medicare/Medicaid CHIP and Marketplace Subsidies is 25%; Defense 16%; Safety Net Programs 8%; Debt Interest 8%; Benefits for Federal Retirees and Veterans 8%; Transportation 2%; Education 2%; Science and Medical Research 2%. So I ask you, what policies do you advise your readers to consider with this spending distribution in mind? I don't think you will be able to find a difference of any significance. Therefore your assertion about what Trump represents and what Biden represents is incorrect, in my view. They represent more of the same.
- "Block out the personalities" as you suggest is for the weak minded. Personality is how we assess the expected future actions when we choose friends, partners, bosses and many other things in life. I will never give your advice to my grandsons because I want them to be citizens with the best character traits possible. The volatile nature of Trump indicates a lack of complex cognitive function. He has demonstrated his reduced capacity for decision making while arguing that only he can solve problems. A character trait unbecoming for our nation, in my view, so it must be considered in any voter decision making process.
Personality and party can't be separated
It is quite understandable that the editor urges us to put aside the personalities of the candidates. If we do not put personalities aside, then we reconcile ourselves, should we choose to vote Republican, to follow a candidate who has demonstrated all the characteristics of a malignant narcissist. The candidate whom we are urged to follow has told innumerable lies during his time in office. Steps are being taken daily to deprive individuals of health care with nothing to offer in return. Executive orders have consistently eliminated regulations to control the continued deleterious effects of climate change.
But as Vice President Biden put it, the candidate for president is the party. The definitions of the Democratic Party of Mr. Walsh and what we might become when they are soon victorious are ludicrous: we will become “a slave of the state.” We shall live our lives at “the tip of a gun.” We shall be committing ourselves to “enslavement .... by the ruling elite.” Forcefully, by fiat, our country might close racial gaps, ensure equal pay for women, ensure a dignified retirement, and as Mr. Walsh never tires of telling us, week after week, health care might become a right of all Americans. Perish the thought.
Mr. Walsh’s article would not be complete without analyzing the pandemic and standing behind the president and the Republican leadership. Apparently the “carnage and destruction inflicted across the US” are the result of government-ordered lockdowns. It was my understanding that greater than 200,000 Americans died from being infected with the novel coronavirus. It was my understanding that 2.5 million life-years have been lost.
It is my understanding that states which have been strict regarding precautions to prevent infection, Arizona, Vermont, have seen improvement, despite their governors being Republican. Florida, on the other hand, following the lead of the head of the Republican Party, and their candidate in the coming election, is heading in the opposite direction.
The fact is that my perusal of happiness, my right to life, is jeopardized by the president and his adherents, not to the Democratic Party as Mr. Walsh would have us believe. The simple matter of wearing a mask has become an inane symbol of individual liberty. Does Mr. Walsh really believe that? Is it possible? God help us. And God bless the United States of America.
Edward Braun, MD