Use It Or Lose It

Alan Zendell, November 8, 2022

Today, Americans have as important a choice to make as they have in my lifetime, which goes back to the middle of the second world war. We may be entering the end game of a fight that has been surreptitiously going on since the passage of the Social Security and Civil Rights Acts, nearly sixty years ago; many people would say since the New Deal of the 1930s.

On one side are people who believe corporations should be able to operate with no government oversight or regulation, that labor unions represent encroaching Socialism, and that billionaire oligarch types should be free to use their wealth to buy Congress and the presidency. They believe America should be a white-dominated Christian nation, although their version of Christianity doesn’t look much like anything in either the Old or New Testament, and the very notion violates the spirit if not the literal wording of our Constitution.

They believe men were meant to rule and women to serve. They believe they have the right to determine who should have the opportunity to be Americans and who should have the right to vote. A frightening number of them believe there should be no restrictions on the proliferation of weapons designed for mass killing in wartime. And they believe that basic human rights – the right to decent health care and a free public education, the right of all of us to love whomever we choose, and most urgently, the right of a woman to manage her own health and determine if and when she will bear children – somehow equate to Communism.

These revisionists and recidivists have been fighting for decades to reverse the great liberal wave that started when John Kennedy was elected president. Many would refight the Civil War and return us to a time when only White Men could wield power and the gap between rich and poor made us look more like a feudal society than a democracy. They would put partisan lackeys in charge of our elections and return us to a time when racism and bigotry were accepted ways of dealing with each other.

But not all of what they strive for is a return to the past. They also believe that lies ought to replace facts whenever it suits their convenience. They believe our leaders should be immune from criminal prosecution and be given a free pass for all manner of immoral and criminal behavior. And they are more than willing to get what they want through violence.

That’s what the Trumpers are trying to sell you. Kevin McCarthy, salivating over his hoped-for takeover of the House of Representatives made it clear, yesterday, that he is prepared to elevate Marjorie Taylor Greene and the other Trump-supported election deniers to important committee posts that will position them to direct the policy of the House. That’s the same Kevin McCarthy who hasn’t seen fit to condemn the violent assault on the husband of the House Speaker whom he is trying to unseat.

The alternative is to return power to people with a moral conscience who believe in our Constitution. It is to remind ourselves that we are supposed to be a nation of equal opportunity and compassion, that we were once a nation that reacted to adversity by helping each other, that accepted a measure of personal sacrifice for the common good.

Since World War 2, the United States has worn the mantle of leader of the Free World, something that is anathema to Donald Trump and his followers. We have some serious choices to make as we cast our votes. Will we return to the chaotic Trump years of insane trade wars and stabbing our allies in the back or do we continue to lead the fight for basic human rights and against greed and autocracy?

Most Americans have family or friends who fought to preserve our freedom, putting their lives on the line, from the world wars to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Did they give up their lives and their physical well being to defend our way of life, only to have it squandered and given away to craven leaders who care only about their own power and wealth? This isn’t a Netflix series – it’s real life. If every one of us doesn’t get out and vote to defend for what they sacrificed for, we will have lost our identity as Americans.

Ignore the polls, many of which are partisan attemptsj to distort and mislead. Turn off your televisions and your radio talk shows. Log out of Facebook and Twitter and take a moment to think for yourselves. Then vote for what’s right. This year you still have the right to vote. Use it or lose it.

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