By Nathaniel Batchelder
Thinking about the Nov. 6 elections, it is clear to me that we the people must stand in the gap to reverse America’s drift toward becoming a nation and government of, for and by the few doing very well, while the many struggle merely to get by. The stakes are daunting.
It is shocking that candidates on the national scene express commitment to giving more tax cuts to the wealthy and addressing the deficit only by cutting social programs serving America’s most vulnerable. They would repeal the Affordable Care Act, removing health insurance from some 30 million qualifying people. They would privatize Medicare with vouchers.
They would shift resources out of public schools with vouchers. They oppose as “job killers” government regulation of industry, banking, and finance. They oppose labor rights and raising the minimum wage. They propose cutting the Environmental Protection Agency and oppose legislation to protect the air, the oceans and the land.
They dismiss as “unproven” the consensus of the scientific community that production of heat-trapping gases is the primary cause of global warming and climate change. They would pass a personhood amendment to the Constitution restricting women’s reproductive choices, and already have curtailed reproductive freedoms in every state they could.
Aging members of the Supreme Court are likely to retire soon, their replacements to be nominated by the next president. And, once again, we are hearing dangerous talk accusing a foreign nation – Iran – of being a threat and source of weapons of mass destruction, reminiscent of the accusations that prepared America for war on Iraq.
Those listening regularly to Fox News radio and TV are wildly misled by purposeful distortions and misinformation into voting against their own interests. Huge financial support for the political agenda of the 1 percent must be countered with people power, doing what we can to encourage voting for the agenda of the reasonable majority.
I urge everyone passionate about justice and peace to take personal action encouraging voter turnout in November for candidates who will legislate for the common good and general interest of all people and earth’s challenged environment.
Our voices have power. We can speak fearlessly with family and friends; pen a brief expression of our political hopes and the importance of voting and send our note to select recipients; help with a particular campaign that speaks to us. Many are already doing these and other things.
Just imagine more people voting in 2012 than in 2008. Most important is to vote on Nov. 6, and keep hope alive.
Batchelder is director of The Peace House, an Oklahoma City nonprofit addressing human rights, economic justice, environmental sustainability and peace.