Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

94. Got issues?

MLK - leaders

It is 94 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

OK, so you’re hearing people like me telling you to register to vote and maybe you’re asking, “Why should I care who’s elected?”

It’s understandable how you can easily slide into that position. It’s difficult, sometimes, to see what, personally, you have at stake in an election. (I continually argue that voting only for yourself and not considering its effects on others is not how a moral person should make decisions, but that’s for another article.)

So, what does concern you? What issues are important to you? Where do you see our nation, your state and community coming up short? Think about it and you’ll probably find more issues of interest than you thought possible.

Here are a few to help you get started.

Campaign Finance Reform – Today, wealthy people and corporations posing as people have way too much influence over politicians.

College Affordability – In a time when a college degree is often a minimum requirement for employment, the cost of obtaining that diploma is debilitating.

Corruption – You know, like when people get influential government jobs when they’re not really qualified.

Criminal Justice Reform – This one can sneak up on law-abiding people who don’t keep up with what’s happening, but we have way too many people locked up. Even if you didn’t care about them, the cost to our society is outrageous.

Disability Rights – There was a time most people with disabilities were considered a drain on society. That was the time when some people today think America was last great. This is one of many areas where we should not return to the old days.

Environment and Sustainability – It’s common knowledge humans have been tough on the environment. Many areas have been improved the past few decades, but Trump’s administration has been busily working to move us back to the Smog Ages.

Fighting Inequality – This has obtained greater significance under Trump as he has feverishly worked to soft sell the idea that whites are indeed superior.

Gun Violence Prevention – Note this entry is against “gun violence,” not guns. Most Democrats do not want to get rid of all guns; they want sensible laws that could help reduce the number of future victims.

Health Care – It seems the health care industry doesn’t have so much to do about keeping people healthy as it does about enriching corporations. Who would have thought that was true? What we need is the ability for sick and injured people to receive medical attention, and for healthy people to receive preventive care to nip many problems before they occur.

Immigration Reform – This does not mean building a wall (which would be ineffective and hugely expensive) but is about dealing with real issues, including our role as a nation in providing for legitimate refugees. We must control our borders and immigration, but we certainly do not want to become an isolationist country.

K-12 Education – So much to deal with here. I don’t know all the answers, but I think they would include leveling the playing field (regarding quality of education and funding provided), shifting the emphasis from standardized tests to teaching subjects and encouraging learning, and providing an education to students with different learning needs and goals. But what am I saying? You surely have your own ideas here.

LGBTQ Rights and Equality – Another of those areas where we have only recently made any headway in guaranteeing rights to people, but now all of that is under attack by the extreme right-wing members who cannot accept that some people are different.

Lowering Prescription Drug Prices – On one hand, we might think it’s understandable to have to pay a lot for miracle pills, but when we learn they’re cheaper in other parts of the world …

National Security – We are incredibly secure when it comes to military engagement. Only a crazy person would attack us. In fact, I believe we could achieve the same security with far less expenditures, directing some of that money to other needs. However, there is the matter of other countries hacking our elections and our energy grids. That needs some attention pronto.

Paid Family Leave – This is a quality of life issue, though one that seems foreign to me because in my day he would have been laughed out of the office if a new father, for example, asked for time off to bond with his baby … and get paid for it.

Protecting Social Security – They say Social Security (the money we paid in to be available to us after retirement) will run out of money. It seems our government has thought at times it could make better use of our money than we could.

Racial Justice – Maybe this is such a big one to me because we’ve been “working” on it for 150 years. When schools integrated during my childhood, I felt we were about to obtain real justice, but that was 50 years ago, and we’ve not made all that much headway. Now, our president emboldens white supremacists and we’re suffering flashbacks to an ugly past, slowly realizing it remains an ugly present.

Raising Incomes – You know, workers earn more money, raise their standard of living, spend more money, improve the overall economy … that sort of thing.

Small Business – Corporate gigantism (Do you like that term? It just flew off my fingertips; feel free to use it, but only in a disparaging fashion.) has driven small businesses off a cliff. About 50 percent of them fail by their fifth year. I would suggest mega businesses keep a lot of people from even trying. The death of Mom & Pop operations is a travesty.

Veterans and Their Families – You’ve seen various reports about the number of veterans who are underemployed, who are homeless, who suffer mentally and physically from their service, and who commit suicide.

Voting Rights – We used to have Jim Crow laws that kept the black voting population small. Since they were thrown out, other tactics have been used to discourage voter registration (like closing offices in predominantly black neighborhoods), discourage actually voting (demanding extra identification) and simply purging voters from rolls. Then there’s the whole gerrymandering topic.

How’s that for a start? See anything that interests you or did it make you think of something else that’s important enough to you that you will register and vote this fall?

Good. Verify your voter registration status at https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/ and, if you’re not registered, do it today.

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One response to “94. Got issues?

  1. Judy August 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Instead of arguing about who or what caused climate change, we must acknowledge that it has changed. It is inconceivable that our government would take us back to dirty air and water, gas mileage less than what we have now, and allow corporations to pollute at will. Please vote.

    Like

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