I wrote last time about the Pew study that indicated that as a nation, we are more divided ideologically than at any time in the past 25 years. As a result, I began to try to identify the issues that divide us the most in which a specific position is identified with a particular political party. I was surprised not only with the issues that I identified, but that anyone could be on the wrong side of these issues.
Issue number one is voter suppression. There have been a frightening number of new laws passed by many states that make it more difficult to vote. These laws are targeted against Latinos, Blacks, the elderly and the young. All groups that would typically vote for the Democratic candidate. There is nothing subtle about this effort, despite the claim that the laws are only there to avoid voter fraud. Since when did we become a nation that will sit back and allow one of our most cherished rights, one that has cost many their lives, to be defiled by such laws?
Issue number two is healthcare for women. There are efforts nationwide to defund Planned Parenthood and therefore do away with a vital healthcare resource for women, particularly poor women. There have been efforts nationwide to make it more difficult for women to acquire birth control pills and certainly abortions. Since when did we become a nation that will put personal beliefs above the health needs of any citizen, let alone the most vulnerable among us, the poor and the elderly?
Issue number three is tax policy. There are hundreds of lawmakers and candidates that have signed a pledge to never vote to raise taxes under any circumstances. They feel that budget cuts, regardless of who they impact upon, are more appropriate than raising taxes. They would rather see more teachers, policemen and firemen laid off, than raise taxes on the wealthy. What has come of our commitment to public safety and quality education for all of our citizens that we would allow this to happen?
Issue number four is Social Security and Medicare. There has been much discussion of late about the need to drastically change these important safety nets. The Ryan budget would change medicare in a way that would make it unaffordable for many. These two important programs have had bipartisan support for decades. That support stemmed from a value that it was important to provide a pathway to dignity and comfort for our elderly. What has happened to the respect that we felt obliged to provide to our elderly citizens?
These are just four of the issues that seem to divide us. Is it possible that anyone who is not wealthy truly feels that they can be well represented by the party that has created this divide? I am baffled by anyone who can possibly see themselves voting for a Republican candidate unless they have millions of dollars that the Republicans will protect from higher taxes. As a people have we become so lost in rhetoric and hate that we have forgotten who we are and what this nation has stood for around the world? It is time to ask ourselves,” who are we, really”.