By Ken Veit
It is alarming that such an important election coming in November may be decided by people who think that the only issue that matters is the “correct“ use of pronouns according to their personal preferences.
Rather, there are a lot more important issues that voters should consider and unfortunately, the country is deeply divided on these positions and the rift continues to widen. We will attempt to make some generalizations for consideration, recognizing the hazards of making generalizations.
Here are some the the major national issues more important than the narcissism of a small minority of disturbed people:
National security: Those on the left historically have tended to focus on preventing World War III through treaties and international institutions. Those on the right believe in the old Maxim that the only way to deal with bullies is to punch them in the face and national independence is critical. Those on the left usually have been on the side of the philosophy of “can’t we all just get along“ school of diplomacy, while those on the right favor, what used to be called “gunboat diplomacy”. However, of late the left seems eager to promote endless wars of “nation building” while the right is becoming increasingly non-interventionist and isolationist. In some cases, the two sides seem to have traded places. The left now advocates the wide use of war powers by the President while the right increasingly believes broader consensus is needed by either a declaration of war or at minimum, and war powers resolution by Congress.
Immigration: Democrats focus on humanitarian questions. Republicans feel strongly that without border security, the whole concept of a nation disintegrates. Both sides see the other side as using this issue to “play politics”. This is true, but it is driving a wedge between opposing positions that are becoming more and more difficult to reconcile reasonably. The left has degraded the idea of nationhood to the point it is disappearing while the right believes in the nation-state and secure borders.
Inflation: The left seems to have lost their fear of inflation and adopted Modern Monetary Theory. However, they are sensitive to its political ramifications because the public does not like inflation. The public seems content to let the Federal Reserve deal with this problem and not vote against their local Congress member. The downside is the public does not fully understand the ramifications of Fed policy and its limitations. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to feel that the only way to curb inflation is to eliminate programs that the other party wants and increase spending on the programs that it wants. Therefore, the issue of deficit spending has become a truly bi-partisan failure with no real support for fiscal prudence. The traditional position of “sound money” has virtually no voice.
Crime: Those on the left (particularly the extreme left) seem to feel that racism is the main cause of poverty and crime. Their solution seems to be greater tolerance towards crime and criminals. They even seem to condone open theft of other people’s property as some form of justified income re-distribution. It is as if reparations must come at the expense of Walgreens and Macy and that there are no social costs involved with this passive view of law enforcement. Those on the right believe that leftist welfare policies have destroyed the incentive to work, the family, and fatherhood and that throwing more money at problems like homelessness will only make more people more dependent on welfare. External conditions are not responsible for people’s behavior rather it is people’s behavior that is responsible for their conditions. Those on the right want to hold people accountable for their behavior while those on the left want us to understand and appreciate their behavior.
Education: The woke wing of the Democratic Party is devoted to critical race theory, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the spreading of identity politics. The Republicans are marshaling their forces and strong opposition to this, but far-left ideology is far more prevalent than most people want to admit. The left has a firm grip on most of our public and even private institutions.
Energy: The Democrats see climate change as an “existential threat “focused on eliminating fossil fuels. The Republicans accept climate change as real but do not believe the problem is caused entirely by people. In any event, the threat is insufficient to want to wreck the economy. A richer nation can afford sea walls, air conditioning, nuclear-powered desalinization, and other specific solutions to climate change rather than an attempt to change the entire climate of the earth when many variables are not under man’s control or even completely understood. The left proceeds from a position of scientific hubris while the right entertains climate skeptics. In either case, a nation that can’t cure drug addiction will have a hard time changing the climate with volcanoes, the tilt of the earth on its axis, ocean currents, variations of the sun, and unclear interplanetary influences completely out of man’s control or present understanding.
Abortion: This is not strictly a Republican versus Democrat issue. Yet, it is the number one issue for many of those who either see abortion as murder (and therefore a moral issue) or those who see it primarily as a question of individual liberty and female independence. The left says a woman has the right to control her body and is thus essential to feminist independence. The right argues the baby is an independent life created by the mother and a father (who is never consulted) and is not part of her body. A life should not be taken for matters of convenience or advancement when other non-lethal alternatives are available.
Biden‘s approval ratings are among the lowest of any sitting president. The Democrats are extremely vulnerable, and they know it. However, the Republicans have proven in the past that they are perfectly capable of throwing away elections that the polls suggest they should have won, simply by nominating candidates, so extreme in their positions that they turn off voters who would otherwise be inclined to support them.
It is evident that diplomacy without hard military power has failed, and made us seem weak to the bullies of the world. Consequently, I support Israel’s approach.
On immigration, a nation has the right to exclude “foreigners“ and a very limited obligation to allow asylum seekers to demand many of the benefits of citizenship. As sanctuary cities are learning, when you have a large influx of aliens, someone has to pay with a reduction in their own standard of living. In this case, we reduce the standard of living of those living and contributing to our country while subsidizing foreigners who have not been contributing. Taxing “someone else“ inevitably runs into practical limits and political blowback.
Inflation is down, but not out. There are many causes of inflation, but what we have experienced over the last few years is mostly the result of too much money splashing around the economy, largely as a result of massive deficit spending and a Fed too accommodating to Congress and the Presidency.
While the Covid crisis hit some people especially hard financially, the government’s effort to alleviate suffering, while well-intentioned, largely substituted one type of suffering for another. A fundamental problem of many government programs is that they must send money to categories of people, rather than only to those truly in need. The term “truly in need” is a subjective one that can be manipulated for political purposes, and therefore, the government sends money to everybody in specific categories. That is why so many people got tax refunds during COVID-19 even though they were not truly needy.
The alarming increase in illegal immigration has been exacerbated by the absurd concept of “sanctuary cities“. My definition of a sanctuary city has officially decided that it does not have to obey the law if it doesn’t like it. This is the beginning of chaos, wherein we see cities where thieves, steal with impunity, and those being stolen from are to unable protect themselves. I wish I could decide not to pay my taxes because I don’t like what the government is doing with the money!
Education is an extremely important political issue. Authoritarian governments have long recognized that controlling the schools is the best way to spread ideologies. I believe that what is taught to our children should be controlled by parents locally.
I am not convinced that climate change is the existential threat to civilization that Biden claims. There is far too much suppression of anyone with opposing views. Destroying the energy industry is a sure way to turn us from a powerhouse nation into a second-rate nation. Too many “scientists” automatically endorse every study that supports Biden, and are living off grants that are only given to those whose “research” supports the government line. My feeling is that we would be smarter to spend money on the mitigation of climate change rather than wasting billions pursuing the impossible dream of a carbon-free world.
While I understand the sentiments of pro-lifers, I believe that this is a moral issue, rather than a political issue. Of course, the protection of citizens is a fundamental duty of government, however, it is also my opinion that moral questions should be decided by individuals and their religious beliefs, not by governments or by popular vote where good versus evil is decided by majority vote. Government should not subsidize or promote abortions but also should not prohibit them.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.