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Choose wisely on Nov. 3

The Mail Tribune’s publisher editorialized Aug. 30 on this topic. I agree on many points, but I’m 76, spent 45 years doing military aerospace engineering and have a different perspective.

This election is terribly important. The column: “we have been told the very future of the United States is at risk” for several election cycles, but “chances are we’ll all be around to hear that again four years from now.” I have never approached an election where the incumbent had wondered “should we put the election off” or “I might or might not honor the results, it depends.” I consider an election four years from now uncertain for the first time.

The U.S. and the world are stressed from a pandemic and climate change. Understanding these and responding requires respect for science, if not sound knowledge. The incumbent declared both to be hoaxes. The pandemic will kill well over 200,000 of us. Climate change will destroy trillions worth of property, spread hunger and population dislocation globally, and continue for many decades. Our Joint Chiefs of Staff know this well. We needed to respond beginning about 1990 when NASA first made it clear “we have a problem.”

Yes, the parties are not as they were. I registered Republican in 1966 and remained so until 2004, when it was clear we’d been deceived into the 2002 Iraq war. The Democrats have, in my view, gone right from left-center, are too supportive of big corporations (e.g., Hillary and the banks), and earned much disrespect disrupting Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, then arguing in court they didn’t have to follow their bylaws because they were a private corporation. However, they remain connected to a realistic world view, respect science, understand pandemics, global warming, the necessity of broad health care, and wealth-income inequality.

The Republicans have decided to not have a policy platform, except “follow the leader.” There is no way, as recommended, to judge “the principles the parties stand for” because the Republicans have none. It seems clear a reason for this is the incumbent finds it impossible to delineate a specific long-term strategy and stick with it.

Contrary to the column’s advice to judge the party by its principles and not by the candidates, one must consider the candidates’ attributes. The party platform delineates their policies, but the candidate must bring them to fruition. The ability to form long-term plans and work all the levers to achieve them is critical.

Yes, the judicial branch is to interpret the law. But judges can only rule on cases brought to them, and the Justice Department, as the source of cases against criminals, has become extensively politicized (e.g., retracting the prosecution of Michael Flynn who’s twice pleaded guilty). To say that the incumbent supports the courts’ purpose of interpreting the law is to ignore the pardon of Joe Arpaio and commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence.

The column recommends “Vote for a strong military presence, not one that would put us at risk from tyranny.” Unfortunately, the most apparent way of doing this is buying big military systems, thus supporting the big contractors. (Recall Dwight Eisenhower’s parting words — beware the military-industrial complex.) We’ve had two collisions of Navy ships with commercial vessels in recent years. Investigations found that training, morale and overwork were major issues. We have military enlisted personnel relying on food stamps. These things, less obvious, have and continue to occur under administrations of both parties.

As for tyranny, it looks more likely to rise from within than from without. It is most important to elect someone who will utilize the full capabilities of the U.S. to counter foreign interference in our elections.

Protect the Second Amendment — it is critical to the U.S.’s survival. Have you noticed the armed militias in the streets are the very right-wing Boogaloo Boys and Patriot Prayer groups? Just who is the Second Amendment helping?

Borderless? I can’t name any Democrat who supports that concept.

“This administration caused the lowest minority unemployment rates” — but income-wealth inequality is soaring. We’re the worst of the G7 countries.

Vote against socialism. So vote against the Veterans Affairs Department, the military, public utilities, public law enforcement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, public education, all of which are “socialist.” The goal is to support capitalist entrepreneurship with a solid social safety net, which will help it to flourish.

Ron Constable lives in Medford.