I can no longer be silent from taking a clear stand regarding this November’s General Election. While I refuse to turn human rights into a partisan issue on the World Human Rights blog and be overtly partisan when speaking of them; I will not hesitate to stand up for the principles on which those rights are based. The principles that transcend politics and speak directly about the rights of human beings. When those rights are at very real risk of being undermined by particular candidates or ideology then I will not hesitate to speak out even though some could see it as political in nature. This is not about politics to me, politics is a game I no longer like to play much. This is about principles related to human rights, human dignity, human liberty, a basic degree of fairness, and equality.
There is some candidates in this November’s race that if elected would very much put those principles in very real jeopardy. They support policies which are in direct opposition to the principles I mentioned. If they were to be elected they would have a chance to enact those policies and that is not a chance we should award them. That is not a risk that we should dare gamble. Being disappointed over the current state of affairs and upset over the lack of progress in the last two years should not cause one to turn to candidates who will cause even more disappointment, regression, and stonewalling of the important issues of the day. There is no need to cut off your nose to spite your face.
I have had enough of their extreme rhetoric and positions they have. They can try to mask it by claiming moderation and willing to work across party lines but one needs to only look at their words and positions in the primaries and prior to see where their loyalties really lie and what they really believe. Many are supporting positions that are hostile to the poor, children, women, minorities, LGBT, and immigrant populations among others. They are supporting, policies that would roll back rights many fought so hard to obtain. They are supporting, reversing policies that have been very helpful to these populations. They are supporting, a policy of obstructionism and stonewalling any advancements that would be helpful to those populations. Worse yet they are supporting policies that would harm people who are part of those populations. Not just those populations but the Nation as a whole.
Take a look at someone like Jody Hice who is running in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District to see what we in the rights community are up against. He has compared public school teachers educating kids to Nazis educating Hitler Youth. Saying that children are being indoctrinated in the public school system, told to freely experiment with all forms of sexuality, and teaching them to forcefully defend abortion and homosexuality. He says public schools are hotbeds of moral relativism and radicalism. These type of comments shows how out of touch with reality Mr. Hice and those like him are.
Jody Hice goes unfortunately much further in his extremism. He sees the “homosexual movement” as destroying America and compares children raised by two dads or two moms as losing their parents to a car accident. He believes wives should obtain their husband’s “permission” before entering politics and does not believe Islam is a religion but a “totalitarian way of life with a religious component”. He goes yet further in these extreme beliefs and maintains Muslims don’t even deserve first amendment protections. Recently he has blamed the separation of church and state, secularism, and removing the bible and prayer from public schools as being the cause for pedophilia and child molestation. He has blamed mass shootings on the teaching of evolution and abortion rights. If only Jody Hice were the only Tea Party extremist running this election year. Unfortunately he has many right-wing Tea Party extremist to join him this election year.
This is the kind of candidates we could be seeing in Washington soon if we do not act and expose their extremism. If we do not help strengthen their challengers who are defenders of rights and progress instead. If we who believe in progress and the equal rights of every American do not come out on election day and vote, If we throw our hands up in the air and give up, or sit on our hands failing to act; we will have only ourselves to blame. Inaction of the voters in this Country could easily allow extremist like this to come to power. Do you want Congressman like Jody Hice being in charge of law effecting policies in the Department of Education, civil rights, women’s rights, lgbt rights, and immigration?
We mustn’t forget State and local elections as both can have a big effect on the lives and rights of Americans. Rather it is the brownbackers in Kansas or the Doug Ducey fanatics in Arizona endorsed by the likes of Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee their supporters will come out in full force on election day. They would effectively hand over the economy to corporate America free to do with it as they will, while cutting social spending on the poor and vulnerable in society. Getting their economic philosophies from the likes of Ayn Rand and the Koch Brothers. Social and economic justice is absolutely and unequivalently forever tied to human rights, human dignity, and human liberty. Their policies and several others with a similar ultra-capitalist policy will do untold harm to the poor and vulnerable ie. children, seniors, unemployed in their states and communities. The ones running at the federal level could do the same harm to the Nation as a whole.
It should not surprise us that corporate backed campaigns are producing some of the most vile and vicious attack ads seen yet. Just when you think they have fallen straight into the gutter in their attacks they go to new lows scraping the sludge off of the bottom of the sewers. The ads are pervasive too, appearing on nearly every commercial on broadcast television. Both sides of the political divide have attack ads of course, but the worst of the worst happen to be coming from the most conservative and extreme candidates. Frankly I find many of them just insulting to my intelligence, condescending, and sometimes blatantly sexist and racist. Some of their attacks for their opponent make me like their opponent even more. A “Obama supporter”, a “liberal”, “Obamacare”, “raising taxes to pay for Obama’s policies”, “abortion”, “homosexual agenda”, “too liberal for Arizona”; good sign me up, where do I vote?
I mean really do these extreme Tea Party candidates think the vast majority of we the voters are stupid enough to base our votes on a 30 second or 1 minute sound bite? It is just all sophistry and propaganda, that’s all. Past statements, positions they took, voting record, research into the candidate tells you a lot if you know the full truth behind it. You can’t get that from a commercial. You have to consider the entire candidate not just a 30 second to 1 minute commercial about the candidate. Just being mad at Obama or congress is not a good enough reason to vote for a certain candidate. Throw the bums out may sound good but if your just going to throw them out and replace them with worse bums, what have you gained?
Voting based on anger and fear without reason is irrational and will often ensure you vote for the wrong candidate. Politicians thrive on the public’s fear and anger. The more fearful and angry we are, the more they can manipulate our emotions. The more they can convince us to accept things that go against our best interest. It is no wonder the Tea Party does best among the 65+ crowd as fear and anger is what their selling. Being senior citizens makes many feel more vulnerable and some become angry of changes happening around them which they feel they have no control to stop from happening. Many also tend to get more conservative as they age. Without anger and fear, extremist candidates would likely hardly ever win. When people get angry and afraid though, they often times get stupid at the same time. They make irrational decisions that goes against their own best interest. Not to mention against the interest of their community, county, state, and nation. Once a ballot is cast though, there is no do overs.
When you vote this November, if you have not already done so, remember this election will decide the next 2 to 6 years depending on the office. This isn’t just sending some “message”, this is the future of this Country at stake. This is who will control the debate in the next few years. This is deciding which policies will be enacted on the American people. This is deciding what rights will be protected and what rights will be undermined. This is not a game damn it, this is people’s lives that will effected. Real people; people in your community, County, State, Nation, and world! This is not just playing politics, this is deciding the future course and direction of this Country. I can not state enough the importance of this election. The next few years will be critical in several areas; including nationally and internationally. There is the Veto power the President has and the Filibuster in the Senate but those can only stop bad legislation, they can not pass needed and good legislation. They can not fund the government and keep it open. Sure there is Executive powers but those are wisely limited in our Constitution; so there is checks and balances and limits on the Executive power. Our founders did not want to allow for another King George III to come to power and seize absolute power. This means who controls the Senate and House of Representatives, will decide the future of this Nation and to some extent even the world. Vote knowing, your vote is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.
Alan Curtis Montgomery
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