Vote to return civility and honesty to Washington politics


By Dorothy Inman-Johnson

Special to the Outlook

Last week, a rabid Trump supporter tried to assassinate top Democrats and Trump critics by sending 14 pipe bombs to targets that included former President Obama, former Vice President Biden, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, prominent democratic Congressional leaders, donors, and supporters. Thanks to excellent work by the FBI, regularly criticized by Trump, and a joint law enforcement task force, the attempted assassin was quickly apprehended.  This act of domestic terrorism is a direct result of Trump’s vicious lies and rants that encourage violence by his supporters against any of his critics.  It reminds me of my childhood in Birmingham when bombs and violence were regularly used by the Klan, supported by racist politicians, to intimidate civil rights leaders and peaceful demonstrators standing up against oppression. They call themselves White Nationalists today; and even Trump proudly announced last week at his rally that he is a nationalist. Further, he did not bother to contact those targeted by this terrorist to express regret on behalf of the country that these public servants and many federal employees could have lost their lives. His behavior demonstrated that the leader of our country cared no more about these victims of violence than the 1960s Klan felt about the children killed in the 1963 church bombing. But the violence, intimidation, and hate didn’t work then and it won’t work now. 

Futile attempts by Trump supporters to create a false equivalence between non-violent protestors and the hate group violence he inspires fell flat. Trump has been able, however, to encourage this kind of unimpeded hate because of his co-conspirators in Congress like North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn. Dunn has been one of Trump’s most loyal, enthusiastic supporters. He has voted 99 percent for Trump and Republican policies that harm his own constituents. Those votes included the repeal of ACA (Obamacare) and coverage for pre-existing conditions like cancer, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., opposition to Medicaid expansion for health coverage for millions more Floridians, support  for cuts and privatization of Medicare and Social Security, opposition to a livable minimum wage, women’s rights, civil and voting rights for minorities, and support for cuts to food stamps and school lunch programs for low-income families and children. He has also supported his Republican Party’s position favoring private over public school education and private prisons that thrive on incarceration instead of rehabilitation. His support for the elimination of healthcare subsidies in Obamacare, that made care more affordable, has led to the closure of health centers and hospitals in small rural counties like most of his district.

Unlike Dunn, democratic Congressman Al Lawson has been a dependable advocate in addressing the needs of North Florida residents and all Americans; and has served us honorably and with integrity. A vote for Dunn would cancel out our vote for Lawson in Congress, since Dunn opposes the issues Lawson supports. Lawson has a real heart for service and can be counted on for sane, civil, honest leadership for Florida in Washington. During the Trump era, we must vote to send leaders to Washington who will stand up to the corruption and hold Washingtaon accountable to serve the public instead of political interests, and self interest.

Some politicians have become as adept at lying as our President. And during campaign season it gets hard to distinguish the ones who have worked against us from those who have been our best advocates. A good example is the big lie being told by Republicans that they support coverage for pre-existing conditions, after learning Americans support it; even though they voted over 70 times to repeal Obamacare and eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions. They are content to leave us to the mercy of private insurance companies who could decide whether to cover us and charge thousands of dollars more if they do, making it unaffordable for all except wealthy Americans. 

This November Mid-Term Election, therefore, may be our only chance in a generation to change the course of our country. We cannot afford to throw away a single vote on politicians who have demonstrated no commitment to the public trust and protecting our democracy. When we have a President whose lies, racist, and violent rhetoric inspire assassination attempts instead of working for the common good, we must be careful to vote for candidates who will bring honor to their service and our country. Florida and America deserve better than the horrible example set by the current President and his Republican enablers like Neal Dunn..

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