I've been feeling like I need to write why I voted the way I did this year. I feel like my posterity might wonder what my thoughts were for the election of 2020. I could write in my hand-written journal, but it will be too hard to find anything there in the future, and I might want to share my thoughts with a person or two now, and this is an easy platform for sharing.
I've been very opinionated in my feelings regarding Donald Trump and his lack of character. When he ran four years ago, I thought it was a joke. When he won the primaries, I felt obligated to remind people this was about character. I was dumbfounded when he won the general election, and that was the first time I really panicked for our country. Was such a bad, annoying, obnoxious guy merely a reflection of the type of people in our country or would he cause our country to become morally and ethically worse? Other than watching a few episodes of The Apprentice and watching The Choice 2016 from Frontline on PBS, I knew not much about him.
I've wondered why having good character and being a good person with integrity were so important to me. Of course, those are virtues good people seek, but recently I've seen a couple of old President Hinckley quotes that rang true to me, and I realized that he is probably a major reason I think the way I do today. I came of age when he was the prophet, so he was incredibly influential in my life. I don't recall which quotes I saw, but these are a few that ring true with me in the current societal/political climate.
The top 1 percent of earners in America now take home about 20 percent of the country’s pretax national income, compared with less than 12 percent in 1978, according to the research the economists published at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Over the same time in China, the top 1 percent doubled their share of income, rising from about 6 percent to 12 percent.
While that suggests that China and the U.S. are experiencing growth of inequality in tandem, there’s one major difference, which suggests the problem may be more dire on American soil. That regards how the bottom 50 percent of income earners are taking part in -- or in the case of the U.S., losing out on -- the country’s economic growth.
America has experienced “a complete collapse of the bottom 50 percent income share in the U.S. between 1978 to 2015,” the authors wrote. “In contrast, and in spite of a similar qualitative trend, the bottom 50 percent share remains higher than the top 1 percent share in 2015 in China.”
I can't say I love Joe Biden, but he seems to have empathy and he seems to care about people. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but at lest he's not a selfish jerk. And, with the general anger and hurt in our country, I feel like we need a kind healer at our head who will set a better example of love. I'm a firm believer that the head does influence the followers. Let me give you an example. When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived in a ward that had a very formal bishop. The ward had a very proper feel that wasn't very friendly. It was rough. The ward boundaries changed and we were moved to a new ward. I was so happy that I started to cry! The new ward had a fun, energetic bishop, and the ward had that same feel. I can't say for sure that the leader totally set the tone for the members of the ward, but I believe he certainly had an influence. I believe that by having a kind leader at the top, it will influence at least some in our country to be a little bit better and not run rampant with whatever superiority they feel they have over others .
I appreciated my neighbor's observations that he posted on Facebook about the Presidential debate. Basically he shared that Trump puts himself and money first and Biden puts humanity first. My neighbor's summary:
Now to the question of corruption, I think both are corrupt and use, have used and will continue to use their political influence for economic gain for themselves and their families.These are just my observations fed and informed by my personal experiences, beliefs, and values, but at the end of the day it appears that this election is about money vs. people, and I personally value people more than money. Maybe that makes me an idiot or a sucker, but I can live with that.
Ok, let's talk about issues. Usually I vote for what I feel would be best for our country. I even look at what issues line up best with my belief system. This year, though, I had to think differently. Maybe this is just a justification to help me feel better about voting for the "baby-killing" democrats, but I had to get it to make sense in my head.
The first issue that was hard to reconcile was abortion. I had to research this and see if Democrats are really a bunch of baby killers. Yes, some people want free-reign unaccountability-convenience disposal of their pregnancies, but I do know many more moderate Democrats don't want that. Even Bill Clinton said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, and I totally agree, even if I can't stand the guy. I've been surprised by many members of our church who believe women should never have an abortion. Our church policy regarding abortion doesn't 100% condemn it (it grants some prayerfully made exceptions), so to some depending on how you define it, our Church would actually be pro-choice! Are you pro-life 100% all the time with no exceptions (not our church's stance), or are you pro-life with carefully considered exceptions? OR, are you pro-choice with very strict restrictions (or at the other end, are you pro-choice where you deny the consequences of your actions)? Those middle two might actually be the same thing! I've heard some say to just not consider the abortion issue this year, which I had to do because I felt there were bigger issues at hand: the country imploding on itself because of anger, and you know what else? Abortion personally doesn't affect me. There's a near 100% chance that I will never need to make that choice for me, so I'm not going to worry about it this election. I do not think abortions should be illegal, but I do think they should be restricted and carefully considered, and that people need to be responsible for their actions, and that should not include hasty abortions. A friend shared this article with me regarding late-term and defining abortions. I thought it was very informative. BTW, that friend is not voting for Biden.
So how about an issue that does affect me? How about the environment. Like I mentioned above, our air here is generally pretty dirty. I was annoyed when Trump left the Paris Accord, but I was pleased and surprised that he wasn't lying when he said our air quality is actually better now (the water is worse, however). I'm glad the average air quality is better throughout the US, but we have work to do here in Utah. I'm not sure why the air is better now, but I feel strongly about supporting politicians who will support the environment. I don't like seeing the fires and the hurricanes, and I believe they are related to global warming. And yes, I believe that's a thing. I believe that we as members of the church need to be good stewards of the environment.
Taxes. Yes, they affect me, but if they go up a bit, it's not going to kill me. Of course I do want my tax money well-spent (and I'm sick about the waste that happens), but I do want to help those around me, and I'm ok if taxes assist in that regard. I do not like the tax cuts that have been made for the extremely wealthy or the breaks that have been made specifically to real estate, Donald Trump's profession. So, tax policy didn't really sway my vote this year.
Education. Education affects me. I have four kids in public schools. I'm disgusted by the way teachers are being put at risk in this pandemic. I'm disgusted that some subs in Utah make $9.75/hour when they go sub. I want teachers to make more professional wages somehow. I don't know where Trump is on education, but Biden's wife is an educator, and I'm hopeful that she will influence bolstering education if he wins. But since it's more a state issue than federal, I guess it's not a terribly big national deal. I do not take major issue with national benchmarks of learning because won't it actually help a child who moves from state to state to be at the same level no matter where he or she is?
Healthcare. You better believe healthcare affects me. I'm in my 40s, have had five babies, have found out I have a connective tissue disorder, and am kind of falling apart. A few months ago I was going to therapy at least five times a month! Now I'm down to three. If I pay out-of-pocket, I pay $80 each time. If I run it through the insurance, I pay my copay of $100, then get a statement for up to $240 more! About a month later after adjustments, I typically pay around $100 more per appointment, even though I already paid $100 as my copay. Self-pay, please! I know there are worse stories, too, and things need to be fixed. I have seen Trump make some headway on lowering prescription meds, which is good. We all waited intently to see how he would change the ACA, but since he mostly didn't, I kind of think he must have liked it. I can see there were some negatives to it, but it did make things better for my family. I still think we need major reform though.
Well, I'm getting tired of writing, and this turned out way longer than I expected, but I hope it will provide some insight to my future posterity regarding my thoughts on Election 2020. I believe the protections of our checks and balances work. I just wish they wouldn't be pitted against each other for party politics. I wish the parties and branches of the government would try a little harder to work together for the good of the people. I am excited for Amy Coney Barret. I think she seems like a good woman. I do think it's two-faced that she got put in at the end of Trump's term, yet the Republicans refused to vote on the guy Obama wanted to put in before his term was up. I hope if Biden wins that he doesn't pack the court because that seems dumb, and it will take so much time and effort to approve people. Anyway, I just hope getting Barrett in now doesn't create some negative repercussions later because the Democrats want to get back at the Republicans. Honestly, I feel like the Republicans, the party of old, white men, have been playing dirtier than the Democrats, and coming from conservative Utah, the reputation is how evil the Democrats are, but I don't know if they're as manipulative as the Republicans.
Lastly, since I'm contemplating government and politics, I've had a goal to read a book on the Constitution this year that my dad gave me. I'm going to guess that the author is Libertarian-leaning, but I'm not going to look it up until I'm done with the book. It has been a bit hard to read because the topic is SO BORING to me. I'm glad some people enjoy this stuff, but I'm just not one of them. According to the author, we currently do so many things already that are unconstitutional. He is probably right; at least he makes a good case. I feel we are so far into our way of life that to go back to being purely Constitutional would be really difficult, so we probably ought to focus on refining what we have. I've appreciated Sharlee Glenn's summary of how Trump is not Constitutional as well as the many other things she has written (but that's more topics for another day!)
So, these are my thoughts on this election. I used issues that directly affect me to make my choice to vote for the Democrats. My facts may not all be right; they are probably generalized and biased. But, as a history minor, there is still value in knowing how people felt about things because that was their reality, and it helps to explain their actions.
But for now, despite what happens, I'll try to keep a good attitude and remember President Hinckley's words: