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Forum, Feb. 13: Candidates must convince us they’d be a better president

Published: 2/12/2020 10:00:22 PM
Modified: 2/12/2020 10:00:13 PM
Candidates must convince us they’d be a better president

Beating President Donald Trump in the next election by itself doesn’t mean you’ll be a better president.

It would be really helpful to have candidates who believe it is more important to convince us why they would be a better president.


West Hartford

Warren, Klobuchar should be the front-runners

There are more women than men in this country. Yet it is men who have dominated our government. And the “top” candidates for president now are white men. I’ve had enough of men in our government determining what happens to my life and my country.

Women have been fighting for a century to be heard and have their rightful place in our society. According to The New York Times, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar should be the front-runners in the two-lane Democratic race. They deserve to be there. We deserve to have one of them as our president. We ought to be supporting and voting for Warren and Klobuchar. One hundred years after we got the right to vote, it’s time to have a voice.

Don’t be worried that a woman can’t beat President Donald Trump. He is a one-trick pony. We know he will prowl behind Warren or Klobuchar on or off the debate stage. Because we know that Trump doesn’t know how to behave, especially toward women, we’ll have to write it into the rules: If you’re not speaking you should be sitting down. And because we know Trump won’t follow those rules, the moderator will have to tell him to sit down and keep his hands folded in his lap. Otherwise, he’ll have to stay inside during recess. Certainly, the intelligent, creative, resourceful, woke women and men in our country can figure out how to be the dog in Trump’s game of cat and mouse.

Women have been sitting in the back seat long enough. The word “president” doesn’t have a masculine or a feminine pronoun attached to it. We’ve got two highly qualified women running for president. Women need to rally around them and get one of them in the Oval Office.


West Lebanon

Trump a symptom of a long-standing American disease

This is what I’ve learned from the Democratic primary and recent events in Washington: I believe Sen. Amy Klobuchar was right. It is important for Democrats to “win big.” But it should be because a vast majority of Americans believe in a candidate’s vision for America, not simply to punish the president and the Republican Senate.

I also believe Andrew Yang’s point: “Donald Trump is not the cause of all our problems,” he said. Rather, Trump is a “symptom of a disease” that has been “building up in our communities for years and decades.”

“Most Americans feel like the political parties have been playing you-lose-I-lose for years,” he continued, “and you know who has been losing the entire time? We have.”

This is a 50-50 issue and Democrats have as much responsibility as Republicans. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called it right when she first said that impeachment and subsequent acquittal would serve to embolden this president and his supporters. The solidarity of the congressional Republicans is locked up and the president’s approval ratings are at their highest ever.



Andrew Yang would have given voice to the invisible

Why was Andrew Yang’s signature platform, the Universal Basic Income — which had the potential to help every single American regardless of race, creed, socioeconomic status or gender — ignored by mainstream media like The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and ABC? Why did the media silence the first Asian man running for the Democratic nomination to be president of the United States?

It’s simple. The media reinforces stereotypes deeply engrained in the American people. Asians have often been referred to the “model minority” but also the “invisible minority.” These terms hurt all people of color, not just people of Asian descent who are stereotyped as being quiet, accomplished do-gooders. Asians have quietly stayed out of politics.

Yang became a voice for people of color, often ignored. He fought for the rights of all Americans regardless of the circumstances to which they were born.

We saw votes for Asian visibility in the Oscar-winning film Parasite, which tells the story of the economic struggle between the haves and have-nots in Korea, but very well applies to our own country. Yang’s candidacy motivated many people of color to get involved in politics to cure these ills.

I was appalled by the fight over black voters during the last debate, and bragging rights over who “owns” these votes. The conversation should be how we can overcome racism, not promote it. I saw Yang’s solution be to agnostic to color except for the color green. The Freedom Dividend would have been the new “Green Deal” of $1,000 per month to every American — a policy that, if enacted, would surely have won the Nobel Prize.

We need to prevent all people from becoming invisible, either because of racism or automation, and invest in humanity first.

There is no doubt in my mind that a vote for Andrew Yang would have been a vote for humanity, and given voice to the invisible.



Why this veteran is voting for Bernie Sanders

I am 84 years old and have lived the last 30 years in Unity. I was drafted in 1954 and spent two years in the Army, the last year in Germany. I have been enrolled in Medicare for the last 20 years and now get my medical care from the wonderful people at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction.

I’m voting for Sen. Bernie Sanders because he’s the only candidate who supports improved “Medicare for All” with no ifs, buts or maybes, and because he has fought vigorously against any weakening or privatization of the VA.

I lived some 50 years of my life during the Cold War and saw in Germany in the 1950s the lingering scars of the Second World War. These experiences have made me a lifelong activist against war. I am voting for Sanders in the hope that he will work against the frightening “Russia is our enemy” rhetoric that so many Republican and Democratic politicians are mouthing. I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters, the working people of our county and of every other county.

No new Cold War.



The president is unwilling to seek common ground

When Harvard professor Arthur Brooks asked the gathering at the National Prayer Breakfast, “How many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically?” President Donald Trump conspicuously did not raise his hand.

The prayer breakfast and the State of the Union speech are times when the president should be “most presidential,” most bipartisan — be his or her best, most aspirational self, but this is what we get. Trump made clear that he is unable and unwilling to seek common ground with his political opponents.

The bitterness he showed to those who have resisted him and the happy-dance he demonstrated at being acquitted proved the point that Rep. Adam Schiff made in his closing remarks in the impeachment trial. Trump will not change, he will not feel any contrition over his transgressions, and he will continue to do whatever he feels benefits him.

How can he propose to lead the country by running for reelection when he cannot demonstrate the compassion required to represent the interests of those who disagree with him? In fact, many of his policies (such as the trade war with China) hit his supporters hardest. He is promoting neither for his base nor his opponents but for himself.



A paper ballot or back-up must be a requirement

I read with interest and alarm the op-ed piece by Edward W. Felten (“Iowa hints at worst-case balloting scenario,” Feb. 6), specifically this excerpt: “Unfortunately, voters in all or part of eight states are expected to vote in November on insecure electronic voting machines that do not keep a paper ballot that the voter directly created or observed, leaving no reliable way to connect the end-of-day vote counts to what voters saw and did in the voting booth.”

What’s that? The reports of vote results can’t be checked for accuracy? A biased reporter of votes can submit false results without fear of being contradicted?

This is bad.

So what to do? The Constitution gives states the power to decide how votes will be counted, but the Constitution is hard to amend. So let’s look to the text of that document to see if there is any hope. It turns out there is: Article IV, Section 4 reads, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government. ...”

So the question is this: Does a state have a republican form of government if the person who reports the voting results can manufacture results that can’t be checked? One would hope that our Supreme Court would unanimously rule “No,” that states must require voting with a paper ballot or with a paper ballot back-up. Such a question is not now before the Supreme Court (or any other court as far as I know). But if it were, I’m not sanguine about what the decision might be.

Oh, for the days of Holmes and Brandeis.



In defiance of the Presidential Records Act

In his Feb. 8 Forum letter, Jim Argentati criticizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for destroying a federal document, in this case a copy of the State of the Union speech provided to her by President Donald Trump (“Nancy Pelosi’s hate will not be tolerated by the voters”).

As Politico reported in June 2018, President Trump has a habit of tearing up documents after reading them — in defiance of the Presidential Records Act, which requires that such materials be retained for the National Archives. Records management staff needed to salvage and restore the discards to maintain the official record in compliance with the law.

Perhaps the president has reformed since this was reported, but probably not.



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