PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY
Social Security is the foundational program that guarantees monthly income to senior citizens. It makes up most of the income for many retired Americans. Losing Social Security benefits would thrust over 40 percent of elderly Americans into poverty. Why do Republican leaders continue their assault on this invaluable program? The Republican tax plan will add over $1 trillion to the federal deficit which will give more fuel to the ridiculous, mean spirited argument to limit social security benefits. This war on seniors must stop. As a recipient of social security, I will propose and support legislation that will protect this vital program for current seniors and for generations to come.
PROTECT HEALTH CARE
It is a privilege and blessing to live in America. The wealth of this country is astounding. Yet for all its immeasurable opportunities it still lacks one component that other western industrial countries have, health coverage for all citizens. Our humanity and deeply held feelings for the sanctity of life are diminished by the suffering of fellow Americans who don’t have financial resources to obtain medical care.
Rather than try to improve Obamacare, Republican leaders persist in their desire to destroy the very program that has insured over 20 million more Americans. And yet they have no program to replace Obamacare. By removing the Obamacare mandate to have insurance the Republican tax plan with its massive deficit is using another ploy to kill the Affordable Health Care Act. But that is not all. They are also proposing to change and reduce Medicare benefits. Each of the 44 million recipients of Medicare should be outraged, especially because of the deficit created by enormous tax breaks for the billionaires like Donald Trump. I will resist any changes that reduce the benefits for current participants and future generations. I will be a champion for the continued struggle to pursue solutions that will help all Americans to access affordable health care.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
A dark cloud of environmental policy hangs over Donald Trump, Orin Hatch, Chris Stewart and every other member of our Republican delegation for their advocacy and support of the reduction of the Bears Ears and the Grand Stair Case-Escalante National Monuments. This act will go down in history as one of the most ignorant, short sighted and destructive decisions made by politicians. Protecting arguably some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world and preserving wild places for future generations is not mutually exclusive with economic development. Indeed, environmental protection and jobs can coexist and thrive.
Our children and grandchildren deserve the right to have access to public lands that are pristine in their natural beauty and free from the scars of mining, drilling and development. Of all the states, Utah should be the most protective and jealous of its unique and unparalleled natural wonders. Economic development should be focused on preservation of these areas and not destruction.
Donald Trump continues to wage war on environmental protections. First, climate change is real. It is not as Donald Trump suggests, “a fraud” created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. Of course, we must always be prepared to change our assessment as the science changes. But if we change our views it should be based on scientific evidence, not ideology. For the moment, a virtual consensus exists among the world’s scientists, including those of our own government that climate change is real, and that mankind is a contributor. That doesn’t mean we will all agree on the solutions, but it does mean that politicians have a responsibility to accept scientific evidence, when there is no escaping the evidence.
Here is a related truth: Coal is not coming back. Donald Trump lied to the coal miners when he said he would bring coal back. The economic truth is that it isn’t coming back. Bob Murray, the owner of the largest privately owned coal mining company in America said he told Trump that he should temper his expectations. Referring to Trump’s promise to bring back coal jobs, Murray said, “he can’t bring them back.” That is coming from the king of coal himself.
I will fight for environmental safeguards that will benefit current and future generations while being sensitive to economic impacts and exploring solutions to expand economic development.
The Republican Party has become stagnant and predictably irrational in its policies, trotting out old ideas, while the increasingly interconnected world passes them by. And now, in the age of Trump, it has become corrupted because of its leader’s acquiescence to the destructive untruths that fall, like the autumn leaves, so naturally from the lips of Donald Trump.
But the truth must always come first. To have any meaningful debate about the issues, politicians must first be willing to tell the truth. The sad reality is that we have a president who does not tell the truth. He misstates, exaggerates, and propagates half-truths when he isn’t telling outright factual lies. He continues to undermine the institutions of democracy necessary for a free society to survive, and yet Republicans in Congress stand by and say nothing. In that respect, they have become complicit.
We have a President who has undermined the free press by calling it fake news, and undermined our intelligence community by saying they got it wrong about Russia’s interference in our elections. He has dishonored our men and women in uniform by fighting with Gold Star families, and suggesting that if you get caught when defending your country and are held as a prisoner of war, you are not a hero. I count every soldier who has ever served his or her country a hero, most especially those who have been held as prisoners of war. But Republican leaders stand by and say nothing.
Who will stand up against President Trump’s bigotry? Who will stand up against the bully who mock’s persons with disabilities, whose Justice Department rips undocumented children from the arms of their mothers, who suggests that a judge of Hispanic ancestry cannot be a fair and impartial judge, and who believes that there are “good” people in the white nationalist movement. Who will stand up when the President re-tweets fake images of supposed Muslims engaged in violence, just to stir up racial tensions. Why do Republican leaders stand silently by when our closest ally must admonish the President for his actions?
This moment in history will be viewed as a giant step backwards, and those who are standing by, silently giving their tacit approval to the spurious, conspiracy laden, racially tinged nationalism of Trump, will be judged by history no better than those who stood silently by as the evils of slavery persisted, and when institutional racism thrived under the false premise of “states’ rights.”
We should never forget that Donald Trump built his political base on the racist lie that the first African American President was not even a real American. And yet many Republicans of the far right, including members of congress, stood by and even joined in the chorus.
It is time for a change. And change means telling the truth.