Election Day is nigh. I am a person who believes in government’s capacity to do good and in policy as the vehicle for change. As a result, it is not possible for me to ignore the political world. I have assumed that in their endorsements national and regional news outlets had made a sufficient case against the Trump Administration and its disastrous impact on our democracy, and that therefore writing a column about the presidential election would be superfluous.
But then I thought about the fact that in my own Savin Hill precinct (Ward 13, Precinct 10), the split in the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Trump was 70-23. Yes, 23 percent of my neighbors had voted for Donald Trump. (Overall, Trump won just under 14 percent of the Boston vote in Nov. 2016.)
So, lest my neighbors continue to think that chaos is better than sometimes erratic governance, here’s a litany of things to think about as you cast your ballot:
• We in the US make up 4 percent of the world’s population – and 25 percent of the world’s Covid deaths.
• Trump ignored the “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents” prepared by the National Security Council.
ˆ• Trump told Bob Woodward that “It goes through air… this is deadly stuff,” then told America “It’s going to disappear one day; it is like a miracle.”
• He recommended unproven and ineffective hydroxychloroquine and injecting disinfectants into bodies to stop the virus.
• He fired the non-partisan inspectors general who protect the country from political crime.
• Authoritarian Trump: “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.” He cleared a lawful demonstration with grenades, tear gas, and the military so he could take a photo standing in front of a closed church while holding a Bible. He said that “torture works.”
• His order to remove children from their parents at the border now has left 545 children without their parents, and our government doesn’t know how to get in touch with them.
• Rush Limbaugh, who said, “If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians,” is given a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
• Trump calls the press “truly the enemy of the people,” says that stories that contradict him are “Fake News,” and introduces the term “alternative facts.”
• Trump refuses to investigate claims that Russia offered bounties to Afghans to kill American soldiers. He also says, in the face of US intelligence reports to the contrary, that he believes Putin’s claims that Russia hadn’t interfered in our 2016 election.
• Donald Trump promoted birtherism against Barack Obama, and he echoes Q-Anon conspiracies, among them that Osama Bin Laden is still alive and that the Obama-Biden government had the US Seals team that went after him killed to cover up the real story.
• He banned people from our shores based on their religion, canceled the DACA program, which was allowing some 650,000 immigrants brought to the country as children to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation.
• He severely limited asylum claims and refugee admissions, and tried to prevent the census from counting non-citizens.
• His appointed Attorney General, William Barr, issued a redacted summary of the Mueller Report that covered up obstruction of justice and collusion crimes by the Trump campaign. Trump has also been demanding that Barr prosecute Trump’s political enemies, first of all his Democratic opponent in the presidential campaign.
• Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville white nationalist rally. At the first presidential debate, he told the white supremacist group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
• He contests evidence that he paid no income taxes for many years, but refuses to provide evidence that he did.
• He has politicized the professional departments within the Justice Department, the Centers for Disease Control, Health and Human Services, and the State Department.
• He regularly promised pardons to associates implicated in illegal acts. He actually pardoned his adviser, Roger Stone, who had been convicted of 7 felonies. He had Barr file to drop the cases against his onetime national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who admitted lying to the FBI, and he released former campaign manager Paul Manafort, convicted of corruption, to home confinement.
• Trump has worked to destabilize NATO, calling it “obsolete.” He embraces dictators while disparaging our allies.
• He has arranged for government agencies to use his hotels and other facilities at exorbitant rates, e.g., $137,000 for golf carts for the Secret Service and others at Trump-owned golf courses!
• He ran up a $2.4 trillion dollar deficit in boom years 2017-19, which Trump called “...the best economy we’ve ever had in the history of our country.” During his term to date, our national debt has increased by over $7 trillion. This happened while he was passing trillion-dollar tax cuts that mainly benefitted corporations and the wealthy.
• His untrue statements prompted the media to create fact checking operations that have put his lying rate at 5,500 lies per year.
• He took money from the military to build a southern border wall that government officials said would not work.
• He calls climate change a hoax, and took the US out of the Paris Agreement. He cut the regulations on greenhouse gas, rescinded auto efficiency standards, expanded offshore drilling, and made public land available to private corporations for exploitation.
• He is removing the US from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic.
• He has pursued a case to the Supreme Court that has as its goal the elimination of Obamacare, which would result in 20 million Americans losing health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.
• He advocated for the eventual addition of another conservative Supreme Court justice a week before Election Day, and, as part of the push, he admitted that he would need her vote if the election winds up there.
If you need another perspective, you might turn to the Manchester (NH) Union Leader, a very stalwart conservative newspaper, which endorsed Joe Biden, breaking 100 years of Republican endorsements, stating “President Trump is not always 100 percent wrong, but he is 100 percent wrong for America.”
Neighbors, I could go on with Trump’s harmful and disparaging language about women, the disabled, and our own war veterans, or his stating that he is not committed to a peaceful transition of power if he loses. I hope you can see some reasons why Mr. Trump is a poor choice. His administration has been a nightmare for America. Hopefully it will begin to end next Tuesday.
Bill Walczak lives in Dorchester and is a co-founder and past president of Codman Square Health Center. His column appears weekly in the Reporter.