Vote for Eileen Bedell and against chaos

Elections have consequences. Our futures and those of our children and grandchildren are at stake this week. Picking our leaders is serious business. If you want to live in the kind of fear-based world that Donald Trump, Dave Brat and their ilk obviously relish, then don’t bother to vote on Nov. 8—you’ll get your wish.

This will be a world in which the president of the United States has a higher opinion of Vladimir Putin than he does of our own American generals and admirals. He has no respect for our veterans, their sacrifices or their families. In the words of a retired Foreign Service officer writing in the American Foreign Service Association Open Forum, “He relies on affect and emotion of a crypto-fascist kind — especially on encouragement of white racial backlash, misogyny, nativism, and a neo-isolationist attitude toward United States involvement in the world.”

Here is someone with no experience, who tweets at three o’clock in the morning, who has no patience, no sophistication and no background on the issues or the processes. And you see this man, with his deep narcissism and his erratic and impulsive character, as fit for the presidency of the greatest democracy in the world? Need an education? Sign up for Trump University — he’s the expert — New York State will undoubtedly indict him for fraud immediately after the election.

He has promised to jail his challenger, just like any third world dictator would do. Trump says, trust me, I can close the deal, I know all the angles, I’m the only one who can fix everything. Really? This past Thursday’s Washington Post editorial stated unequivocally that Trump is a danger to the Republic. “Only by forgetting or ignoring what he has told us could Americans decide otherwise.”

This will be a world in which our roads and bridges continue to crumble, alarming increases in global warming will endanger the planet, and adventurist wars will continue unabated.

With Trump’s finger on the button, the threat of a nuclear holocaust will be the highest in our lifetimes. The futures of generations to follow will be very dark indeed. Republicans have proved during the past eight years that they care nothing about these issues. A President Trump would only exacerbate these problems. Is this the future you want?

This will be a world where women continue to be second-class citizens, along with every other kind of ethnic, social and religious minority, because the Republican presidential candidate is a vile, racist, bigoted misogynist, by his own words and actions. He’s being sued for raping a 13-year-old. Women head many households, but Republicans oppose equal pay for equal work. More importantly, they have taken women’s most important personal health decisions and politicized them. Republican activists have gone to jail for faked videos critical of Planned Parenthood. Republican state legislatures have voted to defund it or legislate its facilities out of existence.

Trump himself has said a woman should be punished for having an abortion. States have turned a woman’s most intimate medical issues into a three-ring circus where doctors are legislated to perform unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds, or to read medically inaccurate and scary scripts to patients. Republicans bray about government overreach, yet they are eager to legislate themselves into women’s wombs. A man, unless he’s a woman’s doctor, should have nothing to say about her health decisions except in the privacy of loving relationships — period.

There is an alternative. Whatever one thinks of email mismanagement, Trump’s opponent has 30 years of domestic and foreign policy experience, traveling all over the nation and the world talking and negotiating with other leaders at every level. Do you want a president who knows what she is doing or one who is inexperienced and clueless about the workings of the world around him? Do your own fact-checking of what you see and hear in the news. The truth is not hard to find. Here’s one good place to start.

The down-ballot contest here in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District is enormously important because it could help “flip the House” and break the gridlock in Washington by ending the Republican obstructionist stranglehold on the Congress. The race pits challenger Eileen Bedell against incumbent Dave Brat.

There are significant differences between these two candidates, as well.

Eileen, born and raised in Virginia, is an enthusiastic campaigner who has crisscrossed the district talking about issues and solutions. Eileen is a successful attorney who concerns herself with people’s problems every day. She is a small business person who has helped many other small businesses tackle regulatory and other problems. She knows what the world looks like from where it is being lived. She has met a payroll. Brat has none of these qualifications. Her website includes extensive discussion of the problems and issues and her approach to solving them. Check it out:

Brat is in hiding. He refuses to debate, just like his predecessor, Eric Cantor, whom he excoriated for not debating. He’s been on salary all his life. You won’t find anything of substance on his website—just empty promises about how he’s “working”—whatever that means. If you read his self-serving book, “American Underdog,” perhaps a signed copy obtained on one of his recent book tours, you quickly see he is not a genuine economist—he’s preaching his own weird theoretical economic nonsense.

He is a tea party celebrity because he is a pain to the Republican establishment but he has no credibility with his peers and no clout. He is part of a shrinking minority because voters in other states have realized that the Freedom Caucus is not representing constituent interests, but only its extreme right wing ideology. He is anti-business. He misstates cause and effect in the economic world. He writes that companies use regulations to reduce competition and destroy the free market. He labels lobbyists as “socialists” but sees no need to regulate monopolies for the benefit of the community. He has accomplished exactly nothing during his two years in Congress except the renaming of an arboretum in Richmond.

We look for the best qualities in our political leaders, and elections give us the opportunity to select them. Eileen Bedell and Hillary Clinton will be calm and analytical, patient and deliberate. They have the experience, poise and leadership that will inspire confidence, not inflame cynicism or promote conspiracy theories. They will uphold the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution and work hard to uplift every single one of “We the People.” Donald Trump and Dave Brat will do none of those things because they are nothing but liars and con artists who have little interest in America’s democratic heritage.

Voters in Culpeper and the 7th Congressional District finally have a chance to vote for their own best self-interests by putting well-qualified women in charge of government—and it’s about damn time. Don’t stay home because you’re angry, complacent or discouraged. Get out and vote for Eileen Bedell and Hillary Clinton.

Mike McClary

Editor’s note: reprinted with author’s permission, and appearing here.



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