We must defeat Trumpism down ballot, too
Ross D. Franklin/AP

There can be no doubt that we are in the fight of our lives. It’s a political fight that is as critical for American democracy as were the battles at Gettysburg or Normandy.

This election’s focus on the top of the ticket (the Presidency) has become mired in the confusion of slung mud, distorted in the fog of innuendo, and blinded by the dust of hate, prejudice, and fear of certain “other people.” However seeing the battle as two pictures will simplify everything.

1 — The presidential picture. It’s not about e-mails, coal mining jobs, or even ideological purity. It is, to this old West Virginian, about coal operators and miners, owners and workers, haves and have-nots. It is clear that Trump will be far worse for ordinary people than Clinton so the only question that we need to ask ourselves is the same one that Florence Reese of Kentucky’s coal country asked in her 1931 song: “Which side are you on?”

2 — The down-ballot picture. The other and equally important picture is that of Congressional, state, county, and local races. Congressional representatives and senators pass the laws that govern the country. They can effectively outlaw unions, raise and allocate taxes for war, the wealthy or for the people. The Senate approves the appointment of Supreme Court justices who determine what the law means. Will you elect representatives that will serve your interests or those of the rich and powerful few?

State governments not only pass and enforce the laws of a state but they also determine districts that can slant Congress for a particular party. They make laws that determine who can or cannot vote, not to mention that they control a woman’s access to exercise her reproductive rights.

Local officials hire law enforcement officers. Will they employ officers who will enforce the law the way the company wants it enforced? Even our local boards of education have significant power to enlighten and influence our children – for a bright future or mind-dulling production.

The outcomes of both the presidential and the down ballot races will determine whether we slip into the dark ages of oppression for African-Americans, women, Hispanics, workers, children, the elderly, and all who have not had the good fortune to be born wealthy and/or powerful.

We stand at the brink of – yes – fascism. Should Trump be elected; it will be a brink from which we are not likely to recover for generations.

The right of workers to have decent wages, benefits, safety, pensions they can count on, etc. will become a thing of the past. If you are a person of color, female, a non-Anglo-Saxon male, disabled, or if you fail to adhere to the approved religion; you can forget about being treated with dignity and respect. You will be marginalized in order to divert working people from the real causes of their misery.

You can also forget about adequate healthcare for yourself or your family, and don’t even think about retiring in financial comfort if you don’t have the do-re-mi. The same applies to your children pursuing the so-called “American dream” of a better life through education because, for those not to the manor born, higher education will be had only by selling themselves into years of indebtedness.

Civil rights and liberties will be suppressed whether by official law enforcement or by gun thugs, Klansmen, vigilantes and night riders who will be unleashed by a wink, nod, or suggestion that this or that group (progressives, minorities, unions, the media) is “not American” or “against God” and therefore a legitimate target.

In this election, the choice is simple; the choice is clear. We must push with an all-out effort to elect Hillary Clinton President and defeat the Republicans and their extreme right agenda from President down to every local representative.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Milam
John Milam

John Milam has been an activist most of his adult life in unions, community action groups and anti-war groups. He worked as an organizer and servicing staff representative at District 50, UMWA, which later merged with the United Steelworkers. As a Steelworker, he became a Key Staff Rep. for Area 1 (Wheeling-Steubenville) of the old USWA District 23. Milam writes on issues and events that affect miners and steelworkers for Peoplesworld.org.

 

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