“To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.” — Samuel Clemens
Unlike Steve Spellman’s column of Oct. 12, I am not seeking out to “weed out any crooks or those who aim to raise our taxes.” And it’s not OK to leave political choices blank because you have not done your homework.
As we saw in the 2022 Columbia municipal elections, every vote counts, so research your candidates and propositions, and vote accordingly.
I want to look at the bigger picture as it concerns our democratic republic, and the future direction of our nation and the great state of Missouri.
On Nov. 8, you will be asked to go to the polls to voice your opinions on who will represent you and your neighbors in the U.S. Senate and House, the Missouri legislature and the county commissions, as well as voting on a number of issues governing the Show-Me State.
My question is simple: Whose rights are being denied and by whom?
This is not a philosophical question, but reality based on who is passing what legislation and what the courts have to say about past precedents. It is a question of conservative versus progressive ideals.
The voice of the people is being curtailed by the ultra-conservative wing of the GOP, which is seeking to dismantle the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 through the courts, which would further limit our right to vote.
The state legislature, with the governor’s blessings, has passed statutes that severely limit the power to vote for many Missourians, especially those who are racial and economic minorities —meaning those voters who have traditionally been Democratic.
With the aid of recent Supreme Court decisions, the conservative wing of our state legislature has limited the rights of women to acquire health care deemed appropriate by the individual, including but not limited to abortion rights.
From voting rights, to which bathroom to use, to participation in sporting events, the GOP wants to take away any the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, including the right to receive gender-affirming care.
They are restricting how and what our schools are to teach about discrimination and race. “If you don’t know, it doesn’t exist,” is their sentiment.
It is the GOP that wants to dismantle our public school system and replace it with sectarian, mostly Christian, private schools funded by taxpayers’ money, an apparent violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
The GOP radicals want to limit our rights to free speech and to publicly protest injustices.
Right-wing legislators on the federal level are providing immense amounts of funding for the “military industrial complex,” yet will not pay our service men and women a living wage. In 2021, 1.2 million men and women in our armed forces relied on assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) alone.
Speaking of which, our conservative state legislators and members of the U.S. Congress want to cut America’s safety net programs that protect those with financial and medical needs. Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP and other safety net programs are under attack and could very well be dismantled under a Republican-controlled state and federal government.
The GOP has made “religious freedom” the message to seduce our Christian brethren into backing non-Christian legislation and candidates. Their focus is to curtail the rights of those who do not meet certain “standards” of their “conservative Christian values.” They want to form a theocracy.
Right-wing conservatives believe that the Democrats want to take away their firearms, when it was Trump who outlawed bump stocks that make a semi-automatic rifle act like a machine gun. It took the shooting of President Reagan in 1981 and increasing violence in the streets under presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush before Congress passed the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
It is the GOP threatening the financial lives of millions of elderly and lower economic class citizens by defunding the safety net programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
It is the conservatives who seem to ignore the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness …”
From the empirical evidence, it appears that the Conservative and MAGA branches of the Republican Party are the ones who want to limit the rights of the American people. That should make you angry enough to vote.
Vote Democratic to maintain your political, personal and religious freedoms — the ones that our Founders risked their lives for in our ongoing experiment to maintain a representative democracy.
David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer and professional speaker. He is the Missouri State Director of American Atheists and writes a twice monthly column for the Columbia Missourian.
About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.