donald trump
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the White House on July 4, 2020. Photo: Andrea Hanks / White House

Elections have consequences

Monday, September 14, 2020

Barack Obama told us this way back in 2008.

Now, we witness Donald Trump’s failures for the last four years and are enraged because over half the population of this country is unemployed, people are being shot by the police in the streets and even the U.S. Post Office is under attack.

It is not only that nearly 200,000 lives in America have been lost by Trump’s incompetence — it will just go away, he says of the worst pandemic of our time, the COVID-19. But, it is that we’ve known from the beginning that he is a liar.

It didn’t have to be this bad, we are told, as we send our kids back to school because children are “almost immune.” He accuses everyone from Democrats to the Chinese for conspiring against him and he fires anyone who disagrees with him about anything. Half of his cabinet is under indictment or in hiding.

Keeping up with this awful news makes us all think about our vote in the next coming presidential election.

We must take this election seriously.

The television pictured the White House lawn the other day as a thousand white Americans (without masks, by the way, and crammed right next to each other) cheered for this selfish and entitled law breaking President as he shoots off his mouth as well as wild fireworks to accept his RNC’s nomination for a second term.

The stakes are high. Most of us are hoping for a new administration and we are asking each other: what kind of voter am I? What kind of voter are you? How did we get like this??? I’ll be honest. I am not a Republican nor am I the most informed voter in the world. But, I ponder that question. Who are we and how did we get here?

There are all kinds of voters, as we know. There is the “swing voter”. I am not one of them. They are susceptible to the hype and often say “I vote for the candidate, not the Party.” They are usually “hobbyists.” Yet, they often follow the news. They devote significant time to keeping up with the political dramas, cheering and booing at appropriate times. They make huge contributions to the church to keep them safe from a woman’s right to make her own decisions about child bearing.

They join an e-mail list and sometimes write a letter to the editor. They cringe from protests in the streets by their neighbors, and they want to give more power to the police to arrest those who disturb the peace.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Courtesy photo

Then there are the “independents”. They often treat politics as a past-time instead of taking government seriously and devoting themselves toward seeking the knowledge to do the right thing. They often are disgruntled and these days they are thinking that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can be trusted with the power of governing. They believe in the Reagan-ism that has told them that “Government IS the problem, not the solution.” Thanks to Trump’s bungling, Reagan may be benefitting from a wave of nostalgia.

More than we care to admit, there is the influence of the “white evangelical” voter. Trump was at the pinnacle of his media power, boastful and a star of “The Apprentice” television show when the evangelicals became his faithful admirers.

When he made his foray into the Midwest from his mid-Manhattan Tower, he bonded with those who often called themselves the “values voters.” Their families had been here in the Midwest since 1880, and trump made his promise to them: he said, “I will tell you now, Christianity is under tremendous siege and we have the power but we don’t exert it.” He promised them he would change that! And they bought his promise, because they wanted to keep their country the “way it was.” Church. Farm, Family, and mostly, no abortion!!

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Professor Elizabeth Cook-Lynn writes a column for The Native Sun News Today, in Rapid City, South Dakota, She is a retired professor of Native Studies and has taught at Eastern Washington University, University of California-Davis and Arizona State University. She is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson, South Dakota.

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