The general election is in 10 days and the candidates, parties and special interests are out in force making the final push before voting begins.
If you listened to the attack ads running nonstop on social media and other outlets, you would think everyone is an extremist from a party that wants to destroy the nation.
Twenty years ago, the consultants used to talk about certain races being in “polluted air,” which meant negative ads had poisoned the waters, any positive ad was a waste of time.
These days the air is polluted before the candidate’s official announcements he or she is running.
The demonization of candidates is routine now and is it any wonder an 82-year-old man in his own house is severely beaten because his wife is Speaker of the US House and most people in the opposing party refuse to take a few days off from demonizing her more.
These are the times we live in and it is ugly and lacks human decency.
The country is frankly at a fork in the road and which way it goes will be determined Nov. 8. And people ought to know the real issues facing New Hampshire and the country, not what the candidates and parties want you to believe.
If you listened to the debates and watch enough television you would believe the two top issues are inflation and abortion or reproductive rights.
A great deal of money and time have been spent to connect President Biden and the Democrats to the highest inflation rate in 40 years and to convince the voters they are responsible for the coming recession.
But if you look around the world at the other industrialized countries, they are also dealing with inflation as bad and in many cases worse than it is here.
Some of the blame lies with the countries’ leaders who decided to pour money into their economies once the pandemic began to avoid a financial meltdown.
You should also look at the earnings reports of many of the fossil fuel companies and their record profits with most of the money going to stockholders and not to new exploration or refineries which would help lower the cost to consumers over time.
Groceries are also much more expensive due to high fuel costs and an opportunity for the owners of major chains to increase the profit margin under the guise of inflation.
While it is easy for voters to vote their pocketbooks in the short-term, the economic issues will be short-lived and in a year or two will stabilize.
But a women’s fundamental right to reproductive health under the US Constitution is no longer guaranteed and does not exist. The US Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe vs. Wade is the first time in U.S. history the court has taken away a fundamental right for citizens.
Saying it is up to states to decide is like playing Russian roulette depending on where you live and there is no guarantee that won’t change after just one election.
The rush to effectively outlaw most abortions by many states has been a tidal wave of change for women in this country.
And the conservative members of the Supreme Court have hinted the court is not done and has contraception, same-sex marriage and gay rights in its sights as well.
The court has already changed the political landscape with its Citizens United decision allowing a flood of corporate money and personal wealth to have an outsized influence on the political process.
And leaving gerrymandering issues to the states as the high court has done is like leaving the fox in charge of the chicken coop.
The court’s decisions point to perhaps the biggest issue facing this country, but receives little discussion in the campaigns and it is the growing disparity between the wealthy and the rest of us.
With wages effectively stagnated or going in reverse in real dollars, the once mighty middle class is but a shell of itself.
But at the same time, the tax burden has been shifted to the middle class’s shoulders and off those of the super wealthy and corporations since the Reagan administration, and the last tax cut three years ago, was another major shift of tax burden to the middle class.
The problem with having an oligarchy, which is happening now, is that eventually the middle and lower classes can no longer afford to buy new cars, homes, refrigerators, etc. or pay their growing medical bills and the economic system begins to collapse.
With the money needed to run campaigns today, no candidate for major office can afford to offend those with deep pockets.
Another major issue that needs addressing is the war on public education, an institution that has served the country well for over a century or more producing a better-educated society capable of spurring economic growth.
It is also the great leveler and serves to produce the underlying concept of the greater good.
Pulling students out or public education for religious or private schools, or for homeschooling is really tribalism.
Parents want their children to remain with like-minded groups which is contrary to America being the great melting pot.
Public education could be improved, but that won’t happen with more and more tax revenues flowing to alternative programs with little or no accountability.
And if the oligarchs have their way, education will be a pay for services operation, meaning those who can afford a good education will benefit, while those who can not will suffer.
It would lock families into their economic position for generations without serious hope of bettering themselves.
Humanity is also facing a changing world less hospitable to humans as global warming changes climate, intensifies weather patterns and damages the environment for future generations.
These issues are not great talking points that fire up the base like immigration, gun rights, teachers being groomers or dog whistles of racism for Republicans or abortion rights, unionization or Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare do for Democrats.
Those issues create fear and that in turn creates anger which drives the base to the polls.
The culture war issues divide the country, not unite it which further contributes to the current political climate that fails to condemn violence or intimidation to win arguments.
Democracy is built on the foundation of differing viewpoints producing a compromise for the greater good.
It is not built on intimidation and rigging the game through things like gerrymandering and voter suppression that will impact the Nov. 8 election, and sad to say the political violence that has become more prevalent in recent years.
A report from the Capitol Police found in the last five years the number of recorded threats against members of Congress increased more than tenfold, to 9,625 in 2021.
There is no place for threats, violence or intimidation whether it is at ballot drop boxes in Arizona, or crowds at Brett Kavanaugh’s home, or attacking Paul Pelosi in his home or showing up armed at Gov. Chris Sununu’s home in Newfields.
People need to make difficult decisions in the next week because the country’s direction will be determined by their votes.