True or false?
With just a few weeks until the election, it’s time to update President Trump’s truthfulness, because some folks might mistakenly vote for what Trump says, rather than the actual facts. The Poynter Institute, a nonpartisan group, fact checked over 800 of Trump’s statements as of Sept. 12 and found that 72% were false or mostly false and 28% were true or mostly true. Here are some recent examples of Trump’s false statements that might mislead some voters:
“Biden will destroy protections for preexisting conditions.” (Sept. 10) FALSE: Joe Biden supports the protections of the ACA: Trump is in court trying to eliminate them.
“I saved the auto industry. We brought you a lot of car plants.” (Sept. 10) FALSE: There were fewer auto workers at the end of 2019 than there were at the end of 2016. One Jeep plant reopened under Trump.
“Election officials are sending 80 million ballots all over the country.” (Sept. 7) FALSE: Many states are sending out applications for mail-in voting due to the coronavirus.
“I never called John McCain a loser.” (Sept. 3) FALSE: Yes, he did, as we have seen on video.
“There was tremendous (election) cheating in New York.” (Sept. 1) FALSE: There were some delays, but there was no known cheating or fraud.
“Only 6% of the people died from COVID—they died from other causes.” (Sept 1.) FALSE: Many people had other serious health problems, but it was COVID-19 that caused their deaths.
“Biden failed to condemn violent groups—he faulted the police.” (Sept. 1) FALSE: Joe Biden came out strongly against violence during the protests and in support of police using appropriate tactics.
“The entire city of Portland is ablaze all the time.” (Aug. 31) FALSE: There has been violence in a few areas of Portland for months, but no serious fires were set by the protesters.
“The video shows Kyle Rittenhouse being violently attacked.” (Aug. 31) FALSE: Rittenhouse shot and killed a protester and was running away. He shot two more people who tried to take his rifle.
“I insisted on the National Guard going into Kenosha.” (Aug. 31) FALSE: The governor sent them in. Trump named several cities where he thought the National Guard should go in.
As usual, the Republican campaign strategy is based on creating fear. In 2016 it was fear of Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, drug gangs and Democrats. This year it is fear of protesters, voting by mail, non-Christians, BLM, unfunded police and Democrats. They even show scenes of street demonstrations and claim that “this is Joe Biden’s America.” FALSE: This is President Trump’s America now! And the 190,000 Americans who have died from COVID on Trump’s watch would probably not agree that he has handled it well. Nor would the millions of unemployed people.
Four more years of this? No! America can do much, much better without Trump as president.
Vote, if you want to
Every election season we are subject to celebrities’ hordes and political parties asking us to “Get Out the Vote!” There are endless TV and radio ads that gratuitously glorify the American democratic process to near-pornographic levels and plead with all of us to leave no voter behind at the polls. They put the ordinary accomplishment of wearing the “I voted” sticker right up there on the pedestal with the actions of that firefighter who saved kids from the burning building last month.
Winston Churchill said it best when he said, “Democracy is the absolute worst form of government, except for all of the others.” If you want to vote, go ahead, you certainly have the opportunity (although not the explicit constitutional right). But please don’t consider it a service to the public or anybody else.
The whole idea of getting out the vote is based on the flawed concept that the more people vote, the better the outcome will magically be. This idea has no basis in historical fact. More and more people vote in each election, but you would probably have to go back 40 years to Ronald Reagan to get a consensus among historians that his presidential skills exceeded clearly his predecessor’s. Before that you would probably have to go back almost a century to Calvin Coolidge, demonstrating that there really is no correlation between voter turnout and political progress.
Getting out the vote is an outright disservice to the American people. You only work harder and harder to ferret out more and more people who are less interested, less engaged and less informed about the political process than those before. In doing this you only serve to weaken the collective political intellect of the voters.
I would argue that more democracy damaged our American Republic’s legislative process in the 20th century. In particular, direct election of senators has corresponded with the extinction of Legislative Branch compromise. Now both Houses of Congress are way more focused on winning the next election rather than providing good governance to the American people.
So let’s not make our Democracy any worse than it has to be. If you want to vote, fine, but don’t badger anyone else—the polls are probably better off without their level of apathy in choosing our next elected leaders.
Hoping for the best
For the past three years I’ve been stationed as foreign soldier in Arizona. As a son of a naval physician, I lived in Virginia for six months in the 1990s, spent a year in high school as an exchange student with a host family in Georgia in 2001, and accomplished major parts of my military training in different parts of the U.S.
I have always admired this country and its people for the progress, the warm-heartedness and generosity—no matter where I went and whom I met. These days it breaks my heart to see what’s happening out there. All the current conflicts, like impoverishment of considerable parts of society, violence, riots and racism, must not be ignored by anyone. These are major symptoms for deficiencies in society as a whole that will only get worse if suppressed and not properly treated at their roots. This will cost money and effort—no way around it. Negligence in solving these conflicts will have vast consequences for everyone in the future.
People of a different opinion should be respected as humans. Most of the time in life there is more than black and white, red or blue. I got to know the term “agreeing to differ” as a specifically American term—it should be the basis to find a solution, not the end. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of this discussion culture remaining nowadays. You must not be afraid to discuss factual things because you fear your discussion partner could be of a different opinion.
What I’m currently experiencing shatters me more from day to day. This great country is being ripped apart by small-minded trench warfare being exaggerated in the media and a leadership unable to even show an interest in keeping this country together as a whole.
I really hope for the best and that one day America will become great again.
Catastrophes of 2021
We have had many catastrophes hit the globe in 2020. So what about 2021? What new catastrophes do we have to look forward to? The ongoing catastrophes so far are increased flooding, accelerated weather storms, global warming, melting ice caps, pandemic, etc.
Now for new catastrophes for 2021: the continued ice caps melting, global warming increasing at an accelerated rate, and drinking water contaminations. These will be our main threats, in addition to the ongoing catastrophes of 2020. What catastrophes are the ice cap (fresh water) melting and global warming going to cause?
Well, the caps melting dilute the saline solution of the ocean, and the global warming raises the overall temperature of the ocean. If you have heard of the Gulf Stream, it keeps the land temperatures fairly mild, lows and highs. Now the Gulf Stream’s flow is dependent on the concentration of salt in the ocean and the temperature of the ocean.
Melting ice caps add fresh water to the oceans, diluting the salt concentrations, and global warming increases the ocean temperature. What does this do to the Gulf Stream? It has already slowed the Gulf Stream flow down. Eventually it will slow to a stop. What will be the results of this? I could write more, but if you want to find out what would happen if the Gulf Stream were to stop, look it up on the internet. It will shock any normal human being.
Oh—by the way, there is no way to stop the ice caps from melting or to halt global warming. We are already past the point of no return. There is no man-made technology that exists today that can stop it or reverse it. Look it up—the truth will be hard to take, but it is coming.
The unfortunate TDS (Trump derangement syndrome) sufferers still don’t get it. After five years of President Trump’s historic presence on the American scene, they still resort to nasty schoolyard name-calling to taunt his patriotic supporters. They don’t seem to realize that their childish epithets only fuel our firm resolve. “Sticks and stones” and all that stuff, people.
If you must use a dirty word to describe us, go with “pro-Americans.”
Quarantine is an
With the announcement that Donald and Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, the subject of quarantine is front-page news. It is interesting to note that quarantine is an ancient concept.
The Book of Leviticus describes the practice of isolating the sick to prevent the infection of the healthy. The word itself comes from the Italian quarantina, meaning 40 days of isolation. It originated in Venice during the 14th century and the height of the Black Death.
In Colonial America, it was instituted in 1663 to stop the spread of smallpox. Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, was quarantined for 23 years in New York City in the early 20th century. During the 1918 flu pandemic, quarantine was practiced around the world and in Phoenix, Arizona. When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from their historic flight to the Moon, they were quarantined for 21 days to prevent the introduction of pathogens from the Moon to Earth.
Enough ancient history. The question of the day is what type and duration of quarantine will the White House institute? Answer TBD.
Leonard Kirschner MD, MPH
Col. U.S. Air Force (Retired)
AHCCCS Director 1987-93
Past President, AARP Arizona