Update 15 October 2020: the first part of this article, without the recommendations section, appeared in pretty much its submitted form as a guest column in the Waco "Trib" newspaper on Thursday 15 October. I took that article, added the recommendations section, and posted it here on the 13th, when I first wrote it.
I voted early on the first day of early voting. For the most part, I liked what I saw, from the viewpoint of reducing the risks of virus spread. I think you can go vote in person, without a high risk of catching Covid-19, or the seasonal flu for that matter.
I think our county elections people are really trying hard to do this right, and it showed. I congratulate them on trying so hard to do this right. They have served us well.
Lines were long, in part because of social distancing, but mostly because turnout is high this year (which is a good thing). Expect to stand in line about an hour, or more. I was there about 10:30 in the morning, and I stood in line about ¾ of an hour, before actually going in the door.
Nearly everybody I saw in line was wearing a mask. The only shortfall I saw was people not staying 6 feet apart: the usual distance was 3-4 feet. It got better closer to the door going in, where there were marks on the pavement 6 feet apart.
They disinfect your hands as you enter, which is a good thing. The poll workers are wearing full face shields, which is the right thing for them to do. They give you a pen with which to sign the voter roll, which they want you to keep or recycle. They offer you a pencil to work the dials and buttons on the voting machine, which they also want you to keep or recycle. All these are the right things to do.
Not many took advantage of this, but you can have your hands sprayed with disinfectant as you leave. I did see a few voters wearing disposable gloves, which is the right thing to do, if you are at particularly-high risk. I had some with me, but didn’t really see the need to wear them, despite my risky age.
All of this means that you can vote in person (early, or on election day) with reasonable safety during this pandemic! You need not worry about whether the post office will deliver your mail-in ballot on time, or over the logistics of delivering your ballot to the one-and-only drop off location for this county. You can instead just vote in person, sidestepping those problems!
I would like to see the spacing increased to a full 6 feet between linestanders, far from the door. No one is monitoring that. I would also like to see the in-public mask rule enforced. If this takes a patrolling law enforcement officer, then so be it. These things are simply public health measures, during what amounts to a plague.
Some may take issue with that sentiment, but it is based on the hard science behind these rules. The mask a person wears is not so much to protect him, but to protect those around him from anything he might be infected with! To think the presence or absence of a mask only affects its wearer, is a conspiracy theory, not science. What we’d like to do is irrelevant; what is relevant is all of us actually doing what we already know works, for the common good of us all.
The 6-foot rule is what does far more to protect the mask wearer from those around him. Actually, doing both the mask and the 6-foot rule is way far more effective, than is either action by itself! The real science supports that assessment, too.
So, go out and vote. It is the duty of citizens of a representative democracy (also known as a “republic”) to do so.
Now that I have dealt with the safety of the process, here are my recommendations for its outcome. Everyone should vote their conscience and preferences. I am just offering opinions supported by the facts as I can uncover them.
On the national level, I recommend Biden/Harris, not Trump/Pence. I think we need very significant change from what we have seen the last almost-4 years.
The Trump administration coronavirus response has been a disaster, compared to what the other industrialized countries have managed to do, primarily because the president and his supporters and enablers apparently do not believe in science or simple facts. It’s about to get worse, not better: the second wave is just beginning (there were 3 waves over 3 years with the 1918 flu pandemic). Free Fauci, fire Trump. Simple as that.
The economy is in a shambles comparable to the Great Depression, which is due to what we had to do to fight the coronavirus, and that is not the administration’s fault. I think the administration’s relief response for people hurt in this depression is a very poor showing. But, they are lying to you about who created the rather good economy we had right before the pandemic hit! In point of fact, that economy was inherited from the Obama administration, and Biden played a role in creating it, out of the Great Recession mess that they inherited. Hire Biden, fire Trump. Simple as that.
We can argue about how good or bad Obamacare really is, or if something else might be better. That is just as it should be. But the administration trying to take it away in the middle of a pandemic is heartless and cruel! The Republicans have been trying to repeal or sabotage Obamacare since its passage. But beware: they are lying to you when they say they have an alternative! They never did, and they still do not! Ditch them and try somebody who actually has a plan. Simple as that.
We have seen how the Republicans (and maybe some of the Democrats, too, to some extent) have come to prioritize party advantage above doing the people’s business, in violation of their oaths of office. A part of this is the mad rush to pack the Supreme Court with possibly-conservative justices before the election is over, just because they can. They are doing this, despite the polls saying nearly 2/3 of Americans do not want this. They do NOT represent you very well, do they?
Republicans refused to even consider Mr. Obama’s nominee in 2016, because it was an election year. And as late as the 2018 mid-terms, promised that they would not rush a nominee through during the 2020 election. They lied! And that disqualifies them as worthy representatives.
This is a type of corruption sometimes called “arrogance of power” that often happens when politicians stay in office too long. But you can fix this, because you have always had the term limits power in your hands. Just vote for somebody besides the incumbent! Ideology is simply less important than the effects of corruption and the arrogance of power. Throw the rascals out! If the new guy is no good, throw him/her out, too. Rapid turnover restricts all sorts of corruption. Simple as that.
I could go into the Mueller report which the Senate committee essentially verified, and into the Ukraine impeachment during which the Republican-controlled Senate essentially said “yes, he did it, but we don’t care”, but I won’t.
I could also go into the fact-checking record of Mr. Trump, which is essentially 100% incorrect/egregious lies, but I won’t, except to say that you should look first for yourself at the Wikipedia article “Veracity of statements by Donald Trump”, located at:
Copy and paste that link in your search browser. You have to decide for yourself whether lying behavior on that grand a scale is something you can tolerate in the White House.
On a Texas state level, that same turnover effect means I recommend voting for the opponents of our incumbent senator John Cornyn, and all the judges, education board, etc. They are all Republican, and have mostly been in office a long time. Too long.
There are at least some questionable court and education board decisions to point at, so it is definitely time to try somebody else. At worst, we may have a corrupt felon or two among our state officials (such as AG Paxton). If that is even remotely true, it is a “must” for changing out officeholders.
The real problem here is that Texas has, for many years now, been a one-party Republican-controlled state. I did not like one-party control under the Democrats half a century ago, and I do not like it now under the Republicans! Ending one-party control is reason enough to change out elected officials with much higher frequency. Ditch the fixation on ideology, and vote for new blood! Often! You will get better government! Simple as that.
On a local level, the same sentiment is true. It is more important to end one-party rule, and get fresh blood frequently, than it is to support any particular ideology. The more frequently you change them out, the better government you will get. Simple as that.
In case you didn’t notice, I put a whole lot more store in frequent turnover of elected officials, and very little store in supporting (any) political ideology. I am, and always have been, a fierce independent.
To me a “conservative” is supposed to be only a person who says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. A “liberal” is supposed to be only a person who says “if it is broke, then do fix it”. We all should be “conservative” and “liberal” at need, depending only on whether something is “broke” or not.
I very much encourage comments, but please resist the notion to “flame” me, just because I recommended somebody other than your favorite.-----------------------------