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Kate Dahlstrom

Guest Opinion Previously published in Northern Express 9/22/20

Sept. 19, 2020

After voting straight Republican for 36 years, from 1971 through 2007, I have been an Independent since 2008, studying and voting for each candidate and issue on their own merits.

The main idea of the Square Deal (circa 1902) introduced by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was to reduce inequality. The three Cs of Roosevelt’s Square Deal were control of corporations, consumer protection, and conservation of natural resources. Roosevelt is widely regarded as one of the five best presidents in U.S. history.

Another “best president” is his cousin, a Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who authored The New Deal of 1933. The New Deal took action to bring us out of the Great Depression with immediate economic relief and reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labor, and housing. Cousins of different political parties, with so many similarities. One thing is certain,: the Republican Party of today no longer shares the principles of Teddy Roosevelt.

After so many years, why do people like my husband and I leave the Republican Party? Did we change, or did the party?

Let’s consider. Around 2006, the gay community became much more open about their identity. Many Republicans refuse to grant equal human and civil rights to LGBTQ people. Why is it so hard to accept that people are created differently? Consider that as many as 1.7 percent of babies are born with ambiguous physical sexual traits. This discrimination against fellow human beings based on mental or physical differences is just plain wrong.

Next is the problem of income and tax inequality. As a CPA, I have seen tax loopholes for the wealthy for years. Republicans continue to provide big tax breaks for the very wealthy, while lower-income earners struggle to make ends meet.

The Republican tax bill should have reduced rates only for those corporations that invest in U.S. plant and equipment or offer skilled and semi-skilled job training programs. But instead, it drastically reduces rates for all corporations ... including drug/opioid middlemen, Wall Street, casino and luxury hotels, oil and gas, Big Pharma, and tobacco and alcohol, with reduced taxes on their wealthy (and often foreign) shareholders and executives as well. This is a Bad Deal for middle-/low-income U.S. taxpayers.

Our economy was strong, and yet our debt rose by huge amounts, thanks to this disastrous tax bill. Furthermore, even though we had low unemployment and a record-high stock market, something like 40 percent of Americans still struggled to make ends meet. And the income gap grows.

The other Republican-driven change that benefits corporate bottom lines is reduced regulations/protections. Permitting increased industrial, automotive, and other pollution via reduced regulations will cost us much more later, in higher healthcare costs, environmental clean-up, global warming, etc. Our current Republican-led administration is attempting to reduce Social Security and Medicare to pay for the tax bill. These benefits are not only earned but also absolutely essential to many. Our government should not reduce or borrow from Social Security or Medicare!

Then there is the refusal to consider common sense gun reform. Many Republicans are financed by the NRA. A majority of Americans support legitimate measures that would not eliminate gun ownership but would provide for safer ownership and a safer public. Republicans refuse to listen.

Corporate control of government must end. American Promise is a movement to get corporate money out of politics. The unfortunate thing is, few Republicans support ending corporate big-money donations. What does that tell you?

These days, we believe it is every voter’s responsibility to determine what really matters to them and then do the research to become well-informed before going to vote. This means much more than listening to candidates’ promises. Rather, review voting records if the candidate is an incumbent or has served in other offices. Look to the organizations you trust for information about candidates, like Humane Society, Ocean/Nature Conservancy, AARP, Doctors w/o Borders, or Audubon Society. They usually have a political arm that will provide information about candidates’ voting records and agendas.

As for our family, we care about human rights and healthcare for everyone; common sense gun reform; and hardworking immigrants who labor in our fields and hotels, and clean up after natural disasters. We are a family of hunters, hikers, and social justice advocates, and we are rooted in our deep Christian faith. We have always treasured clean air and water, our national parks and open spaces, and do not believe they should be compromised by big business exploitation.

We want leaders who respect our democracy and who will work to unite our country and the world. No more “bully diplomacy” through trade wars. No more paranoid attacks on scientists, the media, and intelligence agencies. It saddens us greatly to see the U.S. torn apart internally and lose respect worldwide.

Theodore Roosevelt would not have agreed to any of the current Republican mentality, and we don’t either.

I hope you will vote for these things to change, but whatever you do, please do not vote without being well informed and fully aware of what you are voting for. Future generations and the soul of America depends on you.

Any opinions stated here do not reflect the positions of the Grand Traverse Democrats


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