LD11 Rep. Mark Finchem claims to have no knowledge of the existence of any “radical right wing” organizations. (Guest column July 23) That’s quite a statement from someone with a rich history of personal involvement in several such groups. Then again, LD11 voters have never been able to count on Finchem’s honesty.
In 2016, Finchem was among an outspoken group defending the Bundy family’s armed takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Nevada. Their group’s intent was to use violent means to avoid paying their legally owed fees for cattle grazing rights on federal land. Finchem’s action was admonished by a county judge as emboldening an illegal standoff. You might recall that two years later, the Bundys were involved in another violent standoff that resulted in a death.
Finchem has joined white supremacists in calling the Charlottesville terrorist attack a “deep state” plot. He’s been associated with a far-right militia group, Oath Keepers. They’re known for sending heavily armed men to political hot zones, like Cliven Bundy's ranch and Ferguson, Missouri. He has also introduced legislation that would allow Arizona to subvert U.S. Supreme Court rulings and transfer federal land into state management. These are merely a few examples of Finchem’s extremist views and actions.
All three of LD11’s current state legislators have sought to undermine Arizona mayors and voters in jurisdictions outside of their district. They treat constituent questions like interruptions. Sen. Leach is either sarcastic or busy posting racially charged cartoons. Rep. Roberts refers voters to his social media postings rather than providing answers. Rep. Finchem uses Facebook postings to directly attack constituents by name.
LD11 voters deserve legislators who are concerned with solving the complex issues facing Arizona’s families. 2020 is the time to vote these bums out and make a fresh start.
Most effective leaders are consensus builders. They’re adept at getting people together to solve mutual problems. Those leaders tend to bring out the very best in others, as they encourage cooperation and trust. They usually find the best solutions because they invite ideas from across a wide spectrum of experiences and backgrounds. Unfortunately, this does not describe the current president of the United States.
Nearly everything Donald Trump does and says alienates more than half of the American public. He has a knack for making every policy decision or public statement about loyalty to him personally or becoming his enemy. As a result, we find an America so starkly divided that solutions built with consensus are now impossible. He’s made everything contingent on his sole authority.
The latest in an infinitely long list of issues revolves around face masks. While virtually every medical/scientific expert tells us face masks save lives, Trump has turned this into a political beachhead. The CDC says some 30,000 fewer Americans will die if we wear them — Trump uses ridicule and intimidation, forcing his loyalists to shun them. Trump has equated face masks to weakness and a statement that his administration is a failure. Trump’s COVID mantra has become: Die for the Dow — it’s all about his reelection.
Imagine highways without mandatory enforcement of seat belts or children’s car seats, homes with paint containing lead and asbestos or food processing and packaging with no FDA. Society has to place lifesaving restrictions on itself or we all suffer. It’s not what Congressman Andy Biggs calls “tyrannical,” but merely good governance.
We’re facing some big problems: immigration, racial injustice, overdue policing reforms and a surging pandemic. America desperately needs a consensus builder. America needs leadership based on our common good, not narcissistic whims.
A letter and story in Tuesday’s Dispatch caught my attention. One titled “LD11 reps are abusing power” called out state legislators for political overreaching while not taking care of real problems in their own communities. The second was “Lawmakers want to make it tougher for workers to sue over COVID-19." While they may seem to be taking up separate issues, they’re actually very closely related.
The single point is that Arizona’s GOP legislative majority is failing the common, everyday, clock-punching, lunch-bag-toting worker. Hey, of course businesses have been hurt terribly by the virus shutdown — our country is lawsuit crazy — you’ll get no argument from me on either. Yet, the Legislature is focusing all its attention on businesses while ignoring the hardships and health risks of workers.
If businesses get protected from lawsuits, shouldn’t workers be guaranteed they’re returning to a safe and healthy, pre-inspected environment? If workers can’t sue for negligence, shouldn’t there at least be a whistleblower mechanism in place when the employers fail to meet sanitizing safety standards? If the state’s going to protect owners, why won’t they protect workers by mandating pre-return COVID testing and additional followup testing at regular intervals — paid for by the state?
Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 infection and/or the economic shutdown. Every segment of our community has suffered — some much more than others. But if, as our political leaders frequently say, “We’re all in this together," then we need to come out of this all together. We need to help business owners, employees and customers get through this all together. We need elected representatives who understand what “all together” really means!
Those of us old enough to remember the very first Earth Day in 1970 recall a much differentenvironment. Back then, gasoline and paint still had hazardous levels of lead, Lake Erie actually caught on fire due to pollution, most American rivers were void of fish and the skies above many cities were blanketed in unbreathable smoke.
We have, indeed, come a long way since then. Hard work by scientists partnering with citizen commitment has paid dividends. Our lakes and rivers, our roadways, our skies and our lives are cleaner and healthier. At this time, however, we might want to take a cautionary look at what’s happened in the past three years to put all those gains at risk.
Since 2017, Trump has not only pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord, he has publicly, jealously and foolishly tried to humiliate Greta Thunberg — the teenage face of saving Planet Earth. While these acts have gotten a lot of attention, they are merely the tip of a very de- structive iceberg.
Here is but a short list of the environmental protections weakened by the Trump administration: Endangered Species Act, auto emission standards, coal debris and residue allowed in our waterways, levels of mercury and heavy metals emitted into the atmosphere.
A fragile environment barely making a comeback that took 50 years can be pushed to dangerous levels in the blink of an eye. If we continue on the current trajectory, four more years would be devastating! Please stay alert and engaged; together we can continue to strive to keep our Planet Earth a safe and happy home for generations to come!
The Democrats of Casa Grande will have a special 50-year anniversary of Earth Day newsletter issue available on our website; check it out: www.DemsOfCasaGrande.org.