Voting for ALEC in 2020? You are if you vote for LD11’s Vince Leach or Mark Finchem. Both are members of ALEC (American Legislative Executive Council). ALEC is an unelected, private organization that connects our elected legislators with corporate operatives to write corporate-directed laws for our state. ALEC uses elected state legislators to advance its political agenda without full transparency or public accountability. This poses a danger to our democracy.
ALEC promotes dark money, voter suppression, privatization of public schools and prisons and public lands, state preemption of local government, opposition to unions, opposition to the minimum wage, opposition to citizen initiatives and referendums, opposition to the Affordable Care Act, opposition to federal relief for states and cities during the pandemic and much more. Leach and Finchem are on board with ALEC’s agenda since as members they promote and oppose the same things.
Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. Check your legislators’ records. Learn more about the danger of ALEC to our democracy online at the Center for Media and Democracy and click on ALEC Exposed and Source Watch. Click on the YouTube video of ALEC’s co-founder Paul Weyrich advocating voter suppression and read the book "State Capture" by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez. Protect our democracy. Stop ALEC in Arizona by not reelecting ALEC members Leach and Finchem.
It is time to elect new representatives to speak for “We the People.” Vote for Democratic legislative candidates who will be directed by Arizona citizens, not by a private out-of-state organization supported by corporate funding that peddles a corporate and far-right agenda. Vote for Democrats JoAnna Mendoza for Senate and Dr. Felipe Perez, M.D., for the House. Check out their websites at mendoza4Arizona.com and perez4Arizona.com.
In my letter (Progressives for people; Dispatch, Aug. 15-16) I noted that “Progressives — regardless of party — promote the advancement of human rights and human dignity.” I wrote “regardless of party” because each party has at different times in our history been a vital force behind forward-moving, people-centered, progressive national policy. In her response, Ms. Rodriguez overlooked this essential point.
A political party regresses when power for the party becomes more important than sound policy for the country. That is the Republican Party today. Its regressive and authoritarian policies and insensitivity to racial justice, promoted by Donald Trump, are undermining American norms, values, institutions and the very idea of a government of, by and for the people.
The Republican Party was a progressive force against slavery during President Lincoln’s time. We can thank Republicans for the establishment of the 13th and 14th Amendments. Republicans supported woman’s suffrage for decades until the 19th Amendment passed in 1919 and was ratified in 1920. That Republican Party is long gone. It sold its soul to the oligarchic aristocracy of corporate interests and the super wealthy.
The progressive torch passed to the Democratic Party with the New Deal in 1933. It was Democrats who gave us Social Security and Medicare, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act and support of the LGBTQ and environmental movements.
If elected in 2020, Democrats will continue the fight to establish racial justice and to move the ERA forward. Today it is the Democratic Party that promotes the ideas of human rights and human dignity enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and offers the best hope for the future of our planet, our country and Ms. Rodriguez.
To progress is to go forward. To regress is to go backward. The opposite of progressive is not conservative — it is regressive. The term “conservative” distinguishes politically regressive Americans from politically “progressive” Americans. Forward-looking progressives preserve democracy. Conservatives look backward to conserve aristocracy and oligarchy. The United States of America is a forward-looking nation. The backward-looking will always be on the wrong side of our history.
What do conservatives conserve? They conserve the wealth and position of the politico-religious aristocracy — just like it was in the old days before that reality was rejected by the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. They conserve the authority of wealthy men in power who claim a divine mandate for dominion over the Earth and all its creatures. They conserve the ability of men of wealth and position to decide who in this country should be fettered and who should be free. The archaic, aristocratic and privileged order is, at bottom, what conservatives conserve.
Progressives continually strive for a future where all can be free of that old order. Progress for them means fully realizing the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. It is a promise of freedom and justice for all people, protected by a government whose very existence depends on the consent of the people. The abolition of slavery, the 14th Amendment, Woman’s Suffrage, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the LGBTQ movement and the environmental movement are a few examples of major progressive actions that moved and are moving democracy and the people of our country forward. Progressives — regardless of party — promote the advancement of human rights and human dignity secured by a government of, by and for the people.
With Donald Trump running for a second term, interest is high for the 2020 general election. High turnout is likely across the entire partisan spectrum. While national issues grab our attention, voting for Arizona state offices in both the primary and the general election is just as important.
Consider: Do we want state legislators who pander to big money and the interests of corporations or do we want public servants who focus on the needs of families and children and the hardworking constituents who elected them? Will it take teachers striking in the streets again to make a difference in public education funding for Arizona, or is it time to elect to both legislative chambers Democratic majorities who will support public education as a common good, making future teacher strikes unnecessary. At stake is how “We the people” will be served by those elected to represent “We the people” at the state level.
The LD11 state Senate race has far-right-wing Republican career politician and incumbent Vince Leach opposing one of two very capable Democrats who are running for the first time. Both are women with careers of service to their country and their communities. Which of these women will face Leach in the general election depends on which one is victorious in the important LD11 Democratic primary election.
The Clean Elections “Voter Education Guide” provides information about both LD11 Democratic primary candidates. Read it and check them out online. (JoAnna Mendoza, www.mendoza4arizona.com) (Linda Patterson, lindapatterson4azstatesenate2020.com).
Vote in the primary election and the general election, keeping in mind the importance of the state Legislature and state offices. Remember, 2020 is not just about the president.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has asked senior federal judges to retire early so that the U.S. Senate might install more and younger “right of center” judges, thus securing for Republicans a “right of center” judiciary for decades into the future. As with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to consider moderate Judge Garland for the Supreme Court during the Obama administration, this is further proof — if any is needed — that Republicans support party over country. It is Republican political power these senators and the Republican Senate majority are after at the expense of every American’s right to an independent judiciary.
America is not well served by a judiciary that is either right of center or left of center. Our judges should be politically neutral and independent. That is the ideal Americans expect and our lawmakers should be seeking. The promise over the front entrance to the Supreme Court is: “Equal Justice Under Law.” Over the back entrance it is “Justice, the Guardian of Liberty.”
These promises of justice, equality and liberty cannot be realized when every effort is made by the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to blatantly secure a “right of center” judiciary. The more politicized our courts and justice system become, the less respect Americans will have for law, the judiciary and senators who undermine our ideals and our government to serve the interests of their own political part