A Libertarian for U.S. Senate

After Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in June, many Virginia conservatives considered voting for a different candidate — even the unthinkable, Tim Kaine.

Some voters think that Stewart and Kaine are the very worst part of Virginia politics. Stewart’s gaffes, questionable ties to the “alt-right” and his perpetual losing streak continue to prove time and time again that he is not suitable for office. Kaine’s failure to represent all Virginians has left voters frustrated.

So, who deserves the conservative vote? The answer is Matt Waters. Waters is a Libertarian conservatives can get behind. While the Libertarian Party has been viewed as a joke among conservative circles for some time, Waters is different. His staunch defense of the right to life has pro-lifers, such as myself, planning to vote for him next week.

Waters is strong on the Second Amendment, immigration, tax cuts and health care. His small-government economic beliefs have him more in line with former President Ronald Reagan than Stewart. He even has support among Virginians who support Trump — and I’m one of them.

While Waters’ campaign has gone unnoticed by some on the right, his candidacy provides a perfect alternative to voting for the cringe-worthy Stewart or betraying conservative principles to vote for the Clinton crony, Kaine.

Until the GOP starts nominating suitable candidates for statewide office, I’ll be voting for the Libertarian candidate.

AUTUMN JOHNSON

Lynchburg

Checks and balances needed

Nov. 6, 2018, a date that will influence the future of our world, and we have a voice in our future. Our voice is our vote.

I won’t tell you how to vote, but I will tell you why I am voting the way I do. Simply put, because I cherish our republic, and I want to know that the land of ideals will continue to live and be the home of the brave, the land of the free, that provides a government that allows for liberty and justice for all … whatever our race, creed, color or sexual preference. I know, and I hope you also know, that our people, our country, our government and our president are not perfect, and it is up to us, the people, to keep it straight and honest, by doing our part. Our part is not only voting, paying taxes and serving our country through various contributions of our time and talent. Our responsibility is to be truthful with ourselves and our fellow man as a nation existing on lies will not be trusted or allowed to exist very long as it will self-destruct. I am asking you to vote for a congressman or woman, who will vote to legally remove our current president, Donald Trump, from the office. My main reason is trust: Trump has proven himself to be an habitual liar, even though he will occasionally say his lies are hyperbole, as an excuse, and that too is a lie.

Would you deal with a business of any description, if you knew they would lie to you? Do you want your children to associate with people who lie? Will you bank with a liar? The list goes on, and you have a choice! Do you want our country’s president to continue to be a liar or will you have the intelligence and courage to vote and change the office holder to a qualified truthful citizen? Our government has been established with a system of checks and balances. Your vote is a vital part of our freedom. Use it wisely.

MEL PARKER

Lynchburg

Direction of America is at stake

Let’s dispense with the notion that there are not distinct differences in our nation’s two major political parties. In fact, there are clear, bright lines that distinguish one party from the other, and these differences are highly consequential in the lives of America’s citizens.

Let’s examine a few.

Highest on the list is the issue of health care. The Republican Party has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more than 60 times since its passage into law in 2010 and has proposed no viable alternative during the eight-year period since its passage. When asked at a recent local political outing what alternatives the Republicans had to offer, Sixth District Republican candidate Ben Cline’s response was that “market forces” would provide the solution. Folks, that’s not the solution; that’s what created the problems we had prior to passage of the ACA. The Democratic Party supports affordable health care as a human right, as do the rest of the world’s democracies. Our Fifth and Sixth congressional district candidates strongly support Medicare and are for maintaining the protections provided by the ACA for the millions of our citizens that have existing conditions.

Running a close second is the issue of Social Security. Republicans rammed a tax bill through a Republican-majority Congress, a bill that has shown itself to be hugely beneficial to corporations and the so-called 1 percent and is now projected to significantly increase our budget deficits (it’s not paying for itself, as they’ve claimed). With the resulting soaring deficit now comes the claim by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan that our “out-of-control” social safety net programs must be reined in. The Republican president promised while campaigning to protect this critical program upon which millions of our citizens depend; he’s now developed a case of amnesia and is poised — pen-in-hand — to sign any bill the Republican Congress lays on his desk. Democrats, on the other hand, realize the impact and reliance of our citizens on this critical life-sustaining program. Further, Democrats understand both the obligation this program represents, and the fact that Social Security is not entitlement programs (nor is Medicare); rather that it is a program that folks have paid into all their working lives. Further still, Democrats understand that Social Security is not a program that should be subjected to private investment alternatives, as proposed by the Republicans. Democrats seek ways to protect and enhance Social Security (as well as Medicare and Medicaid), as has been done by previous administrations.

A third issue on which I will elaborate is that of the closely related issues of renewable energy development and protection of our environment. Republicans have made it very clear that environmental concerns have zero priority with the Republican president calling the whole issue a “hoax.” This administration’s cabinet head’s primary focus has been on the elimination of environmental regulations that protect our air and water, instead favoring corporate profits over human concerns. Their answer to this nation’s energy needs is to extract and burn the last drop of fossil fuel, again favoring corporate profits over the livability of our planet. Democrats support the overwhelming consensus of our environmental scientific community that man is negatively impacting our climate and believe that there are proactive, productive and job-creating steps that can be taken to reverse the destructive and disturbing climate trends we are all observing and/or personally experiencing.

These are key issues where there are clear differences in belief and policies between Democrats and Republicans. And these three alone, while hugely impactful, merely scratch the surface. The full list of issues, to name but a few, include, corporate/PAC money in our government, public education, voter suppression, immigration, international relations/alliances, firearm regulation, our nation’s infrastructure ... , and so many more. Staunch Republicans appear to believe their approach to addressing these issues is spot on. Many of us — a majority by many polls — are deeply concerned by the direction our Republican-dominated government is taking us.

We have the opportunity on Tuesday to begin to rein in a government operating without our Constitution’s intent of a government operating with active checks and balances. To allow this government to continue down the paths they have told us they will take — they’re not even disguising it anymore, and we’ve watched them in action — is unthinkable.

Vote for our Democratic candidates for Congress: Leslie Cockburn (Fifth), Jennifer Lewis (Sixth) and Tim Kaine to a second term in the Senate. Our democracy is at stake in this election.

ERIC WIBBENS

Goode

America, turn back from the abyss

Our president is sending the army to the Mexican border to protect us all from a bunch of poor bedraggled women and children trying to find a better life. He is obviously terrified of them and wants us all to be, too. I’ll bet he wishes he could machine gun them all down like his new best friend Kim Jong Un might do.

But who is actually terrorizing us all right now? It’s angry, bigoted, all-American white men. You know, President Trump’s core supporters who absorb the hatred he spews against anyone browner than he is and now feel empowered to act against them. So they do. Now his party members are all trying to claim that his words didn’t encourage this murderous behavior, that his words don’t matter. Do they think we’re all that stupid? If his words really don’t matter, then how did he become president? Why would he tweet so much if his words have no meaning? Of course his words matter, his words not his qualifications convinced just enough people to vote for him.

He is now running our country like a reality TV show where conflict equals ratings. He keeps lying and riling people up because it keeps him front and center as the most important person around. That is his true goal in life, not the good of the nation. I’m sure he would just as soon see the country die for him.

If you don’t like the way this country is headed, vote for the Democrats. Trump has destroyed whatever decency the Republican Party ever had. The Democrats believe we are all here together, and if we don’t figure out how to work together we will all go down. The Republican Party believes in every man for himself and if you can’t make it, you’re free to die in the street. They don’t care if you have health care, and they don’t care if your children can get a good education. They care about staying in power and making themselves and their donors richer.

Vote Democratic and save our nation.

JIM TODD

Pamplin

The best choices on Nov. 6

Virginia is indeed fortunate to have six progressive women running for Congress in the Nov. 6 election. Two of those women are running in Lynchburg-area districts: the Fifth District which runs from north of Charlottesville to Danville, and the Sixth District which runs through the Shenandoah Valley to Smith Mountain Lake, both of which run through Lynchburg.

In the majority of Lynchburg city, Sixth District candidate Jennifer Lewis will be on the ballot to win the congressional seat of “no-show” Bob Goodlatte. Lewis will be a congresswoman whose campaign has proven that she will show up, and she will listen to her constituents. How refreshing!

Her spirited appearance at the Lynchburg Business Alliance debate last month proved that she has the grit, knowledge and determination to serve the people of our district, as opposed to her opponent who has spent eight terms in Richmond in the House of Delegates with little to show for it!

Lewis, a mental health worker who lives with her husband in Waynesboro, grew up on a Virginia farm and knows what it takes for hard-working Virginians to thrive. Expanded and improved Medicare, an assault weapons ban, clean energy jobs and a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy are just a few of the progressive priorities she will advance in Congress.

Similarly, Leslie Cockburn, the Fifth District congressional candidate from Charlottesville, will take a progressive agenda to Washington. She and Lewis will make a great team to represent the working people of Central Virginia.

Neither of these well-qualified women can win a seat in Congress if you don’t vote! Please don’t miss this opportunity Tuesday. Don’t have a ride to the polls? GLTC buses will be running all day free of charge. Get on the bus and go to your polling place to vote for Lewis in the Sixth District or Cockburn in the Fifth. You will be so happy you did.

PEGGY WHITAKER

Lynchburg

Editor’s note: The writer is former chairwoman of ROSEL’s List, an organization named in honor of the late Rosel Schewel and dedicated to supporting women in elected office.

Lewis in the Sixth District

All Sixth District residents, please vote Nov. 6. Even if you don’t think your vote is needed or if you don’t think your vote will matter, it does. At best, the candidate you vote for will represent you. At the least, the losing candidate will be encouraged to run again in the future.

Residents, learn all you can about Jennifer Lewis in her own words on your computer. If you are not passionately in favor of her opposing candidate, take time to read her website. Just search for “Jennifer Lewis For Congress.” Outstanding in her favor is her pledge to reject any special-interest money from businesses. In this way, she will not be obliged to help their interests. Lewis’ website has convinced me that she has the credentials for public office and the determination to represent us well.

Also at her website you will learn that retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s son, Bob Jr., has given Lewis his strongest support. This includes his gift of the largest private donation allowed by law. And he is happy to tell you why.

Lewis needs our vote and our encouragement on Tuesday at your polling site, 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. She’ll have my vote.

SUE HAHN

Lynchburg

GOP has lost its principles

What was once the Republican Party is now the Trump Party, and whether we as a people are going to allow that to become the future is the single most important issue of this election.

The GOP has, over the span of three years, abandoned every value and principle it once professed. Whether Republicans ever truly held those values is debatable, but for the sake of argument let’s assume they did.

Once they were the party of personal responsibility. No longer. Now they cannot even acknowledge that the words of their leader, the person with the largest megaphone in the world and a fanatical following, could possibly influence any of those followers. Eleven Americans were massacred while worshipping. Ten prominent Democrats were mailed letter bombs. Did Trump’s language in any way contribute? Of course not!

At one time, those in the Republican Party denounced tyrants and dictators and supported our long-time allies. Now they dutifully follow their false idol in embracing the dictators of the world, while insulting our traditional allies.

Remember fiscal responsibility? That used to be a value. What was once a bedrock principle of the right is now kept in reserve, to be brought out and dusted off when convenient. When the opportunity arose for a massive tax giveaway to the biggest donors to the Republican Party — the obscenely rich and the big corporations — those deficits didn’t seem to matter. But now that they’ve paid off their donors, they seem to have rediscovered the deficit. “Oh my God,” they cry, hair afire. “Look at the deficit! We have to cut social spending!” Should this sound like mere speculation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already announced that cutting social programs will be their first priority after the election. Our Medicare. Our Social Security. Our Medicaid. Our earned benefits. All are on the chopping block.

Once Republicans believed that corruption was bad, but now corruption has become one of the defining features of this administration. The GOP response? Cowardly silence. The corruption is rampant, it is blatant, and sadly, it’s become so expected that it barely rates a mention anymore. It’s certainly not normal, and though it still appalls, it no longer surprises. So much for that promise of draining the swamp.

Two years ago, Republicans said the character of our elected officials mattered a great deal. Now, not so much.

The GOP once believed in law and order, but refuse to hold a lawless president accountable, and rammed through the most partisan of judges to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court to guarantee that Trump won’t be held accountable.

The sins of Trumpism are endless. Nazis in the streets; toddlers in cages; an administration helping to cover up the murder and dismemberment of a journalist; using a phrase, “the enemy of the people,” coined by Joseph Stalin, to attack an institution that the framers of the constitution thought so critical to democracy that it was, along with freedom of religion, the very first right guaranteed.

In a nutshell, the GOP is simply not a responsible party anymore. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt, and show no indication of wanting to reform themselves. The only way they’ll change is to suffer devastating electoral losses. If we are to ever have a functional political system again, the Trump Party must be burned to the ground so that a sane party might possibly be built from the ashes. Voting for the Democrats in this election does not make you liberal, pro-choice or even a temporary Democrat. It does, however, make you a responsible citizen.

TOM ROWDEN

Bedford

How would Jesus respond?

More than 2,000 years ago, Romans ruled by force while a small band of dreamers sought peace through justice for all.

Today, we see hundreds of Hondurans leaving their country because of the repressive and life-threatening social injustice there and hoping to enter the United States where we promise justice for all. How should we respond? Send the military to the border to keep them out? What would Jesus do?

JOY BASHORE

Forest

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