Discord & Dissension — Part VIII — On The Issues

Let’s talk a little bit about voters and issues.  While we could categorize voters in numerous different ways, there are basically two kinds of voters:  those who vote based on issues, and those who vote based on personality.

It was often said that the biggest reason John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election was his charisma.  I was nine years old at the time, and I certainly found him charming … I loved listening to him speak (my family didn’t have television yet in 1960, so I rarely saw him)!  And that’s fine for a nine-year-old child, but by the time one reaches voting age, one really ought to be considering what the candidate stands for rather than what he or she looks like, or how they speak.  I also heard it said in 2016 that part of Trump’s success was a result of his charisma, but I have a hard time with that, for he isn’t nice to look at, and his speech is filled with vitriol, so … where’s the charisma?

At any rate, there’s little to be said about those who would vote based on the candidate’s personality, so let’s instead start talking about issues.  Jeff and I have debated whether it is too soon to start to delve into the issues and the candidates’ views/platforms/ideologies, but after some thought, we’ve decided that with the primaries already in full swing, and Super Tuesday right around the corner, the time seems to be ripe.  Next Tuesday, March 3rd, fourteen states and one U.S. territory will hold nominating contests to award a total of 1,357 delegates, or 34% of all delegates nationwide.  If you are eligible to vote in the primary or caucus for your state, you will soon need to make a choice between the remaining candidates.  So … what issues are most important to you?

The majority of voters are most concerned with the issues that most directly impact them and their everyday lives, such as healthcare, or if they have children, education.  The economy and jobs naturally impact everyone.  In 2016, Donald Trump was able to form a large enough base by creating a fear on an issue that, until then, was largely a non-issue to most people:  immigration.  He made it personal … he told people that immigrants were mostly all bad people – terrorists, murderers and rapists.  And even the good ones, he said, were taking your jobs!  He created a fear, then proposed a solution:  a wall and a travel ban.  It was largely hyperbole, but people bought it.

All of which points up the fact that sometimes people listen to one view or another without fully understanding the issues or their candidates’ stance on them.  The more information you have, the better able you will be to make informed, wise decisions.

For today, I just want to give a bit of information about each of the major issues, and then in two weeks, I will begin to address each of the candidates’ views on the issues, so you can see which nearly match your own viewpoint.  At the end of this post, there is a poll that I hope you’ll take a minute to check which issues matter most to you, as a voter.

The Issues:


The abortion issue is among the most polarizing in the nation.  Pro-life vs Pro-Choice.  The question of whether certain groups have the right to force their will on women, or whether women have autonomy over their own bodies.

Civil Rights

This covers a myriad of sub-issues involving equality for all in the areas of housing, education and employment for minorities, religious groups, the LGBTQ community, and women.  It is another highly polarizing issue, as certain groups attempt to claim that the rights of the LGBTQ community are in direct contrast with their own rights.


The economy is about more than just jobs and the stock market.  It is also about things like wage levels and inflation.  Trump claims bragging rights for the stable economy, but in reality he inherited a growing economy and, as we’ve seen over the past week, it is not built on a very solid foundation.  The federal minimum wage has not been raised in more than ten years, while the cost of living has risen each year.


The quality of education in the U.S. has been declining in recent years, as schools are increasingly focused on preparing students for a career more than teaching them to think for themselves, to use their imaginations, to create.  College has become cost-prohibitive and students leave after four years with a mountain of debt that will take them decades to repay.

Election Reform and Security

A number of Supreme Court decisions over the past years have corrupted our elections.  McCutcheon v FEC, Citizens United v FEC, and a number of others involving campaign finance have opened the door to large corporations and lobbying groups literally buying a candidate.  There is also the issue of election security.  It is a proven fact that the Russians interfered in our 2016 election, and our own intelligence community has given us warning that the same is happening again this year.  The House of Representatives has passed bills to restore the security of our elections, but the Senate has thus far refused to bring them to the floor.

Energy/Environment/Climate Change

This may arguably be the single most important issue nationwide today, though many seem oblivious.  Trump has rolled back so many environmental regulations that this nation remains the single largest emitter of CO2 per capita in the world!  The U.S. is also the only nation on the globe that is not part of the Paris Climate Accords and that is not doing virtually anything, as a nation, to protect the environment, endangered species, etc.

Foreign Policy

While ‘globalization’ has been demonized by some, it is a fact of life.  In today’s world, we must interact with other nations in many areas, not the least of which are trade and shared security.  How we treat our allies and how we react to others is critical to keeping not only our nation, but the world safe.  Understanding of world affairs is imperative at the highest levels of government.

Free Trade

Free trade agreements allow goods to cross borders without tariffs or special taxes, and are a key element in keeping the cost of consumer goods low.  It should be a win-win for all parties involved, but in recent years, the U.S. has made it a competitive game, which hurts everyone in the long run.

Government reform

Unhappy with the way the government is being run?  This largely ties into campaign finance reform, for much of the problem with our government today is that rather than representing all the people, they often seem to represent only the wealthy, leaving the other 99.9% of us out in the cold.  In addition, the leaders of both the House and Senate seem to have entirely too much power, coercing our elected officials to do things their way, rather than to follow their conscience.

Gun Control

This is one of the biggest issues in the U.S.  The vast majority of people, including gun owners, are for sensible gun legislation, such as expanded background checks, waiting periods, and even an assault weapons ban.  But, due to the power and influence the NRA has over our politicians, nothing is being done, and more and more people die from guns every single day in this country.

Health Care

I can’t even begin to summarize this one.  ACA, the Affordable Care Act that was initiated during the Obama administration, ensured that everyone would have access to basic healthcare, regardless of income level or pre-existing conditions.  Much of that has been gutted and there are now some 20 million people in this country with no health care insurance.  Meanwhile, the Pharma industry, doctors, labs, and others are charging exorbitant fees.  A nation that cannot or chooses not to take care of its people … all its people … has a government that is deficient.


Immigration reform is one of those things like the weather … everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.  In the last three years we have seen all the wrong things done:  children separated from their parents and put in cages; billions of dollars wasted building a ridiculous wall that can be sawed through and falls down on a windy day; highly discriminatory travel bans.  Young people who were brought to this country as babies by their immigrant parents are in danger of being deported, even though many are contributing to the economic and social well-being of our nation.


Roads and highways, water systems, electric grids, bridges, public transportation all fall under the heading of infrastructure.  All need upgrading and continual maintenance, but we have fallen far behind.  Remember Flint, Michigan and their water crisis?  Well, guess what?  It is still not resolved, there is still lead in the drinking water, and the latest is that rather than replace the system, the EPA is proposing rule changes that would change the way testing is done for lead and copper in water supplies.

Tax Reform

The tax structure at present puts more of the burden on the working class than on the wealthy.  Wealthy individuals and corporations pay a far lower percentage in taxes than the average worker, some companies paying not one single dime, and some even getting refunds.  Meanwhile, the national debt is out of control and the government has plans to further cut the very programs that the people of this nation rely on.


A number of things fall under this broad umbrella, some of which affect us all, such as online privacy, broadband, social media, wireless communication, and more.  Perhaps the most important to most of us is internet security, that took a big hit when net neutrality was repealed in 2018.

Welfare & Poverty

This is one that many people don’t think about … until they themselves are in need.  The official poverty rate in the U.S. is 12.3%.  Think about that one for a minute … one in every eight people in this nation live in poverty, and it is estimated that there are more than a half-million homeless people in the nation.  Yet, Trump proposes cutting the very programs that help these people!

Well, there you have the issues and a brief summation of each.  There are more, but I’ve already exceeded the length Jeff and I agreed on, and taken up too much of your time.  In coming weeks, I will be writing expanding on these issues and giving you the views of the most viable candidates.  So that we can focus on the issues that are most important to you, we ask that you take just a minute to check off the three issues that are most important to you in the short poll below.

Note:  Even though the poll will show only the last answer you ticked, it is recording all three.  I apologize, for I know it is confusing, but I cannot seem to find a way to leave all choices marked.  

Table of Contents (links to past posts in this series)

57 thoughts on “Discord & Dissension — Part VIII — On The Issues

  1. Pingback: Discord & Dissension — Table of Contents | Filosofa's Word

  2. I always find it interesting that the one issue that probably has the least effect on the country at large, is abortion. Climate change, corruption, racism, runaway hatred, poor education, wealth inequality to name a few, have a much more long term and wide effect on our very existence than a women’s right to chose.

    I also find it ironic that very often, people that are anti abortion are also in favor of capital punishment, which is intentional killing.
    I also find it ironic that often people that are very pro military, don’t view the killing of an enemy, which is nothing more than someone just like you, but is fighting for the other side, as a problem of intentional killing.
    Not to mention the tens of thousands of animals that are intentionally killed everyday for food, sport or simple cruelty.
    So let’s not be so high and mighty in our anti abortion professing and put it in proper perspective. We chose to have an abortion, we chose to join and army and kill others, we chose to hunt and kill animals and not too long ago, we have chosen to kill others simply for being the wrong race, color or religion. Man is a killing machine.

    Liked by 4 people

    • THANK YOU, Mary!!!! You have said exactly what I think. First, it is likely the least important issue, yet the most divisive. Second, it is a woman’s choice. And third … how can people claim to be “Pro-Life” when they are for capital punishment, and when they don’t wish their tax dollars to be spent to help care for that baby after its born. Your words are spot on! Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jeff, Greg, and Jill have been gracious to me, so I’m hesitant to weigh in on the topic that raised much of the discussion above–abortion. I trust, however, that the previously given grace will continue as I agree with Dylan. I, too, see abortion as voluntary killing of the unborn. With that being said, however, while abortion is probably the most divisive issue among voters, after elections it’s generally overlooked, regardless of which party wins. Republican lawmakers who claim to be pro-life generally lack the fortitude to take a stand against the 79 percent of voters who want government to stay out of abortion decisions. That’s why I’ve chosen to look beyond that one issue; it’s a non-starter. Meanwhile, most of my fellow evangelicals continue to futilely cling to Republican politicians’ never-fulfilled promises to end abortion.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Jerry! You are always welcome to express your opinion here, for sure. I won’t always agree with you, but I do believe in civil discourse and that two people can disagree without vitriol or anger. Abortion, in my book, really should not be one of the deciding issues in an election, but … in the 2016 election it became one … not only an issue, but for many it was THE issue, the deciding factor. Sigh. Now, I will give you my thoughts on the topic. It is a very difficult and personal decision for a woman. I know a few women who have had abortions, and it was a devastating one. There are a variety of reasons that women find themselves faced with that decision, but I won’t go into them all here. Suffice it to say … it is the woman’s choice, in my view. We are not talking about killing a baby that is already born … we are talking about aborting a foetus that may or may not become a baby. But either way … it should not be the decision of government or of men. Now, I respect that you don’t believe in abortion, and I would never force you or anybody else to have one. It’s the same position I take on same-sex marriage … if you don’t believe in it, fine … don’t do it. But, by the same token, don’t force your values on others. It’s really simple … live and let live. I am not a Christian, so the values of Christians are not necessarily my own. I respect that others have those values, and I don’t try to force my views on them, but I expect the same in return. Fair enough?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for that freedom, Jill. On this fractious issue, neither of us is likely to convert the other. But I always appreciate the opportunity to discuss and disagree agreeably. My primary point here is that, for decades now, my fellow evangelicals have been taken for granted by the Republican Party, who repeatedly indicates–and sometimes even promises–to end abortion. But it never happens–and it will not happen. But most evangelicals continue to vote based almost entirely on this one issue. So the Republican Party continues to dangle that elusive-and-never-to-be-fulfilled promise before them, and they continually fall for it. Hence they are perfectly willing to support the most deplorable, unchristian man ever to occupy the White House.

        Liked by 2 people

        • No, we won’t change each other’s mind, nor is there a need to. I’ve always believed we are richer for having friends with different viewpoints. And you’re right … the republican politicians do use the issue of abortion as a ‘carrot-and-stick’, without following through. But, in reality, they are unlikely to be able to follow through even if they tried, because it is such a divisive issue. I know that for many of the evangelicals, it was the ONLY issue that mattered to them. A rather narrow world view, but so be it. I’m so glad you’ve joined up with Jeff & Greg! Los Tres Amigos!

          Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for being civil Jerry. Many in the community that you’ve been a member of for so many years, are not. That tells me a lot. I will say this, however. The Supreme Court, as it’s presently constructed, just might provide the all important vote to end abortion. In other words, ending Roe v Wade. And I think you and I will agree that this is probably THE main reason evangelicals stick with Trump. He gave them the judges the’ve been craving for years. And not just the Supreme Court. Up and down the board, McConnell/Trump is giving them what they want. I don’t think we can underestimate that. Thus, putting up with his lying…insulting..crapping on the Constitution..is worth it for these folks. Because, it’s the ONLY issue they care about. Am I wrong?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hey, Jeff. I don’t think you’re wrong about abortion being the only issue they care about–or at least at the very top of their list. But despite Trump packing the courts with conservative judges, I don’t see Roe being overturned, not while 79 percent of the country does not want the government involved in such decisions.
        Again, I’d be happy to see it overturned, but I’ve given up on that hope. And I will not follow that futile hope into a Trumpocracy.

        Liked by 5 people

        • Good on you Jerry. I certainly respect your opinion on this. It’s such a hyperbolic topic, and so very hard to have a reasonable conversation. Thanks for that.

          Liked by 2 people

        • One thing to consider is that if we made family planning and birth control available to all, there would be very little need for abortion services. Instead, some of the same groups who oppose abortion, also oppose birth control and want to put organizations like Planned Parenthood who counsel young women in areas of family planning, birth control, and women’s health, out of business. They cannot have their cake and eat it too … help teenage girls understand how to protect themselves, make birth control easily and cheaply available, and you’ll cut the number of abortions down to nearly zero.


          • That sounds like common sense, Jill. However, there are places where such services are available, along with education, sometimes facing opposition from religious extremists (not only Christians!). And it has not ended the demand for abortion services in those places. People can be – and frequently are – careless! Or they think “it won’t happen to me” – and then it does.

            Liked by 1 person

            • And that, my friend, is where education comes in. Sure, there will always be an ‘oops’ here and there, but if young women as young as 13 are given family planning advice, told what is truth and what is myth, given easy access to birth control (get the religions … all of them … out of this equation!), then I think abortions would be few and far between. Now, where the mother’s life is in danger, it’s a no-brainer (at least to me). Yes, people are careless and sometimes ignorant of facts … but a combination of education and birth control … will reduce the need for abortions.


  4. There are so many issues of importance here Jill.First win the election and then the other jobs can be prioritised. Rejoining the Paris Agreement will be up there but so will election reform. Healthcare, the families at your border with Mexico so disgracefully treated and that abominable wall. It’s going to be a busy few years.Oh and while I think,, since you’re never going to change the Supreme Court from a political stand I suggest you create a new level called to Most Superior Court and man it with 9 Democrat judges.
    Cwtch Mawr.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, all these issues are important, though there is one I would have left out had I known it was going to cause such a stir. Sigh. And I wish that we could choose a candidate based on how they would address these issues … that’s how it’s supposed to work. But, these are not normal times, and while I still think it’s important to know the candidates’ views on these issues, the bottom line is that we must choose whomever has the best chance at unseating Trump, for this may well be our last hope. Sigh. Your idea for the Most Superior Court is great! However, I don’t think, somehow, that it would fly. Sigh.
      Cwtch Mawr

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on On The Fence Voters and commented:
    Jill continues our project with Part VIII, a look at the myriad of issues that face our country as we ready ourselves for the 2020 election season. Removing the current president from office remains the top priority. But the challenges we face, as a democracy, and a republic, must be faced head on. Thank you Jill, for your excellent and informative piece. Vote 2020!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I see what you mean Jill. Abortion is a subject I rarely debate with anyone. With some people, you will never be able to convince them. Even when the facts are on your side. In many ways, it’s the same with guns. These two issues are some of the most, if not THE most divisive and polarizing issues in American society. Nothing gets the masses more stirred up. That said, I agree with all of your arguments. Common sense Jill. It’s so lacking, as we both know.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I really wish I had just left abortion off the list, for in my book, it shouldn’t even be a political issue. But, too late now. I don’t think I will give it much more space here, though, for there are so many more important issues that should be the basis for people’s decision. Sigh. It truly wasn’t my intent to open a can of worms. One thing that I might address though is that if we supported groups like Planned Parenthood that educate young women, and if we ensured that every woman has access to birth control, then there would be no need to even discuss abortion. But, some seem to think it is a woman’s obligation to bring unlimited numbers of children into a world that is already overpopulated. Sigh.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yes Jill, it’s a no-win situation for some. I know it wasn’t your intention. Not one bit. On the scale of what’s important in this election, it doesn’t even register with me. Well, let’s just say it’s way down the list. I’m concerned about the courts, in general. That’s what ranks high for me. And I know you agree with that.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. You said, “The question of whether certain groups have the right to force their will on women, or whether women have autonomy over their own bodies.” This is disingenuous, and more or less intentionally persuasive speech. It’s the voluntary killing of the unborn.


    • i would much less of a problem with your statement if I thought that the care for those already born was in any way something anti-abortionists cared about.

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s also the enforcing of birth on a woman who has to carry and give birth to the baby of a rapist at the expense of her mental wellbeing. It will in some cases risk the health of the mother who could die in childbirth and it is also enforcing the birth of severely malformed children who can never live a normal life and will be in institutions at the expense of the state.These are all very emotive issues and cannot be labelled murder.

      Liked by 3 people

      • @davidprosser,

        Killing at the expense of possibility is entirely wrong. Unless you can provide me with a valid answer as to why killing unborn children isn’t wrong, then your position is illogical. My position is that murder is wrong. It’s wrong to kill out of convenience, and it’s wrong to kill for the sake of possibility. You know as well as I know that most abortions are preformed as a convenience for the mother, never the child.


        • And yet this strange reason for the evangelists to argue about when a baby is actually a baby which is certainly not at conception.And their refusal to countenance any exceptions to the rule is murder itself in the case of where giving birth will endanger the woman’s life.. You’re quite right that murder is wrong but your position on what counts as murder with abortions, when a baby is formed is wrong.The woman who aborts after being raped does not commit murder unless she does so far into a pregnancy. Show a little compassion.

          Liked by 1 person

    • You are not a woman, so really, this isn’t your issue, Dylan. But … let me ask you a few questions here. Do you support capital punishment? Do you support increasing funding for such programs as food stamps, Section 8 housing assistance, Medicaid, job training, child care, etc? And, would you support a measure requiring every male over the age of 15 to have a vasectomy? If you answer ‘no’ to any of these, then you aren’t concerned about the life of a foetus that could potentially become a baby, but are merely determined to impose your will on women. You are, as I have told you before, entitled to your opinion. You are NOT entitled to force your opinion on others. I would never force you to have an abortion, but by the same token, don’t tell me I can’t.

      Liked by 3 people

      • @jilldennison,

        Capital punishment is for individuals that are a hinderance to life itself (convicted murderers, serial kills, etc..), we want them dead. Why would every male over the age of 15 need a vasectomy? This is absurd, as if somehow requiring males to get vasectomies would be in any way comparable to the state outlawing abortion??? A woman has the ability to cultivate life, men do not. That’s why It’s only sensible for a governmental force to prohibit women from obtaining abortions, to preserve possible lives.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Life is life. How many men have been proven wrongfully convicted that spent years on death row? What if they had been executed before the truth was known? An innocent life would have been snuffed out. One cannot claim to be “Pro-Life” unless one believes in the sanctity of ALL life. And to my way of thinking, that includes the lives of deer, bear, rabbits and squirrels … all those critter that human males are so fond of killing just for fun or for trophy.


          • For the purpose of clarifying terms. Humans are not the same as animals. Animals have a biological and environmental factor to their existence. Humans have biological, environmental, and spiritual components to their lives. Quick questions Jill, “does your current worldview acknowledge that human beings have intrinsic worth?”


            • Ahhhh … so you are one of those arrogant humans who thinks your life has more value than, say, a lion or tiger, or deer or rabbit? And no, I do not think that humans have ‘intrinsic’ worth … a human’s value is based on what he contributes to the world, not just by merit of him being here. And, I would argue also about the “spiritual components”. Not all humans are religious … ‘spiritual’ is a religious contrivance. Humans are, basically, only another form of animal, though with a few advantages over the rest, such as opposable thumbs. You give humans too much credit.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I didn’t know I was arrogant for believing I have more worth than a ferocious lion that, if given the chance, would probably tear me to shreds. On the other hand, us “arrogant” humans are always compassionately preserving the lives of endangered species and most other animals [besides the ones we consume 🙂 ]. Do you recognize how nihilistic this philosophy is? This notion that human beings are of equivalent value to animals and beasts? If you saw a dog and a dude drowning in the ocean, and you were given the opportunity to save one of them, which one would you save? To take your perspective to the logical extreme ; If we are of equivalent value to animals, why is it wrong for human beings to kill each other? Animals are consistently killing each other, we don’t imprison them for taking the life of their counterparts, so why is murder between humans wrong. I am sorry Jill, but your beliefs don’t line up with actuality. Our western judicial system assumes that life has value, it prosecutes human beings for crimes they committed against humanity. If one of your loved ones was ever harmed (God forbid), wouldn’t you want the malevolent individual/individuals who harmed them served proper justice?

                Back to my main point, this is why abortion is wrong. If we assume in our judicial systems and courts that human life has value, then why has our judicial system allowed over 60,000,000 million unborn children to be slaughtered since 1973? Why does a pregnant mother have more worth than the unborn within her? And if she has more worth, does that provide her with the right to kill that living being?

                Last thought…
                Jill, I couldn’t imagine living with a worldview that places my worth at that of an animals. I would probably be an extremely depressed, suicidal, narcissistic ideologue without a care in the world for anything. I assume your irreligious, since your philosophy seems to go along the lines of post modern rhetoric, but how do find motivation to live?


  7. For Trump the immigration issue was not “hyperbole”, it was an intentional stoking of racist fears. Likewise the Birtherism campaign. I think all the Democratic candidates will support a very similar platform and set of legislation that a Democratic Congress can enact. So the key (for us Californians) is again: who is most likely to beat trump?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. For me, an important consideration is whether I can trust the judgment of the candidate on issues that arise during his tenure in office.

    Note that I did not vote in your poll, as it only seemed to allow me to select 1 issue (instead of the 3, as listed).

    Liked by 2 people

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