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On November 3rd, Choose Our Future

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- By Carl J. Petersen and Cindy Petersen

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On November 3rd, Americans will go to the polls and choose our leadership for the next four years. The outcome of this election will determine your future and that of democracy in the United States. That this statement sounds like hyperbole is a sad testimony of the times in which we find ourselves in. One need only look at the history of the last four years to see how true it is.
How the American people vote in November will affect...

  • How many more people will be sickened and die as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Whether our country will finally take the steps necessary to mitigate the man-made causes of climate change.
  • Whether access to quality health care will continue to depend on financial status and if you have preexisting conditions.
  • The continued ability of all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy by voting.
  • Whether Social Security is funded for current and future retirees.
  • How the government aids the unemployed and revitalizes our struggling economy.
  • The status of the minimum wage, including the rate for tipped workers.
  • Whether our children will continue to have access to public education.

The Pandemic

Our federal government must get control of the spread of COVID-19 in order to limit the number of deaths and to allow American businesses to safely reopen. Scientists throughout the world have been perfectly clear about what we need to do to rise to this challenge, telling us that it is mainly spread from person to person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The science has been clear that not all those infected will be symptomatic. This means that wearing a face mask and keeping our distance will protect those around us.

With four percent of the world's population, we have more than 20 percent of the deaths. We have more deaths than any other country. Obviously, we are doing something wrong. Other countries deal with the ebb and flow of the disease without sacrificing their citizens and without having to destroy their economies. In comparison, our president politicized mask-wearing and ridiculed those who followed the medical experts' advice.

It is clear that we need leaders at the federal level who will listen to scientists and chart a new path. Only by doing this can we finally reopen the economy and begin the recovery that our country so desperately needs.

Climate Change

We are witnessing more frequent and more powerful hurricanes, worsening droughts, devastating wildfires, and flooding caused by rising waters as the arctic ice melts. This is directly attributable to the fact that carbon dioxide levels are higher today than at any point in at least 800,000 years. The heat from the sun that is trapped on the Earth by the carbon dioxide warms the oceans, land, and air. The cumulative effect is to raise the planet's temperature.

In 2015, with the Paris Agreement, the world united to attack climate change and its negative impacts, with only Iran and Turkey refusing to join the community of nations. The agreement includes voluntary, nationally determined commitments from all major emitting countries (except Iran and Turkey) to cut their climate-altering emissions. Although the United States is currently the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, producing roughly 15 percent of global annual carbon dioxide emissions, the Trump administration has announced to the United Nations that we will withdraw from this agreement on November 4, 2020.

While at least 97 percent of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing due to mankind's activities, most Republican politicians ignore the facts and refuse to take the actions needed to change course. Science cannot be denied. If we do not change our country's leadership, the world will become significantly less habitable because of food and water shortages and the rising sea waters. Our children's lives will be affected in ways that we cannot imagine.

Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was enacted in 2010, protecting Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, allowing children to stay on their parent's policies until they turned 26, and eliminating lifetime caps on medical coverage. As a result, nearly 20 million Americans were able to gain access to insurance coverage before Barack Obama had left office.
Despite the obvious benefits of Obamacare, Republicans have tried to repeal it on at least 70 different occasions. While they have been unsuccessful at removing these protections from Americans, they have been able to chip away at the effectiveness of the law. This includes eliminating the individual mandate, which penalized those who could afford insurance but did not maintain basic health insurance coverage.

Unable to kill Obamacare legislatively, the Republicans have turned to the courts, where they have been mostly unsuccessful. The Justice Department has now joined a lawsuit that asks the court to declare the entire law invalid because the individual mandate was eliminated. The case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court which will hear arguments on November 10th of this year.

If the Court overturns the law, the effect will be devastating for the American people. Ending Obamacare will mean that, once again, insurance companies will be allowed to either raise premiums on or refuse to insure those with preexisting medical conditions. Children under 26 will no longer be required to be covered under their parent's health insurance policies. Small businesses will no longer receive tax credits for insuring employees. Many of the working poor whose income is under federal poverty levels will no longer be able to get insurance through Medicaid.

Under the current administration, millions of Americans have already lost their health insurance coverage. Unless there is a change in leadership, the situation will only get worse.

Voting Rights

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)
 

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