Fifteen questions to ask candidates before you vote

Ken Wolf
Ken Wolf
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The second or third “most important election” in our history will soon be upon us. Both parties have been preparing — the Republicans over the past year and a half by passing laws designed to discourage minority, black, poor, and people of color from voting, since they usually vote Democratic.

The Democrats, who are less unified and take longer to make decisions, only this year passed some remarkably measures to rebuild America, protect against climate change, and bring computer chip production back to America.

As we contemplate possible results of this mid-term election, I invite you to consider the following questions suggested by Bruce Maples — a fellow Democrat, political pundit, and friend, and the creator and editor of an important political website in Louisville named Forward Kentucky — and by a long-time friend of mine, Greg Cusack, a high school and college classmate and former Iowa State Representative now living in Portland, OR.

Questions about taxes

  • Should taxes be relatively “flat” — that is, every person pays the same proportion — or should they be “progressive,” in which case those who make more should pay more in taxes?
  • Should individuals making more than $400,000 per year pay a higher tax rate?
  • Should public tax dollars be diverted from public schools to private schools?

Questions about public / personal safety

  • What is the greater threat to your safety and that of your family – someone calling for effective gun control laws, or someone carrying an AR-15 type weapon in public?
  • Should the government force a 12-year-old rape victim to carry her pregnancy to term?
  • If a teen-ager identifies as gay, should the government, including the public schools, punish them for being gay?
  • If the data shows that blacks in a community are arrested and imprisoned at a higher rate than whites, even though both commit the same crimes at the same rate, what should be done?
  • If a company is polluting drinking water so that it cannot be consumed safely, should the government stop them from doing that?

Question about politicians and pundits

  • Which sources of alleged “news” should be believed – those written and edited by accredited journalists pledged to a code of ethics, or those written by persons whose agenda is set by ideological think-tanks or billionaires?
  • Who should guide what is taught in public schools: educators or politicians?
  • Is Joe Biden the legitimately elected president of the United States?
  • Should state legislatures have the power to throw out the results of presidential elections in their state, and choose the winner themselves?
  • If Donald Trump had top secret documents in his desk at Mar-a-Lago, should he be punished? And what should the punishment be?
  • Should any religion have control over the government?
  • Who should be trusted and believed: people who observe the law or people who break it?

These questions all have arisen as a result of events and behavior that have been widely discussed and debated recently as a result of court decisions and laws passed or proposed in America recently.

Whether you are a registered Republican, Democrat, or Independent, your answers to these fifteen questions before you vote in the mid-term election on November 8 are very important for our country. This is true, however much we might differ on how they should be answered.

Whatever your answer to these questions, it is crucial that all of us think about how we want to be governed and led in 2023 and beyond, as well as what the implication of our answers means for the future of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And one more thing: remember that you are not required to vote as you are registered. The voting booth is private, privileged, and sacred!

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Ken Wolf

Ken Wolf spent 40 years teaching European and World History, punctuated by several administrative chores, at Murray State University, retiring in 2008. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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