by Jeanne Trubek
Recognizing the urgency of the times and the upcoming presidential election, The Peace Advocate is launching a series of articles on the issues and the candidates. In this first article, we discuss issues we consider critical, ones we will use to evaluate the candidates. We urge our readers to send us articles and comments about your priorities. Please email these to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line: “Presidential Election Series in Newsletter.”
Does the candidate believe that human activity, including the extraction and use of fossil fuels, is causing the Earth’s climate to heat up to dangerous levels? What role does the candidate think the United States should play in reducing such activities in order to address the climate crisis? Should the US become a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by the US military and American industries, both within our borders and in other countries? What role should the US play in mitigating the impact of climate change in developing countries as well as at home? How can the US support the efforts of the United Nations and other organizations that are trying to mitigate the impact of climate change around the world?
Ukraine War and Israeli-Palestinian War
Thousands of people—Israelis and Palestinians, Ukrainians and Russians—are being killed or injured in disputes that could be settled by diplomacy. Negotiations would be long and difficult, but no matter how long and difficult, they are necessary to prevent an expansion and escalation of these wars. The United States is an important source of weapons and other military aid to Ukraine and to Israel. Would the candidate endeavor to move these disputes to the negotiating table, while ceasing to supply these countries with lethal weapons?
Does the candidate think that the United States should be a global diplomatic leader and peace-keeper? The US can’t lead the way to non-military approaches until it wants to – and for that approach to work, the US needs to acknowledge the failure and devastation of war. How do we bring about successful alternatives to war? There are currently wars waging around the globe. How can the United States lead the way to non-military approaches to conflict resolution?
There are currently nine countries possessing nuclear weapons; the US and Russia together possess 90% of them. We have the capacity to destroy all human life on earth. Does the candidate support the United States signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which has been signed by 97 countries?
The United States spends billions of dollars on both military and humanitarian foreign aid. Should there be criteria (human rights for all residents, non-corrupt government, protection of minorities, etc) that a country must satisfy before receiving aid?
Do military alliances increase or decrease common security? The United States is a member of several military alliances, most prominently NATO. Does this result in a more peaceful world? What should our role in these military alliances be?
Fund Human Needs
Would the candidate favor cutting the military budget to fund essential US domestic programs in health care, education, infrastructure, transportation, reduction of poverty, and other aspects of the safety net?
The United States ranks last among 11 rich nations in health care. Many people cannot afford even basic health care. Does the candidate favor a single-payer national health care system?
Labor shortage and migration
We read often about a migration crisis at our borders. At the same time, we see many articles proclaiming a shortage of labor in this country, both skilled and unskilled. Would the candidate formulate a plan to ease both of these problems simultaneously?
Education and employment
As job requirements become more technical, people must have more skills to qualify. Our education system is in crisis from the viewpoints of staffing, safety and learning at the elementary levels, and cost at the advanced levels. What ideas does the candidate have to resolve these problems.
The Federal minimum wage (used by 18 states) is $7.25/hour. This means that a couple with one child and both parents working full time and being paid minimum wage would be eligible for SNAP (food stamps) in New Hampshire. What proposals do you have for improving the financial situation of people at the lower end of the income distribution?
Does the candidate believe the 2020 Presidential election was stolen? What would the candidate do to protect and expand voting rights in the United States?
Jeanne Trubek is Emmanuel College Associate Professor of Mathematics, emeritus, and has been a volunteer at Massachusetts Peace Action since January 2017.