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Scanlan: Election insights from ‘Star Wars’ | COMMENTARY

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” This line is heard in every “Star Wars” movie, and I bet this characterizes how most of us feel about the upcoming presidential election. Positions have hardened; either you are part of the Rebellion or you are loyal to the Empire.

There is no way Democrats will vote for that “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder” who is currently president of the United States. Loyal Republicans would “just as soon kiss a Wookie” as vote for Joe Biden. Then there are all the people in between who are so disgusted by the whole mess, they might just sit it out instead of vote. That’s the scary part. Saying that this election is the most important in our lifetime is not hyperbole.

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Watching the RNC convention, I heard a lot about promises made and kept. It seemed to me that all the speakers were attempting a Jedi mind trick on the viewers: “These aren’t the promises you are looking for.”

Mexico is going to pay for the border wall. What a joke! President Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a “phenomenal” plan of “insurance for everybody” that will cost far less. We’re still waiting! He said he would invest $550 billion in infrastructure improvements. It must have slipped his mind. He said COVID-19 would disappear, and espoused various quack claims while ignoring medical experts. The truth is his disastrous mishandling of the pandemic has led to a death toll of over 190,000 with no end in sight.

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What promises did he keep? Instead of leading the world in tackling the problem of climate change, Trump promised he would pull out of the Paris climate agreement, though that can’t happen until after the November election. He abandoned the Iran nuclear agreement, which experts around the world agree was working. He has alienated our NATO allies while cozying up to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. Trump’s failed trade war with China primarily hurt American farmers. Finally, his promised tax cut mostly helped high income earners and corporations while exploding the national debt. Some promises!

Trump has shown time and again that he will say and do anything to remain in power, almost like an Emperor, shall we say? The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released its report corroborating everything that the notorious Mueller report documented. Unless you believe that Senate Republicans are part of some deep state conspiracy, we have to acknowledge that not only did Russia want Trump elected president, his campaign actively welcomed Russia’s help. Trump was impeached for trying to strong-arm the Ukraine into digging up dirt on his presumptive opponent, Biden.

More recently we learned that 671 high-speed mail sorting machines have been removed from postal distribution centers, mailboxes have been removed from neighborhoods, and new post office procedures dramatically slowed down mail delivery, just in time for the November election. Last week we learned that the director of National Intelligence will stop briefing Congress on foreign interference and threats to election security. Great timing!

When Biden accepted the Democratic nomination he said, “If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness.” I really don’t think he had “Star Wars” in mind, but the comparisons are uncanny. Remember the scene when Darth Vader says, “I find your lack of faith disturbing”? Just think of the revolving door of advisers in the White House and the vindictive barrage of tweets about anyone who dares to question Trump.

As I listened to the litany of falsehoods and negativity from speaker after speaking during the RNC convention, I could not but help think of Yoda. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate.” It was sad to hear Vice President Mike Pence misrepresent Joe Biden’s record on abortion, police funding, immigration, and taxes.

We should expect better from our elected leaders. At the very least they should demonstrate decency, compassion, and honesty. Maybe I won’t go so far as to say, “Help us Joe Biden, you’re our only hope,” but I do know he has a positive vision and concrete plans to rebuild our country. More appropriate is a quote from a minor character, Queen Jamilla: “The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” Let’s educate ourselves with truth and let’s vote this fall.

Tom Scanlan writes from Westminster. Reach him at trscanlan@gmail.com.

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