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Carroll County Times Opinion

Dean Minnich: Enough backsliding. It’s time to move ahead. | COMMENTARY

OK, I voted. Fingers crossed, waiting now for the news on winners and losers, with a bit of trepidation: Will there be more losers than winners?

It seemed to be a statistical possibility, considering this year’s crop of candidates.

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This was not my first time to the polls. I’ve been a faithful and dutiful citizen since the Goldwater–Johnson election. I registered as a Republican because I thought Johnson would crank things up in Vietnam and I’d be drafted.

Tuesday, I voted as an unaffiliated citizen. For most of my life I was a registered Republican — served two years in public office as a moderate conservative — but would sometimes vote for Democrats. I was the son of a Republican father and a Democratic mother and never heard a political debate between them. I thought that was fairly symbolic of American politics.

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When I was running for county commissioner, I got to know Democrats running against Republican candidates for the same office, but I had cordial relations with all of them, regardless of party. Several of them would have been better choices than Republicans who won.

There was less cordiality from Republicans. I was not conservative enough. These same critics liked only “yes” or “no” answers to everything and wanted me to sign Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes for any reason whatsoever. Folly, I said. Before you say no, listen to the budgetary question.

They found a label for me. RINO — Republican in Name Only — thrown out as an epithet.

Fine with me. I took it as an honor. Despite the criticism from some on the left that I was too conservative, my position on public policy was that we have government to accept the challenge of making changes in the days ahead and should plan for gradual and incremental progress, rather than ignore problems and face chaotic consequences. I didn’t think that made me a socialist “lib.”

Well, for some, it did, and does today. For some, “progressive” has become a pejorative term. How that can be is beyond me. We all applaud progress in endeavors from business and job success to moving up a grade in school to graduating from college or just getting over the common cold.

“Making progress.” That’s a good thing. “Sliding backward, slipping, falling behind,” those are negative things. But for years, the Republicans have been dedicated to a march to the rear, to the point where they work actively to defeat the agenda of Democrats when the GOP loses an election.

Instead of working to make as much success out of new circumstances following an election, their objective is to ensure that the opposition never succeeds.

Better to sink the entire boat than to see the winners get a second term.

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Today we can’t say “yes” to positive action to address climate changes that have already been put off, perhaps for too long. The excuse is lame; we can’t endure the short-term effects of inflation to address the threat of irreversible damage to the air and water that sustains life on earth.

Tuesday’s election results will determine who represents the parties in the general election, but my gut feeling is that a year from now, we still will not have a plan in place to halt the climate damage done by a system predicated not so much on what is good for our country or our people, but what is good for our political party. Or business.

More than 20 children and teachers in Texas died from wounds inflicted by weapons that should only be allowed in the hands of uniformed soldiers and police officers. That was forgotten in two days and the search began for someone to blame. A year from now, they and other victims will still be gone, and nothing will have changed the availability of war weapons and ammunition. There will be more shootings, and more calls for accountability.

You can’t run a government by looking around the last bend in the road. What’s ahead needs our attention.

Dean Minnich writes from Westminster.


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