Think About It: More talk about what’s important

Today’s column will focus on Biden policies as president. For those of you who missed the last column, I focused on Trump policies while he was president as suggested by T-reader (Trump supporter) who thought I should write more about policies.

I believe that our votes should reflect the values we hold important. In that spirit, I will give background on the values I have that enter the opinions about which I write to give you context for mine and to urge you apply your own in your voting decisions.

I am the daughter of an immigrant who arrived here from Norway. My dad came because he needed to be where there was work for him to do. He became a skilled laborer in mining, fishing and pile-driving. He had great pride in his work, particularly when the union fought and won a $3 an hour wage.

Made him happy, made the rest of the family happy which by then was my mother, the oldest daughter of a woman who immigrated from Norway at an early age, met and married my grandfather who immigrated from Denmark and an older brother.

Both of my parents knew tough times as children having grown up in economic depressions and were a young family during World War II rationing. Their teachings and examples instilled in me a keen sense of responsibility for self, frugality, and drive for independence.

These values continue to influence life and daily choices whether it is my life partner, career, spending habits and voting preferences. In that spirit, I offer you my opinion of Biden’s policies as president.

Biden’s policies

Trump is an entertainer and can be entertaining as I described in the last column. Biden is not.

Biden is 81 years old. His detractors are working hard to label him as senile, as having dementia. Biden has word stumbles, but we need to be reminded this is a man who overcame stuttering. He does walk with a mincing step as if he is trying to keep step. It could be sign of balance insecurity but not of dementia.

Biden is well-known for his compassion honed after early family tragedy and the later death of his oldest son. He is an experienced politician having spent his adult years in congress and four years as vice president.

When Biden speaks, he articulates his views and policies. During a recent trip to Europe to recognize the 80th anniversary of D-Day and another trip back in a few days for the G7 summit, he gave significant recognition and policy speeches. Anyone who claims those are aspects of dementia does not know the meaning of the term or is failing to disguise a blatant attempt at gas-lighting.

Biden’s domestic policies of creating good wage jobs and improving failing infrastructures at the same time are policies I support. Biden frequently speaks of rebuilding the middle class with the dignity of meaningful work and living wages.

Seventy-five years ago in my family, $3 an hour was a living wage. In 2023, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, about 2.5 times my dad’s. My dad paid twenty-six cents a gallon for gas. In 2023, we paid $3.59 a gallon or about fourteen times.

Biden supports unions in their quest for wages and benefits. He promotes the creation of businesses and reduces dependence on other countries by providing support to build American businesses who can produce essentials that are now produced in other countries. He was able to move legislation through Congress for infrastructure and manufacturing.

Biden has shown consistent vocal and financial support to Ukraine in its fight to hold its territory and independence given Russia’s unprovoked invasion. He showed leadership in building the NATO coalition. I agree with our support given there are long term implication should Ukraine fall.

I am less enthusiastic about other Biden foreign policies. Our country’s departure from Afghanistan was abrupt and poorly executed. We created a dependence and then walked away allowing the prior oppression of its people to resume. It was a betrayal of hope.

I have similar reservations about Israel’s offensive bombings intended for Hamas that are killing and maiming the families of Gaza. Families of Gaza were told to flee to the south and now they are told to flee from the south. There is nowhere else to go. Hospitals are in ruins. Famine is on the horizon if not already here.

We are not doing the bombing, but we are providing the bombs. I cannot say stop supporting Israel and I do not know the best way to use our leverage to change the battle plan.

I understand Biden, the secretary of state and other officials are frustrated in their effort to bring a cease fire and free hostages.

I have written about the complexity known to most of you but there must be another way. It is a horrible double bind.

The voter’s dilemma

Think about the policies I have yet to address — abortion access, climate change, gun rights, national debt, law and order, the Supreme Court and more.

Think about the dilemmas faced by voters and the angst of voters in selecting between two candidates, neither of whom they want to support.

Our double bind as voters is the abundance of significant policies. And what do we do when we are confronted by a candidate that agrees with us on significant policies and is at odds with other significant policies important to us.

Mix that up with candidate characteristics — isolationist, coalition-builder, authoritarian, compromise, age, threats — and we have the 2024 presidential race.

What is the balance that fits our values?

Polls tell us it is a tight race with each side having a so-called immovable base.

We must decide. We must vote.

The invitation is open to readers to provide input into my next column about this race and what concerns you the most and what you want the most.

We are in a tumultuous time which most of us would like to see end. The end will be determined in November. We do not want to waste our vote or, in the meantime, waste our voice.

Bertha Cooper, an award-winning featured columnist with the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation and is the author of the award-winning “Women, We’re Only Old Once.” Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 25 years. Reach her at