Think About It: Talk about what’s important to us

Two columns ago when I wrote “I am shocked,” I reminisced about the ‘60s and what I thought were significant social changes for the better, particularly those regarding civil rights for women and Black people.

I went on to write of my concern around the threat to those advancements if we shift our governing philosophy from democracy to autocracy.

I ended the column with a request to those who plan to vote for Trump to write me. I promised to write their column.

I received a handful of responses. Of those, a few were from readers who wrote to tell me they read my columns and encouraged me to continue writing. I am always grateful to hear from readers about what they like as well as what they do not like.

Another responded pointing an accusing finger at both political parties and the desperate need for change.

Two more advanced ideas to gain perspective that supports a balanced path forward.

No question that there are many of us who are trying to understand the political environment that will affect our daily lives and country’s future.

I will be writing a column on those and additional comments that arrive before next deadline. If readers wish to join the dialogue about the coming presidential election and the choices, I will welcome your input.

Only one Trump supporter (who I will refer to at T-reader) responded. T-reader has responded before and is critical of the opinions I express about Trump. He insists I suffer from TDS — Trump Derangement Syndrome, a term coined by Trump for application by those who called themselves MAGAs.

I have come to understand TDS infects people who have any complaints about Trump.

One of Trump’s skills I admire is his extraordinary ability to label people or situations. I find them clever, especially when given a pun-like acronym. A good example is his lawyers calling Michael Cohen, prosecutor’s witness in the recent trial “GLOAT” or “Greatest Liar Of All Time.”

Putting aside T-reader’s diagnosis, he made what I consider a relevant observation, one that could apply to many political discussions nowadays. He claimed that the people he talks with only complain about Trump, saying he is a bully or hates women. He said no one talks about Trump’s policies or can name, let alone articulate, exactly why they disagree with his policies.

Policies, their value to voters

T-reader has a point. One does not easily get past the ravings of a man who uses defamatory names and characterizations of individuals and groups, knowing well there are people in his following that will threaten those individuals and groups.

Trump does that but his threatening rhetoric should not cause us to evade or ignore policy discussions.

I will honor T-reader’s excellent point by naming and writing about a few of Trump’s policies.

I believe that policies and the values underlying them are an important consideration when we vote for president. They ought to reflect our values to earn our vote.

The problem comes with our status as ordinary folks who do not necessarily have the background to know all we need to know in making presidential decisions in all the areas called for in the president’s duties.

With that understanding, I will tackle Trump policies in this column and Biden policies in the next column.

Trump policies

During Trump’s first campaign for president, he spoke to several areas that interested me. Among them were immigration and tax reform.

We all remember Trump’s promise to build the wall and Mexico would pay for it. I doubt anyone believed the latter. We need immigration reform and thought then that a wall might work in some areas, but the problems needed more approaches given people’s reasons for wanting to come to the U.S.

I was pleasantly surprised when a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and President Trump produced a more comprehensive plan. Trumps acted in favor of it. Senator Feinstein was giddy at the prospect.

Trump pulled the plug much like he did recently on a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Instead, he implemented a harsh and heartless policy of separating small children from their parents.

In the end, he neither reformed immigration nor built the wall.

I was impressed during his campaign that Trump told his audiences about unfair tax advantage enjoyed by corporations and the wealthy such as carried interest. I thought his inside knowledge could be an advantage in tax reform.

Tax reform did not occur during Trump’s term, unless you count the act that decreased taxes in a way that accrued most benefit to corporations and the wealthy.

Today, Trump is garnering the endorsement of these same people and groups because he is promising deregulation in exchange for their donations to his campaign.

Trump implemented tariffs on imports from China, a policy that Biden has continued. I do not understand either well enough to weigh the action. I favor bringing more manufacturing to our country for jobs and reducing our dependence on other countries for essential products. However, both raise costs.

I cannot think of one of President Trump’s policies and actions in foreign relations that I can support. He withdrew the U.S. from the Iran deal which provided controls on their nuclear development which today is a threat not only to Israel but to us.

As President, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Accords on climate change. Trump threatened then and threatens now to withdraw U.S. support from NATO.

Trump does not value coalition building or anything that might require him to follow collectively made rules.

Finally, and likely the main reason he lost the presidency in 2020 is he failed to provide leadership to bring COVID 19 under control. He dismissed those trying to manage the spread and allowed them to be vilified then — and now.

Trump did start the important work of developing a vaccine, but failed to provide wholehearted support to the administration of the vaccination.

Trump turns away from building coalitions, a serious lack in any presidential candidate. Evidently, he does not value those relationships and prefers to go it alone. Through that lens, his isolationist rhetoric makes sense. For him, but not for us.

A nation as rich, productive, and diverse as the U.S. requires leadership and skill for unification, not division in this complicated world. That, I value.

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