What a sad role model we have become. Let’s correct course this November.

A shorter version of this article was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Dalles Chronicle on October 26, 2018, under the heading “Restore checks and balances.”

For both better and worse, the United States has a major global influence. “Brazil’s Sad Choice,” an Editorial of the New York Time (October 21), offers a dramatic example. On October 28, Brazil will likely elect a President who deliberately models himself after ours.

The consequences will be major, for Brazil and the planet. Internally, Brazil might be moving towards a more autocratic regime, justified by the desire to curb prevailing corruption and violent crime. Of major global significance is the candidate’s agenda to accelerate the de-forestation of the unique Amazon rain forest—which would deeply hurt international efforts to mitigate climate change.

Brazilian voters are, of course, entitled to choose freely: That’s what Democracy is all about. But we have to realize and accept our “role model” responsibility in the emergence across the world of increasingly autocratic leaders, with agendas that too often do not give priority to civility, human rights, inclusion and environmental sustainability.

On November 6, we can start the slow but essential process of re-establishing in our own country the fundamental principles outlined in the Constitution towards a fair and equal society. As an independent voter, I wish we could jump forward to a future where a true multi-party system will exist, maximizing the odds that no party will ever again be able to govern with arrogance and disregard for the best interests of the American People.

But that ultimate dream should not be in the way of pragmatic short-term steps. The Republican Party has betrayed our trust through its complicity with an unfit and disruptive President, extremely poor legislative choices and practices, and an inexcusable process of confirmation of an unqualified Supreme Court Justice.

It is thus up to us to restore what we can of the balance of power between the three branches of the US government. This November, that means voting as ethically, strategically and pragmatically best to terminate Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

In Oregon’s Second Congressional District, this means voting for Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner over incumbent Greg Walden (R-OR2). That is a vote that I am glad to cast, because of the national and global contexts outlined above: Walden has had the power, but not the will or interest, to be a senior voice of reason within the Republican Party. He shouldn’t be re-elected.

But my vote is also in recognition of Jamie as a fresh, beyond partisan, excellent choice for a District that Walden’s absenteeism has left in dire need for a representative who listens to her constituents and acts in their best interests.

Please join me in voting Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

— Antonio Baptista

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