Several weeks ago, I was invited to a neighborhood meet and greet gathering of the US Congressional Candidate Eddie Edwards. Since my neighbor’s house was a two-minute walk, and politics is my favorite pastime, I decided to go and hear what the fellow US Navy Veteran had to say.
My neighbor (of whom I’ll keep nameless) is also a candidate for elective office. For the longest time, motorists driving down our road could easily mistake the aspiring New Hampshire State Representative’s political sign for being in front of my house since his mailbox is in front of my yard.
I’ve maintained a constant and cordial dialogue about politics with my neighbor, ever since he saw my Facebook post about a discussion I had with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu…one at a State of the State address to businesses at Dover, New Hampshire’s Cochecho Country Club and one at the Five Guys burger chain in Dover.
My neighbor and my views are different on the leadership in Washington, DC. I have been reminded by many supporters of Donald Trump, don’t focus on what he says, focus on his policies. When the President of the United States constantly lies to the American public it should just be ignored, as long as his policies are benefiting the American people?
As a United States citizen, who is grateful to have had the honor and privilege of serving this great nation in war, I take issue with those dismissing the President’s conduct as mere disagreements on style and not substance. Every word uttered from my Commanding Officer on an aircraft carrier was critical to the command structure and readiness within the battle group. The same accountability to the truth for a captain of an aircraft carrier should be held by the person in the Oval Office.
If we’re talking about policy initiatives, I’d have to question this President’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord to reduce greenhouse emissions…I am somewhat baffled by the President’s urge to legitimize the despot in North Korea, with no coherent objective in place to halt the country’s long-range nuclear development. I would urge anyone to compare Iran’s nuclear deal, enacted with participation by the international community, and the Trump and Kim Jong-un’s agreement.
I will concede to Trump’s supporters, there are no perfect solutions to any agreement of this kind. The very definition of compromise and diplomacy is there are no runaway winners. Our country can respect the former Persian Empire’s sovereign rights while putting in place binding measures to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The United States withdrawal from the Iran deal, its withdrawal from the Paris Accord and the Administration’s criticism of our NATO Alliance without substantive alternatives, or solutions to complex issues facing our world, is a stunning absence of American leadership when it is so desperately needed.
Many Americans believe Trump’s actions in accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of disrupting US Elections in Helsinki was an abysmal failure at best and at worst entertained the horror of a sitting US President being an operative of the Russian government.
I was born during the Nixon Presidency and I believe even he would be alarmed by Trump disclosing to Russian officials visiting the White House, “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.” And, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Eddie Edwards The Candidate
As a US Citizen it is my civic duty to be an informed voter, take a lot of feelings and instincts out of the equation to ensure I’m armed with actual facts when casting my ballot. It was in this vein that I decided to walk across the parking lot in my backyard to meet Edwards who was facing a tough primary battle with Andy Sandborn, a Republican member of the New Hampshire Senate.
First, I have to admit being proud of the Georgia native’s leadership and service to our Nation as a Veteran of the US Navy and as a former Police Chief in New Hampshire. My interest was immediately peaked when he revealed to the attendees his brother is presently serving time in prison for murder because it indicated he has a substantive personal story to tell.
I listened intently to Edward’s remarks that highlighted his grasp of US History. He made an interesting point about not hearing about incidents of mass shootings at inner-city schools because of their security measures and then he went into a diatribe about his conservative pedigree informing his pushback against liberal policy.
I use the word conservative loosely these days. As I revealed to my neighbor, I and even many Democrats happen to be Ronald Reagan conservatives. Much of Reagan’s policy initiatives fall in line with where Democrats and progressives are today on immigration, health care, trade, education, and foreign policy, but that’s an argument for another day.
Edwards talked about the opioid addiction problem plaguing New Hampshire and he even placed the blame squarely on the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing and their proclivity to advertise opioid drugs on television.
When he expressed holding the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid problem in New Hampshire I turned to my other neighbor standing next to me (of whom I’ll also keep nameless) and we looked at each other as if light bulbs lit up above our heads, not because he was proposing some ingenious policy initiative, but because he just went off on his support of the 2nd Amendment and liberals fixation of adopting laws to restrict guns, so I wondered could his case against the pharmaceutical industry be made for the National Rifle Association.
The last part of the meet and greet was an invitation for questions, and this is where my estimation about Republicans being mostly in attendance that day held true. The questions weren’t really questions, they were actually celebratory remarks about Edwards. My neighbor (the State Representative candidate) slowly walked behind me and nudged me to ask Edwards a question and I remember indicating that I definitely would.
When I sensed an opening I started by introducing my family. My wife and two of my three daughters were there. The entire affair was a great civics lesson for my young daughters, so I wanted my question to be simplistic, yet something that revealed who the candidate was and the positions he’d champion in Washington. I started by thanking the candidate for being there and asked, what positions did he disagree with the President on?
Eddie Edwards Position On Bump Stocks
Edwards started by stating he didn’t think the President tax plan was conservative enough and putting more money in the pockets of Americans, which is standard GOP rhetoric and then he went further in disagreement with the President on his proposal for a Federal ban on bump stocks.
Bump stocks give rifles modifying capability to fire faster. According to media reports, twelve of the rifles the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting had in his 32nd-floor hotel room were each modified with a “bump stock.”
Even the NRA and police agencies around the country have announced supporting restrictions on bump stocks. There was some confusion when I said the ban wasn’t in place and he assured me it was. I double-checked after the affair to learn I was indeed correct and my wife confirmed it to me later in the week, but I attribute Edward’s error to it being a hot day. No harm no foul.
How can one square erecting miles of walls to prevent that lone terrorist or criminal from getting across our southern border and not deadly devices of choice used to inflict massive killings of Americans at concerts, worshipers at church or students in school buildings across the country?
My concern about Edwards candidacy is his public policy positions on many issues, facing Granite State voters, are out of touch with our values. I don’t believe New England voters rejection of Trump at the polls was a fluke in 2016.
Lying to the American people use to be considered a grave lapse in judgment and to the degree that it has become standard in the White House I would hope that leaders running for political office of all political stripes would be repulsed. When leaders within the President’s own party and the Joint Chiefs have to come out rejecting Trump’s behavior Edwards should be the firsts to state his concerns, at the very least.
The last thing New Hampshire needs in Washington is someone who is not willing to challenge the President on such behavior and Edwards has been too anxious to tout his support of this administration. Nothing from Edwards on indictments of senior campaign and administration officials. I suspect there would be much challenge and pushback from Edwards if Hillary Clinton was in the Oval Office.
I was watching a debate where the moderator asked Edwards my question again, “what issues do you disagree with the President on?” He rattled off the same answer he gave me. This is when I realized Edwards’ candidacy will be a bellwether in determining the extent to which New Hampshire voters are resigned to the new realities of the leader in the Oval Office or use the election as a repudiation of a figure who rose to national prominence on a lie about a sitting US President.
This is why I can’t cast a vote for Eddie Edwards. Crises in DC and around the world require tough, bold and visionary leadership. We desperately need someone in Congress who will vehemently reject not support the actions of this President, so Trump’s brand of leadership is not woven into the fabric of American life.
I am reminded of Kelly Ayotte’s rejection at the polls because she failed to give a categorical denial of Trump’s actions even when the then-candidate Trump questioned the heroism of the late Senator John McCain. New Hampshire voters rejected Ayotte’s timid stance then and they should reject Eddie Edwards in November.
I believe the election of Chris Pappas will give New Hampshire a proven leader and an alternative to members of Congress who are kowtowing to the White House and abdicating their responsibility as members within an independent governing body.
Written by: Vern Nicholson
Photo credit: The New Hampshire Union Leader Newspaper