Surely you have heard the expression “Life is a learning experience.” I truly believe it to be a factual statement because, even though we may not be aware of it, we are always learning.

The difficult part for us to comprehend, however, is how to profit from the knowledge we have acquired from the past and how to apply it to the present.

In my 89 years I have seen the rise and fall of the communist USSR and the fear of war that threatened our very existence. I have also lived through the 1930’s as Hitler rose to power in Germany and observed his ability to capture the populace with his rhetoric, thus enslaving an entire continent by initiating a world war in his thirst for power.

We are faced with a similar propensity today in our beloved country. The befouled rants and flagrant disregard for the law originating in the White House and propelled by instant communication has left me in shock.

My fear now is that we are in danger of losing the very freedom that has been the foundation of our nation for well over 200 years. The thought of contemplating the demise of rule by the governed is threatened by the authority vested in one man who is ill equipped and unable to carry out his oath of office. Therefore I beseech you to consider the following:

Early warning signs of fascism.

Powerful and continuing nationalism.

Disdain for human rights.

Identification of enemies as a unifying cause.

Supremacy of the military.

Rampant sexism.

Controlled mass media.

Obsession with national security.

Religion and government intertwined.

Corporate power protected.

Labor power suppressed.

Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.

Obsession with crime and punishment.

Rampant cronyism and corruption.

Fixation on conspiracy theories.

Fraudulent elections.

Are you as concerned as I am about the direction we are headed? A tendency to endorse the principles and policies of the far right is equally as dangerous as a move to the far left.

Somewhere in the center is a point where agreement can take place with the possibility of reducing the division and derision that is prevalent in politics and government today.

It is imperative that you vote, but please, I beg of you, consider each candidate on their individual merit and not on their party affiliation, and think carefully before you cast your ballot.

Al Van Cleave

Walla Walla