Middletown Press oped: Biden’s Message of Unity Our Best Hope

October 23, 2020 Middletown Press

Joe Biden’s message of unity is important for our country in bringing Democrats and Republicans together. Both parties may not agree on everything, but we need to find common ground and approach differences with civility. As Biden said in a recent speech at Gettysburg, ‘We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another.”

How do we stop a pandemic, end poverty, achieve social justice, and build peace if our leaders are not working together?  We need a leader who can unite and get results for the American people, especially when they need it most. Joe Biden has a chance to restore the type of unity we need, and he has long worked across party lines.

In fact, when Senator Biden voted in favor of the START I nuclear arms treaty back in 1992, he was supporting an initiative that Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush had pursued. That landmark treaty got us off to a good start in reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and paved the way for follow up agreements that also generated bipartisan support. Those included the New START Treaty which President Obama, with Biden as VP, achieved further limiting nuclear arms with Russia.

Biden, as a senator, supported these nuclear peace initiatives with Russia put forward by Reagan, the first president Bush and later his son George W. Bush.  Biden says that diplomacy “was how we managed a dangerous rivalry, kept it from spinning out of control, and prevented thermonuclear war.   Republican and Democratic presidents alike have understood that nothing is more fundamental to our security.”

When President John F. Kennedy achieved the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963, he got the support of former president Dwight Eisenhower and members of his administration. The fact that they were in different parties made no difference.

When famine threatened to destroy the post-World War II reconstruction, President Harry Truman worked with former president Herbert Hoover to save hundreds of millions from starvation. Truman was a Democrat and Hoover was a Republican. That didn’t matter. What mattered was the task at hand.  Would we see that type of bipartisanship today?

We need cooperation on so many social justice issues. And we cannot let any differences transform into hatred and disdain for opposite views.

Biden was an admirer of the bipartisan cooperation of George McGovern (D) and Bob Dole (R) in the Senate. Those two leaders may have been in opposite parties, but they found common ground which led to legislation feeding the hungry. Biden would try to bring that bipartisanship to Washington once again as president.

Biden says “I will govern as an American president. I will work with Democrats and Republicans and I will work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do. That’s the job of a president. It’s a duty of care for everyone.”

Our country needs unity as we fight the Coronavirus and a growing economic and hunger crisis.  To have peace and unity in America and around the world requires a president who believes in those principles. Joe Biden is our best chance in this election.

William Lambers is the author of Ending World Hunger and The Road to Peace. His writings have been published by the USA Today, History News Network, Baltimore Sun and many other news outlets.  

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette oped: John F. Kennedy’s Campaign Inspiration is Joe Biden’s Too

Joe Biden is right when he says this election is “about your family” and the hardships that many are facing during this pandemic. Trump may have shrugged off Biden’s remarks during their last debate, but the truth is a lot of families are struggling in hunger.

Feeding America says “an additional 17 million people could be food insecure in 2020 as a result of this crisis, bringing the total up to 54 million people.”

Biden wants to expand the SNAP food stamp program to give impoverished families more purchasing power at grocery stores. Foodbanks are desperate for this support because they are overwhelmed with demand following layoffs due to coronavirus-related closings. Nutrition programs are to be increased for low-income families under the Biden plan.

See my full commentary in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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FreeRice Preseason College Rankings

  1. Mount St. Joseph University

  2. University of Cincinnati

  3. Cal Poly

  4. University of Illinois

  5. Ithaca College

Honorable Mention: Auburn University

Season starts Saturday September 12 with the Autumn Kick Off!!!

Visit the FreeRice College news page

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While Trump plays politics, Ukraine war victims go hungry

While President Trump has been pressuring Ukraine’s government for dirt on his political rivals, according to a whistleblower complaint, he has ignored the humanitarian crisis in that war-torn nation.

Trump admits talking with Ukraine’s leader in July, seeking information on presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. But in Ukraine, war victims are going hungry.

There is a lack of humanitarian funds for civilians impacted by the fighting in Eastern Ukraine between the government and Russian backed separatist groups.

See my full commentary at The Hill

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Letter Signed by Democrats and Republicans Calling for Increased McGovern-Dole Funding

A group House members recently signed a letter recently calling for increased funding for McGovern-Dole global school lunch program. This is critical especially with the number of hunger emergencies around the world.

Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Stee Watkings (R-KS) led the initiative which includes about 100 members including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Hopefully the w whole congress will support the increased funding. Here is a copy of the letter and all the signatories.

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Newsweek oped: Trump Ditching Our Nuclear Treaty with Russia Betrays Reagan’s Legacy—and Endangers The World

The decision of President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw the U.S. from the INF Treaty with Russia endangers our national security. Plain and simple.  Along with the Trump administration’s plans to develop new low-yield nuclear weapons, we are risking an arms race with Russia and others – a staggering, utterly unnecessary revival of an existential danger the world thought it had put to sleep a generation ago.

The 1987 INF Treaty with Russia, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, disarmed medium and short range nuclear missiles. Citing alleged Russian violations of the treaty, Trump is taking the lazy way out and crashes out of the pact. But diplomacy has barely been given a chance. Exiting the agreement will not solve those concerns over violations.

See my full commentary at Newsweek:

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Des Moines Register oped: This holiday feed a “silent guest” from Yemen

During the holidays we can’t ignore the starvation taking place overseas in war-torn Yemen. The UN World Food Program (WFP) says 20 million Yemenis are in desperate need of food aid.

We can do something about it like we did after World War II when Americans fed “silent guests” during the holidays.

The “silent guest” plan ran from Thanksgiving through Christmas of 1947-48 to collect donations for hungry Europeans. It was a nationwide program started by activist Iris Gabriel, who got all the governors to endorse her charitable idea.

See my full commentary in the Des Moines Register

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Century-old armistice unveiled brutal foe of hunger

World War One destroyed communities and farmland which led to food shortages.

One hundred years ago, the Armistice of Nov. 11 brought the fighting of World War I mercifully to an end. The U.S. and Allies had defeated Germany and the Central Powers in what was called the Great War.

As we reflect on this history, let’s remember the timeless lessons of war and peace that emerged. World War I showed not only the horror of armed conflict, but its brutal partner: Hunger.

When President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress about the Armistice, he warned of hunger in the defeated Germany, Austria-Hungary and other Central Powers. Wilson said, “Everything that is possible in the circumstances will be done to supply them with food and relieve the distressing want that is in so many places threatening their very lives… Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible.”

No armistice can be signed against the enemy of hunger. The battle against food shortages continued long after Nov. 11. Herbert Hoover, who coordinated food aid, described how in France “when the curtain was raised at the Armistice, there came into view destroyed cities, homes and farms.”

With farmers displaced from their homes and unable to grow food, famine became the threat. Hoover wrote, “A belt of once fertile land on both sides of the trench lines was so torn that it required years for restoration.”

Americans donated to help feed France and other nations in distress. The Congress also passed appropriations supporting food aid for the war victims.

It’s vital we remember the Armistice and the hunger that followed. The tragic thing is 100 years later there are still nations affected by war and at risk of famine.

The civil war in Yemen has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemen is on the brink of famine. Carolyn Miles, the president of Save the Children, says, “This brutal conflict continues to claim the lives of more than 100 children per day – not just from conflict but also from disease and extreme food insecurity, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing violence.”

Yemen desperately needs a ceasefire, a peace treaty and food aid.

The civil war in Syria has destroyed agriculture, which will also take years to recover. Refugees from Syria are scattered throughout the Middle East and with the loss of livelihood they suffer from hunger.

South Sudan, a country with fertile land, has seen its farming industry also devastated by civil war. In the Sahel region of Africa conflict and drought have left millions with food shortages.

All these nations need emergency food aid. Catholic Relief Services, The World Food Program, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and other humanitarian agencies provide life-saving aid with the generosity of donors. As was the case after the Armistice the goodwill of the public through food drives and fundraisers is needed.

With enough funding these nations can rebuild agriculture and grow their own food.

Like after the Armistice, Congress is needed to back humanitarian relief through spending bills. Today’s Congress should increase funds for the Food for Peace program to fight hunger in today’s war and disaster affected nations.

One thing that was done after the Armistice was providing school meals to children in countries impacted by the war. Congress could further support school meals overseas today by increasing funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

With the Armistice came hope of a lasting peace and the end to war and famine. We should never give up on these noble dreams that can inspire us this Armistice (Veteran’s) Day on Nov. 11.

William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book Ending World Hunger.

Originally appeared in the Bakersfield Californian.

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JFK’s Humanitarian Halloween

When Halloween came around in 1960 John F. Kennedy, while campaigning for president, came across a unique trick or treat event. This ghoulish party was not about collecting candy but instead raising money for the UN agency fighting child hunger and disease-UNICEF.

JFK loved it! Kennedy remarked at a shopping plaza in Willow Grove where the UNICEF party took place, “I think that is in the best tradition of this country’s humane and sympathetic effort.” Kennedy continued speaking about fighting hunger and disease in his short speech.

In fact, when JFK became president he even issued a statement from the White House in support of Halloween trick or treat for UNICEF. Kennedy said “UNICEF has caught the imagination of our people–especially our nation’s children whose Halloween collections have become a symbol of concern and an expression of tangible aid.”

See my full commentary at The History News Network:

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Albuquerque Journal Oped: Save Yemen from Starvation on World Food Day

World Food Day is celebrated on Oct. 16, but in Yemen people are eating leaves just to survive. A civil war between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels has plunged the already impoverished country near(er to) famine.

If we do anything on World Food Day, let’s feed Yemen’s starving population. We must end the war and hunger that is killing civilians. We must ensure humanitarian access to every part of Yemen so people can get life-saving food and nutrition.

All Yemenis are at risk of some calamity in this war. Bombs are hitting homes, schools and hospitals.

See my full commentary in the Albuquerque Journal:

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