Let’s start with the good news today … the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as Attorney General in a 70-30 vote! This was the best news I’ve heard all week … maybe all month. As Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said …
“Attorney General Garland will lead the Department of Justice with honesty and integrity. He has a big job ahead of him, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have in his place.”
I second that motion. It’s been a while since we’ve had an honest person leading the Department of Justice and it will be a welcome relief. Even Mitch McConnell played nice, saying …
“I’m voting to confirm Judge Garland because of his long reputation as a straight shooter and legal expert.”
Garland has said his first priority will be the investigation into the January 6th attacks on Congress by domestic terrorists, and to that end he is planning to meet this week with FBI Director, Christopher Wray, and with Michael R. Sherwin, the departing top prosecutor in Washington who has led the Justice Department inquiry. But Garland has many more things on his plate, such as civil rights, police reform, and restoring the trust that has been missing under the last two Attorneys General, Jeff Sessions and William Barr.
And now that I’ve given you the good news, let’s move on to the bill currently passed by the House, For the People Act, aka HR1.
On February 26th, 1869, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Amendment was ratified by the people on February 3rd of the following year. Sections 1 and 2 read …
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The language is straightforward … even s 5-year-old child could understand it. So WHY do we have 43 states doing the very thing that they are forbidden under the Constitution to do??? What the hell is so difficult to understand here?
Why should Congress have to pass a bill to do exactly what has been the law under the Constitution for 151 years now? It isn’t rocket science to figure that every citizen of this country has the right to vote in elections! It’s actually pretty much common sense! Here is a rundown of what HR1 contains:
- A set of national voter registration and mail-in voting standards
- Nonpartisan redistricting commissions
- Big changes in campaign finance law (long overdue!)
- New ethics rules for public servants
- A requirement that presidential candidates disclose their tax returns
I think that the last few years have shown us how critical those last two are. It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing a re-election next year. But the biggest issue the congressional republicans seem to have is setting federal standards for voter registration and postal voting. Why? Because, my friends, if every eligible voter actually votes, the Republicans will get only crumbs. They are not wildly popular these days among Blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT people, or basically anybody who cares more about people than money. They have to cheat in order to win, and if what the do is unconstitutional … they really don’t care.
I was incensed yesterday when I read what Senator Mike Lee from Utah said about HR1 …
“I think I disagree with every single word in HR1, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’ Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the devil himself. This takes all sorts of decisions that the federal government really has no business making. It takes them away from the states, makes them right here in Washington D.C. by Congress.
Apparently in an effort to ensure an institutionally, revolutionary-democratic party of sorts. One that can remain in power for many decades to come. It does this by taking away these decisions. Elections in America have always been conducted at the state and local levels…
They are completely flipping that principal on its head so that all these things can be micromanaged from Washington. That’s wrong. That’s really wrong, it’s bad policy. As much as anything else, it’s wildly unconstitutional.”
I wonder if Mr. Lee has read the U.S. Constitution? It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing re-election next year. The argument republicans are making against HR1 is that it takes election laws out of the states’ hands and puts them in federal control. Another day, under other circumstances, I might back that argument, but this time my response is that since the states are attempting to disenfranchise half the voters, they’ve lost the privilege of making their own election laws. Period. As I’ve said at least a few million times, ‘rights’ come with responsibilities and the states … at least 43 of them … are shirking their responsibilities to We the People and We the People are not going to stand for it anymore!
We should not need federal legislation to force states to allow every eligible person to vote, but because this nation has shown a desire to return to the days of Jim Crow, we do need it. It’s a sad statement about some of the people in this nation that they still think it’s okay to treat those who don’t look, act, or believe exactly like them as second-class citizens. A sad statement that makes me ashamed of this country, ashamed to be a part of it.
The Republican Party has proven three things to me: they are not honest, they do not care about the people of this country, and they are blatant racists. Yes, that’s a broad brush … go ahead, Senate republicans … prove me wrong! I dare you! Do the right thing, don’t filibuster HR1 but give it a fair and fighting chance, or better yet, vote “aye” instead of “nay” on the bill and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll apologize for what I said.