Are you as sick and damn tired as I am of the constant criticism of members of the Republican Party toward anything and everything that wasn’t their own idea, of anything that promotes common sense and racial equality? They claim to want unity, but then they act as if they are the only ones whose opinions or ideas have a shred of value. Frankly, I’m sick of it, sick of the blatant racism, homophobia, and utter stupidity. On Tuesday, Texas Governor Abbot announced that there would be no more mask mandate and that businesses in Texas could now re-open. On Wednesday, Mississippi followed suit, eliminating all pandemic-related restrictions.
Both states will pay a heavy price for these decisions, for the pandemic is far from over, not even under control. Abbott claimed he had consulted with doctors about his decision, but the doctors deny his claim and say it was the wrong decision. There isn’t a shred of doubt that these two states will see a rise in the number of cases and deaths before the end of the month. President Biden responded …
“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms. The last thing — the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It’s critical — critical, critical, critical — that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
What he said was a hell of a lot nicer than what I said when I heard about Texas and Mississippi, but of course the damn fools on the right had to jump on what he said. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida claimed Biden should seek “training on unconscious bias”. WHAT BIAS, Marco? Facts are facts! It was neanderthal thinking … worse yet, it was lunacy. And picking a fight over this is … or should be … beneath the dignity of elected lawmakers who have a job to do and don’t need to be wasting their time and our money nitpicking every word out of the president’s mouth! Especially given that they supported the former guy who never uttered a sincere or kind word in 4 years!
But, there is an even more serious issue on which congressional republicans are determined to fight. The issue is HR1, aka For the People Act, a bill that primarily deals with anti-corruption and voting reform. The bill passed on Wednesday night in the House and now moves on to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle, especially among … yep, you got it, Republicans.
HR1 is not actually a new bill … it was passed by the House in 2019, but like most every other bill during the reign of Mitch McConnell, it sat gathering dust as he refused to even open it for discussion. A few of the key components of the bill are …
- Instituting nonpartisan redistricting commissions to end partisan gerrymandering
- Creating a national system for automatic voter registration
- Putting in transparency requirements for political advertising
When the bill was first introduced back in 2019, it had broad public support. It might have even passed in the Senate, had Mr. McConnell allowed it to see the light of day. Today, the criticisms of the bill are infuriatingly false. For example, a recent Facebook post claims the Act will “permanently destroy voting in America.” My my my … what drama queens they are! Actually, the Act would make it easier for people to vote by mail, which would benefit us all, but especially the poor and minorities who often have difficulty getting to the polling places in time. It would require states to implement automatic and same-day voter registration. In short … it would allow every eligible voter to vote!!! What the Sam Hell is so hard to understand.
The Facebook post makes alarmist claims, such as that murderers will be allowed to vote, and broad generalizations suggesting that the bill will lead to regulation of freedom of speech. While the post doesn’t use the phrase “voter fraud”, it leaves readers with the misleading impression that the bill aims to weaken election security. The bill actually includes provisions to increase security through grants and cybersecurity improvements.
43 states currently have some 250+ bills on their dockets that would restrict voting rights, make it far more difficult for people, especially those who happen to not have white skin, to vote. WHAT the hell is fair about that? Oh, Black people are supposed to work hard, pay their taxes, but not be allowed a voice in how those taxes are spent? And you call this liberty???
The crux of the matter is this: The Republican Party is in the minority, is not particularly popular with people who use their brains to think instead of playing silly putty with them, and the only damn way they can win in some areas is if they can repress the vote. So, they criticize, they lie, they cheat, and they steal!
Mike Pence, for whom I actually had a bit of empathy after his life was nearly taken and still he proceeded to do the right thing, certifying the electoral vote on January 6th, has written an opinion piece in The Signal, a far right-wing publication, where he claims …
“After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election.”
WHOA … let’s stop right there for a minute! After 60+ lawsuits where not a shred of evidence was provided to support the former guy’s claim of election fraud, this statement by Pence should have caused his nose to grow by at least an inch!
“Congressional districts would be redrawn by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Illegal immigrants and law-abiding American citizens would receive equal representation in Congress. Felons would be able to vote the moment they set foot out of prison.”
Yeah … so … your point, Mikey, is what??? I don’t want elected bureaucrats drawing district maps … I want independent, non-partisan people drawing them so we don’t see maps that make no sense other than to cram minorities into as few districts as possible. There is no such thing as an “illegal” immigrant! If an immigrant is working and paying taxes in this country he/she ought to be able to have a voice. And why do you think released felons ought not to be allowed to vote? They are citizens. They work and pay taxes once they are released. WHY the hell do you think they ought not to have a say??? BIGOT! Next, you can look for Pence, who is a blatant homophobe, to try to take away the LGBT community’s right to vote!
Okay, enough about what Mike Pence and the rest of the bigots in the Republican Party have to say, for my blood pressure is already somewhere up in the stratosphere. Does HR1 stand a snowball’s chance in hell of passing in the Senate? The short answer is ‘no’, for in order to avoid a filibuster it would require a 60-vote majority … and it’s already obvious that not more than maybe one republican will vote for it. There is a path … a very narrow path … if the senate democrats are committed enough to it, then they can partially amend Senate filibuster rules to allow democracy reform legislation like HR1 to advance on a simple majority vote and therefore potentially be able to pass on a party-line vote. That would be different from fully blowing up the filibuster, but it still could get pushback from Senate institutionalists even in the Democratic Party like Senator Joe Manchin, a staunch advocate of keeping the filibuster in place, though I have no idea why.
If HR1 fails, then the 43 states who are trying so hard to rob us of our voice in the government we support financially will likely succeed and this will no longer be a nation I can bear to live in. If every single person, regardless of skin colour, ethnicity, gender identification, or religion cannot vote, then what’s the point in even holding elections? Perhaps it’s time to admit that this is by no stretch of the imagination the “United” States?