Letters 2 America for January 18 and 20, 2022

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Dear America,

A couple of days ago, I sent this letter to the New York Times:

Old Joe has always been a "go along to get along" guy.  That's what bipartisanship really is: going along to get along, as if it should matter to the American people that the ruling class in America like each other enough to agree.  But the reality is that there will always be divergent sides on important issues, and going along means disregarding your will, America.  This is, at least putatively, a democracy.  That doesn't' mean that we all have to find a way to the path of least resistance.  It means that the majority prescribes the future, and the minority submits to it until it becomes the majority.  We do need to keep peace, there's no denying that, but the means to that end is peaceful compliance with laws made by the majority of our countrymen.  For example, I didn't pick up an assault rifle and go to the capital when "W" fabricated a cause to invade Iraq.  I knew it was a bad idea, but there was nothing I could do about it and so I accepted it peacefully, as did tens of millions of us.  When the Dodd-Franks bill was being considered, I didn't invade the halls of congress looking to hang Mitch McConnell when he put together a confab of financiers and bankers to see what they wanted in the act.  Maybe I should have, but I didn't because I believed that the majority would prevail, which it largely did, though not enough as far as I'm concerned.  And of course the list of things for us all to be "up in arms" about goes on and on, but the vast majority of us don't go out in the street with guns to show it.  In fact, we as a nation have been smart enough, for the most part, to see that the morons who did so were not patriots; they were just a gang of thugs.  What I'm saying is that the time for going along to get along is over, and that's what Old Joe said last week.  He's not going along anymore, and if that means that he can't get along...with Mitch McConnell for example...so be it.

Many people form their opinions about politics based on which of their biases their favorite editorialists confirm, and lately, those editorialists on both sides are taking Old Joe to task, whether validly or not, for failure to put together a bipartisan majority for the Build Back Better bill and the two pending voting rights protection bills.  But they are all ignoring one particular point The President made during the speech he made that McConnell characterized as a rant as he gave his own.  In 2006, all Republican senators voted in favor of renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the five Republican-appointed majority of Supreme Court justices eviscerated in 2013 with Shelby County v. Holder.  The Shelby County travesty is what made the currently pending voting rights bills necessary, but likely not to succeed in passing, largely because those 16 Republican senators from 2006 who still serve have forgotten their principles, or choose to ignore them in favor of partisan loyalty.  For both those voting rights debacles as well as the interdiction of the bill that would make work possible for so many of those less fortunate than those senators, we have the Republican Party to thank, especially those 16 Republican senators who saw the necessity for the original voting rights law to endure in 2006 but refuse to speak up for the remedy to its 2016 essential evisceration by their Supreme Court.  

So, now comes one of their conciliatory enablers, having ascended to the presidency, saying enough is enough.  Disabuse one another of the understanding that building back better is necessary if you will, but do not tell me that fighting for voting rights in a nation that the Republican Party is trying to purloin with dubious, if not devious, alterations of the laws that it took the 1965 law to create in order to ensure that the majority rules in this democracy.  And to specifically respond to some of those editorial opinions, there is noting remote about the concerns of most Americans about equal rights to vote or the legislation to ensure it.  And January 6 didn't enable The Senate to pass the relief required by our nation suffering under the yoke of a pandemic disease.  It was compassion for the mass of Americans that did that, and even then it was anything but easy to get the Republicans to go along, and we largely have the bombast and conspiratorial instincts of Mitch McConnell to thank for that.  And as to the liberal criticism of President Biden for abandoning bipartisanship, what bipartisanship.  The Republican Party in the person of Mitch McConnell publicly confessed to making failure of a Democratic President and his majorities a failure, and the commitment of his party to serve and follow him is palpably evident in today's events...or should I say non-events.  It takes two parties to have bipartisanship, and the Republicans aren't interested.  In fact, they are doing everything they can to interdict it.  Now here's the point.

Under Senate Rule XX, there is something called the "nuclear option."  It allows the majority leader, in this case the poltroon Chuck Schumer, to effectively end a filibuster and mandate a vote.  Of course, as things stand the two voting rights bills would not pass, but what would happen if every senator had to vote on the record and then go back to his constituents and tell them why he or she wasn't in favor of voting rights protection.  All of the no voters would have to explain what they were afraid of, and when it comes to allowing the most people to vote, they'd need a lot of casuistry to prevail, not to mention self-disinterest among their constituents who to a man and woman benefit from democracy.  So Chuck, be a mensch.  Do it.

Your friend,


P.S.: Last night, Schumer did just that, but he couldn't get the 51 votes, including that of the vice president, necessary to pass it.  There are 49 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats in The Senate, and two of the Democrats, Sinema and Manchin, voted against Schumer's motion.  Both Sinema and Manchin aren't up for reelection until 2024, but already there have been rescissions of support for Sinema from organizations that pursue liberal causes, and increasing numbers of Democrats are supporting primary challenges against the two Democratic apostates in earnest.  We're back to Old Joe.

It is now up to President Biden to vigorously muster whatever opposition to Sinema and Manchin that he can to assure their electoral defeats.  It's time to take a page from Trump's book and mobilize from the "bully pulpit" what popularity he still has to defeat those two "PWIC", that is Principled When It's Convenient, Democrats, and get the party as a whole back on the good books of many who have yielded to the conclusion that the Democratic Party is weak in its commitment to principle.  The 2022 and 2024 elections hang in the balance.  The issue is voting rights, and there can be no party loyalty on that score.  Every politician's loyalty should be to democracy, not to the self-protective ways of a bunch of senators who want to pretend that their opposition to voting rights guarantees through use of the pseudo-filibuster is a genuine function of the gentlemanly decorum facade they want to continue to feign.  

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on January 20, 2022 11:01 AM.

Letter 2 America for January 15, 2022 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for January 31, 2022 is the next entry in this blog.

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