A kid is fighting cancer, loses his hair and shaves his head. Next you see his whole class and sometimes a whole community shave their heads in support.A friend is bullied. Kids join forces and stand up for their friend. We make movies of such stories and root for those in trouble. That is who Americans are or at least they used to be.
Now there are kids in trouble. They and their teachers are vulnerable to a virus as they walk into a classroom.There are few tools to keep people safe. One is a mask. Objectors say it is an infringement of their liberty. If is as well an infringement of children’s safety. The “more perfect union” was advanced by “we, the people.” Have we lost the we? Are we, now, just “me?”Or is it “you are not the boss of me” attitude?” Consider that we require vaccinations before a child can enter school. We require helmets on bicycle riders. We require driver’s licenses and auto insurance and seat belts.We’ve never had freedom to do whatever. That would mean we could speed through a red light or drive drunk or refuse to pay our taxes. We are free to engage in words and deeds until they bring harm to others or impinge upon their freedoms. We began as we the people, working for the common good. Do we end as “me first?” “Me” only?
Critical Race Theory, the Republicans claim, teaches public school students to hate themselves and America. Facts First: K-12 students are NOT being taught Critical Race Theory. If studied, it is at an advanced upper division or graduate level. I am a retired public-school teacher who has taught American history and politics for forty years. California curriculum requires a study of the U.S. Constitution and the inventory of laws enacted by Congress and the states.Our Constitution began with a clause that valued slaves as 3/5 of a white man. While we may have amended the Constitution to provide for an equal protection of the laws, we did not amend people’s hearts. Critical Race Theory, explores the laws and institutions that promulgated and perpetuated the racial divide.Critical Republican Theory postulates that such curriculum is anti-democratic and should be banned in American schools. Public school teachers must push back. Disparate treatment is a part of America’s history. We cannot ignore it. It is incumbent upon educators to discuss America’s full history, good deeds and misdeeds, slavery AND the underground railroad, for example. A responsible teacher covers all. A well-educated student needs all.
Fear challenges all of us. We can fall prey to its power or we can dig deep into ourselves and find the courage to repel it.Republicans are acting out of fear. They fear their base. They fear their reelection. They fear Trump. They fear McConnell. They fear violence. As a result, they are acting cowardly.We need “profiles in courage” not cowardice from Congress; we need them to be true to the oath to which every Congressperson and Senator swore allegiance."I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."To serve in Congress is a privilege bestowed upon a very few by the many. We expect our representatives of this grand experiment in government to be brave, honest, to tell the truth and to govern. They must use the awesome power of their office to serve the people and to defend the values of our democracy. Our country is in peril. We need Congress to rise to the occasion. Country First. Courage, not cowardice.
The Republican Party has always been good at messaging with catchy slogans that, in a phrase, relay their positions on issues.
Democrats are poor at messaging. This must change.
How would you, in a simple phrase, send a message to the 2022 voters?
How About CHANGE
Systemic Racism TO Race Realities. ( what is now- quit scolding for the past)
Voter Integrity TO right to vote laws. (expand voting rights)
America First TO America Forward. (Not what America was, what she can be)
Police Reform TO Police Fidelity (honor your badge; we honor you)
Lower taxes for me and not for thee. Tax only wealthy corps and individuals.
GOP is not the Grand Old Party; it is The Grand Old Racist Party.
Here is the GORP on issues:
No to George Floyd Policing Reform Act. Black Lives Do Not Matter.
No to HR1. Suppress minority vote.
No to immigration reform. Keep refugees out.
No to 2020 election outcome. Continue the big lie.
No to Kristen Clarke confirmation. She’s qualified BUT she’s black.
No to Chiquita Brooks LaSure confirmation. She’s qualified but she’s black..
No go Vanita Gupta for Justice Department. She’s qualified but she’s black.
No to 1619 Project. Pulitzer Prize curriculum on black american experience.
No to Critical Race Theory. The interaction of law and race in America.
Yes to overturning 2020 elections.
Yes to voter suppression in minority districts.
Yes to white supremacists storming the Capitol.
Yes to Marjorie Taylor Greene assertions that BLM are domestic terrorists.
Yes to Trump and the Proud Boys
Remember the pigs in Animal Farm? They start out as the party of the people but end of the party of the powerful. Among their famous quotes: “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”Seems that is the current thinking of the GOP in regard to voting. They call it “voter quality.” Republican John Kavanagh and others purport that not everyone should vote. Quantity is important but so is quality, they contend, sounding much like the pigs in power who claim “we would be happy to let you make decisions for yourselves but you may make the wrong decisions and then where would we be?” To assure voter quality, a GOP ballot registration form might assess a voter not just with name, address, etc. but include:
· Organizations of which you are a member;
· Citizenship Status, attach documents;
· Who you voted for in last election;
· Reading Level.Are we doomed to end as Animal Farm with a belief that there is innate corruption in government and no hope for equality? NO. Fight voter suppression. Restore “one person one vote” as a fundamental right. Restore democracy.
Here are their solutions. ·
Stop supplying food or water to voters in line. Go out for a meal, voters.·
Shorten early voting and reduce ballot by mail. Vote on Election Day like everyone used to.·
Don’t worry about public transport. No one rides the bus to vote. ·
Shorten polling hours. Voters can take off work early.· Forget the homeless. They have no stake in the outcome.·
No voting rights for ex-felons. Once a felon always a felon.·
“Souls to the Polls”? Sacrilege.· Lines too long? Go midday. ·
Confusing signature requirements? Can’t you read?·
Voter ID costs money and takes time? Quit griping.
If you can’t figure out how these initiatives enhance election integrity, attend Republican town halls or write letters to legislators for an explanation, their rationale. Or use your common sense and see that this is:
A minimum wage law
· Gun control laws (ban assault weapons)
· A jobs bill with infrastructure
· The American Dream Act
· The Voting Rights Act.
WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW We will never get any of this unless we rid Congress of the filibuster, something I have been against UNTIL NOW. It is the only way. Anything less is nothing. Then, we get as many laws enacted as quickly as we can. Yes, we risk a Republican “scorched earth” policy should they return to power, but do we anything less right now?Once in place, these newly enacted laws would be hard to overturn.
Can you see the GOP overturning a very popular federal minimum wage?
Dreamers would finally be citizens. Would the GOP take that away?
How well would that stand up to the will of the people? All of these initiatives are extremely popular. Republicans could reverse them if they regain control but the truth is that many GOP Senators support such ideas yet appear unwilling to go against the party.It means majority vote would rule. What a concept. Constitutional democracy is based upon majority rule. It means those who support this agenda have to work very hard to maintain the majority. Strong candidates. Money. Well thought out policies. Grass roots. Voting rights so that every voice is counted.What do we want? A functioning democracy. When do we want it? TODAY. Call your Representative in the House and both Senators and demand that they abandon the filibuster. Nothing short of that will do.
Trump’s failure of leadership spawned America’s reckoning.Our country had been lulled into a complacency that set the stage for an incompetent like Trump to be elected.
Trump’s fitness for office was glaringly absent when most needed. Hence came the accounting and the action.· We realized that government is not always the problem. Often, government is the only solution. · We removed Trump with dispatch.
· We elected Democrats to Congress and the Executive.
· We said “no more” to the games Republicans play.· We said no to racism and inequality; and, yes, to climate change, immigration reform, and voting rights.· We protested police misconduct and have begun the long road to change.· We refused to accept voter suppression.· We marched to the ballot boxes.· We demanded accountability for sexual misconduct.· We settled in with our kids.
· By slowing down, we rediscovered the joy of parenting.· We were reminded how much we need our parents and grandparents, our network, our family. · We sighed with relief as our leaders spoke with knowledge, empathy and kindness. Moments of truth. Thank you, Mr. Trump. We remembered what life must include: service and compassion, community and family, respect and integrity, dignity and DEMOCRACY.It cost us dearly for that clarion call. Let’s never forget the price so many paid for our reckoning.
Republicans have introduced over 200 bills in dozens of states to restrict and suppress the vote. They are on a mission.Some of their tactics are to eliminate voting by mail, end automatic voter registration and even reduce pre-election day voting. Make it harder to vote.Republicans believe that the only way to win elections is not to expand the vote of their supporters; instead, their answer is to reduce the vote of their opponents. They believe that if all who wish to vote were able to, then Republicans would consistently lose. The GOP has been successful skewing the vote toward their party which results in their preventing popular initiatives, such as raising the minimum wage or gun control, from getting a hearing and a vote. We need to “stop the skew” and open up the ballot box to all who wish to participate.H.R. 1 For the People Act and The John Lewis Voting Rights Act protect all Americans’ right to vote”, outlawing discriminatory election practices and overriding state laws attempting to make it more difficult to vote; the bills provide for automatic and same day voter registration, and protect early voting and voting by mail. How do we get these bills through the Senate when we face the skewed representation by Republicans?Al Franken and Norm Ornstein have given us the answer. Change the filibuster rules, they say. “Flip the numbers. Instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate, require 41 to continue debate. Then, the majority leader could call votes any time the Senate was in session, and the minority would have to show up. Including for votes at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., … Around the clock. Including 87-year-old Chuck Grassley and both 86-year-olds Richard Shelby and Jim Inhofe. And soon-to-be-79-year-old Mitch McConnell. No Mondays off while only the majority had to be there. Weekends in D.C., including for the 17 Republicans up for re-election in 2022, who want to be back home campaigning…”
Our framers warned us that democracy is fragile; to maintain it requires vigilance and participation; so, be a vigilante for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and For the People Act. Lobby your legislators. Demand they change filibuster rules.We have important work to do and there is no time to waste.