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Voting Rights Wronged

June 22, 2021

Today, the For the People Act was finally introduced on the Senate floor. For months HR-1 and S-1 have been a huge focus for anyone interested in fairness and transparency in voting. Locally, through Indivisible Yolo, a whole bunch of us have been making endless calls to our members of congress to make sure the bills had their support (they did).

This is a sweeping and comprehensive bill that addresses all that ails voting in America. It improves and simplifies voter registration; it makes it easier and more efficient to vote in numerous ways; it addresses key issues of campaign finance and dark money; standardizes the redistricting process and creates independent, non-partisan redistricting commissions in all states… and more. Its provisions replaced all the foul bills getting passed in red states all over the country, which is essential because those are largely, flat-out voter suppression bills. It should have breezed through in non-partisan fashion because it was about protecting our democracy.

But, of course, republicans did not see it that way, and, of course, it didn’t breeze through. It went less than nowhere. As expected, Senate republicans filibustered before the bill could even be brought to floor debate.

Borrowing this summary from Crooked Media:

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of what just happened: The 50 Democratic senators who support some iteration of the For The People Act represent 43 million more Americans than the 50 GOP senators who oppose it, so naturally just 41 Republicans (who represent a mere 21 percent of the country) were needed to block any consideration of the very bill meant to correct that antidemocratic imbalance, which 68 percent of the country supports. Another functional day for the world’s greatest deliberative body.

I mean, right? It’s just sickening.

Here’s another great summary of what happened:

You know who said that? Martin Luther King on July 5, 1963… a half century ago. Is that crazy?

It honestly makes me hyperventilate. The injustice of politics is wearing me down.. it’s making me cynical and pessimistic and angry all the time. It’s stunning to me that fairness can not prevail in this country; it’s stunning how the public good is lost, how politicians (let’s be honest, mostly the republican ones) seek only to gain or hold onto power, or their own seats. Corrupt and evil to the core. I have no idea why they even choose public service; their motivations have nothing to do with that.

Our democracy is hanging on by a thread.

Ranting tonight over dinner, I was honest when I said I’d like Peter to move to Norway. His quality of life would be better there. It’s too late for Jim and me to pull up stakes and leave our lives, our home, our communities. But it’s not too late for Peter. He can raise a family in another country that cares about its people. He and his family will be better off.

I am growing to hate our country, hate the division, hate the dysfunction, hate the way our elected officials cannot even work for the good of the people anymore. I can’t live with the fact a majority of the people (the majority are democrats and independents) want one thing and the politicians manipulate the system at complete cross purposes. Politicians act in their own best interests, to hold power, to stay in the good graces of their donors, at the expense of the public’s interest. Period. A majority of the country (not all, I realize, but a measurable majority) wants voting to be fair; a majority wants sane gun laws; a majority thinks it’s none of the government’s business what a person does with their own body; a majority is freaking out about climate change. The majority’s will is ignored and undermined on all of this because legislative control is in the hands of a cheating, corrupt minority. And I don’t see a way out as long as they continue to cheat to hold onto power. They do not care about democracy.

There are plenty of corrupt democrats in congress, too. but far fewer. I truly believe democratic DNA is different than republican DNA. I deeply believe democrats work for the people, believe in and work for the common good. That is the core of democratic values. And republicans stand for self, their personal freedom, their wealth, their station, their dominance. I just can’t stand the mindset. But I particularly can’t stand that they don’t play fair. And that their cheating and political and strategic machinations are all about gaining power for personal advantage, not the for country’s, not for the greater good.

Jim and I can live in our progressive bubble surrounded by educated, civil, compassionate like-minded people. I can minimize the amount of news I consume so that I do not go stark raving mad. I can do my part to try and effect better outcomes, because it’s the right thing to do and we all have a responsibility to contribute, but not expect those better outcomes. AND hope our son gets the hell out of dodge because this is only going to get worse.