When a colleague with whom you have differences decides to declare war instead of negotiating compromise solutions, you have no option but to respond. And when they begin threatening your existence by firing heavy life-threatening weapons, you need to consider the use of everything in your arsenal.
The Sorry State of American Politics
This is the state of politics in America today. Despite 10 years of audacious gerrymandering, Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in 2018, and Democrats completed a sweep in 2020 by winning the presidency and control of the Senate. For the last five years Republicans have been bereft of ideas and programs. Their only campaign plank in 2020 was a constant spinning of blatant falsehoods and bizarre conspiracies designed to discredit Democrats. This strategy failed to keep them in power, and instead led to the formation of armed militias intent on insurrection.
Republicans Launch Open Warfare
Faced with the fact that a majority of American voters are not in their camp they have decided to stand with their radical base. Fueled by millions of dollars from donors such as the Heritage Foundation and other wealthy corporate and far-right contributors, they have launched open warfare in an attempt to undermine the integrity of America’s democracy. Their biggest weapons are Republican-controlled state legislatures, and the tactic is to adopt state laws restricting access to the polls.
Drafts of these laws have been prepared and sent to the states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit coalition of conservative legislators and wealthy donors. Their targets are potential voters, such as African Americans, who are not part of their natural coalition. Their tactics include limiting voting by mail, shrinking the number of polling places in Democratic precincts, restricting early voting, closing polling places at 5pm (the time many people get off work), and even outlawing the kindness of bringing water to people waiting in hours-long lines to cast their ballot.
Democrats Must Respond
Democrats must respond with the biggest weapons they have: the presidency and control of both houses of Congress. Their first shot is HR 1, a bill that that passed through 10 House committees before being adopted and sent to the Senate on March 11. Known as the For the People Act, the bill sets national standards that guarantee equitable access to voting for all American citizens, and mandates that redistricting be done by a non-partisan commission rather than partisan state legislatures.
The Republicans in the Senate know that making voting equitable, and adopting districts that are fair to both parties, will make the hill on their path to power even steeper. They can’t win with their policy ideas and are relying on lies, conspiracies and the filibuster to block enactment of HR-1. They have declared political war and Democrats have no option but to fight for the preservation of democracy. They have the policies, ideas and power to do it: END THE FILIBUSTER! PASS HR-1!
Bill Jamieson’s career has included leadership positions in business, government, and education. He was also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and his ministry centered around advocacy for low-income families and children.