My conclusion in this blog is that Senate Democrats must bring negotiations with Republicans to a close. House Bill One, the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill, President Joseph Biden’s infrastructure plan, and the authorization of a full investigation into the Capitol invasion must be sent to the Senate floor for votes.
If Republicans continue to follow Mitch McConnel’s dictum that their only legislative goal is to block Biden with filibusters, the Democrats must change the rules to eliminate or modify that tactic so that Congress can actually legislate.
You now know my conclusion to this blog. If you are not interested in my reasoning, you can stop here.
Veritas Liberabit Vos
Democracy is under siege. Truth is being attacked as if it were a mortal threat to America’s existence. Those of us who believe in government “of the people, by the people and for the people” are viewed by the extreme right as enemies of the people, and the former president refers to us as “disgusting, stupid, shameful, treasonous.”
Reflect on the term, veritas liberabit vos: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The phrase is in the Bible and carved in stone at the Original Headquarters Building of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is the motto of several universities, including England’s Canterbury Christ Church, Tennessee, Southern Methodist and the University of Freiburg in Germany.
That Latin phrase expresses a basic principle of our democratic government. However, the idea that “the truth shall make you free” is not universally accepted in America. Republicans in the United States Congress, for instance, fear the truth. They believe that the doctrine of Trump trumps the doctrine of democracy.
The Big Lie
These Republicans continue to accept and propagate the “big lie” that President Biden was not fairly elected. They argue that the election was corrupted and Trump actually received more “legal” votes than Biden. They buy into his bogus theory that fraudulent votes and corrupt officials rigged the election in Biden’s favor. A majority (53%) of Republicans still believe in Trump’s democracy-damaging lie that he was the actual winner of the election (according to a mid-May Reuters/Ipsos poll). Sixty one percent of Republicans believe the election was “stolen.”
Most Americans, however, whether we voted for Biden or Trump, accept that the election was fair and the results were accurate.
This is a dangerous time for our nation. The metastasizing lies emanating from the disgraced former president have infected Republican leaders across the nation, starting with those who were elected to serve us in the United States Congress. A majority of Republicans in the House and eight U.S. Senators voted against certifying Biden’s election. They admit Biden is the president, but do so without saying he won: “Biden is president because he was sworn in,” is their Trump-pleasing waffle move. They also deny what they witnessed first-hand: the insurrectionist invasion of the Capitol. They know the truth, but in obeisance to the former guy, they not only deny it (“they were just normal tourists”) they filibustered and blocked the bill authorizing an investigation. Again, another “big lie” from Republicans in Congress.
But surely, when the chips are down these “statesmen and women” will wake up, free themselves from Trump captivity, and rally to the truth? Dream on. Republican Minority leader Mitch McConnell gave his caucus a command: “One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration” because the Democrats are seeking “to turn America into a socialist country.”
Obstruction is the Agenda
In my opinion, McConnell’s obstructionist agenda has nothing to do with socialism. He is a smart man and he knows what a true socialist country is, and America isn’t even close. His reasoning has more to do with fear, fear that if the Biden agenda is implemented, the national, state, local and personal economies will improve and Biden will get some credit. He also fears that if voting is accessible and fair to all Americans, the Republicans will lose in 2022 and 2024.
The Republican leader’s response is to keep the president and the Congress from enacting legislation supported by a majority of the people, Republicans and Democrats alike. Coupled with organized Republican attempts in 43 states to limit access to the ballot box, McConnell believes that unrelenting obstruction of progress and voting can lead Republicans to victory in 2022.
Republicans don’t have a party platform. The only ideas on their table today are to unify for the sake obstruction, and to use lies to demonize the opposition. They offer nothing else. Their loyal constituencies of ambitious Republican politicians and far-right zealots take their orders only from Trump. To pull off their heist of the government they must stay true to the anti-democracy passions of the former president and scheme their way back into power.
How can this table be turned? To see my answer, go back and reread the first paragraph.
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.