Protect the filibuster or preserve our democracy, which shall it be?

The time for procrastination is over. What shall it be, protect the filibuster or preserve our democracy?

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The filibuster is alive and well in the U.S. Senate and now appears to have become a permanent part of that government legislative body. Minority leader McConnell uses it as a club to “kill” any legislation that he determines is not in his best interests. 

What’s ironic is that the Democrats have the power to “destroy” the filibuster or even modify it to pass legislation that is in the best interests of the American people. But, believe it or not, they are doing virtually nothing on either option. 

I was watching CNN as a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Schumer just what he and his senators were going to do about this great problem and when they were going to start. Schumer said, “I have no idea, go and ask President Biden.” The reporter went to the White House and asked Biden. Biden said, “Don’t ask me, go ask Chuck Schumer.” 

Back to reality. The definition of the word filibuster is “a Senate tactic used to delay or block a vote on a piece of legislation or a confirmation.” It’s not a pretty thing as its synonyms; obstruction, procrastination, stonewalling, blocking, hindrance, and delaying tactics, indicate. 

Mitch McConnell loves the filibuster and he has used it time and time again against his Senate enemies, aka, the Democrats. We might call what if going on in the Senate a political war; and, right now, McConnell, the filibuster, and Sinema/Manchin are winning hands down.

Right now, we need a real fighter, a brawler to deal with this situation, but President Biden doesn’t seem to be that guy. What McConnell has been doing with his legislation-killing machine over many years is just plain despicable. 

The list of meaningful, substantive legislation that never was enacted because the filibuster was used to block it is very, very long. That’s democracy at work, right??

Sinema/Manchin, those inconsequential, low-level Democrats, have the power to put this nation’s democracy in jeopardy by allowing Republicans to contaminate America’s voting system. That’s beyond comprehension. 

When we talk about the importance of Voting Rights we also need to talk about voter suppression, a word which is defined as “to put down by authority or force.” That’s what Republicans are doing, using force to suppress the votes of any groups in this country who regularly vote for Democrats; African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and others.

Republican Governors and legislatures across this country are pulling out all stops to suppress votes by enacting legislation that puts severe limits on mail and early voting, makes voter ID requirements much more difficult, and lets voter purgers take hundreds of thousands of people off voter rolls.

And can you believe this? We hear that now, in Georgia, giving someone stuck in a 10-hour line a bottle of water is against the law.

A report by the States United Democracy Center indicates just how alarming provisions of various new laws are designed to allow state political officials to nullify, to reverse election results. What is happening here? Is the U.S. now a subsidiary of Russia?

Back to Sinema and Manchin. I’m not aware of some of the “special techniques” that one or the other political party uses behind closed doors to “convince” rogue members of their party, like Manchin and Sinema, to toe the line. But you can bet they exist and they work. And, Mr. Biden, now is the time to use them. But will he?

Mr. Biden: It’s great that you have worked with your fellow Democrats to develop legislation to cover a huge infrastructure program to fix bridges, highways, waterways, water systems, and a wide array of other important infrastructure needs; and that you also have a very ambitious budget reconciliation program that will do so many great things for the American people.

So, Joe Biden is wrapped up in defending his actions relative to the Afghanistan withdrawal situation, the two infrastructure bills, and the terrible hurricane IDA in the South, and barely mentions Voting Rights or voter suppression. 

While most Democrats are “sleeping at the wheel”, Republicans are ripping and tearing at the fabric of our democracy, preparing to take it down. 

Democrats have arrived at a crossroads, a fork in the road, a point of no return. The time for procrastination is over. What shall it be, protect the filibuster or preserve our democracy?

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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