It’s the Debt, It’s the Deficit!

From a Google Image Search – Getty Images

A bipartisan group of legislators has designed an infrastructure plan across party lines. In order to accomplish this miracle almost everything in the plan that Democrats wanted had to be removed. “There is no such thing as human infrastructure.” “We will not accept a bill that addresses climate change.” Republicans will not raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for the plan and Democrats will not raise taxes on anyone else, so the ‘pay-fors’ are probably inadequate to the costs.

All the Sunday morning shows are screaming about our national debts and deficits as we knew would happen. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 Americans have sent tons of dollars to people who were already wealthier than most of us can imagine. These rich people, it was assumed would turn America back into the manufacturing hub that it was fifty or sixty years ago, before communist countries fell for capitalism (if not democracy). That wasn’t what happened. These companies will not pay American workers what they are worth. They will eventually have to pay Asian and African workers more, but that time has not come. Our new capitalist buddy nations do not have lots of environmental laws that must be obeyed. The debt in America went sky high, even if we did just borrow from ourselves. Strike one on our debt level goes to Republicans. What did the nation get for it? Little to nothing besides a booming stock market which benefited the same people as the Tax Cuts.

Then along came the pandemic. Republicans insisted that states should not close, that this was no worse than the flu, that people should keep going to work and school while hospitals had to close their doors and treat only covid patients who were deathly ill. States that chose not to close kept attracting tourists to take the pandemic back to states that closed down. Businesses in closed states were irate with their governors. But when Republicans encouraged people to ignore basic health precautions like wearing a mask because their freedoms were being violated, when they turned pandemic deniers into “freedom fighters” in a useless war on reality, bullies who not only refused to mask up but who beat up on people who did, Republicans prolonged the pandemic and hurt the economy in ways we may never be able to calculate. Strike Two. Our debts from the pandemic I also lay at the feet of the Republicans who did not even want to pass the relief bills to keep America and Americans afloat.

So we do have a lot of debt and very few ways to pay for it unless we raise taxes on the wealthy, which we cannot accomplish with this Congress. Fortunately most of this debt we owe to ourselves. 

Infrastructure plans are job makers, economy boosters, and help us avoid expensive disasters. All our debts so far have offered few long term benefits to most Americans. The money we gave the wealthy has flown the coop to line offshore bank accounts and Swiss bank vaults, to buy yachts and houses and swimming pools and Rolexes and ski trips and fine dining at classy private hotels and on and on. Pandemic dollars simply kept Americans afloat, allowed them to pay rents and feed their children when they couldn’t work. Infrastructure dollars are different. They are injections into the future economic success of America.

This week a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a highway in our nation’s capital, and a condo, full of wealthy people who could afford to live on a barrier island in Florida where they felt safe, collapsed in eleven minutes, The Washington Post reports. Layer on layer of concrete and steel looking like a horrific pile of pancakes, like a picture of the blitz in England. We mourn but we do not heed the warnings. Do we think that’s the end of infrastructure failures? Well we hope it is, but doesn’t that barrier island flood during tropical rains? That is salt water, a very corrosive liquid which could be undermining more of those buildings constructed improbably on top of columns to allow underground parking. In fact this could be happening all along our coastlines. Can we afford to allow people to continue to live and work in these areas? Should we abandon coastal developments and turn our beaches back into zones where nature can adjust naturally to climate changes? We know this should happen but it is unlikely to happen. People will fight to keep their proximity to oceans and lakes and rivers. Will we keep paying to restore these properties? Will we factor in a certain amount of death and destruction and get used to grief as we have with mass shootings and inner city killings (which are not always limited to inner cities these days).

It is time to spend some money on infrastructure, both physical and human, but it may end up being too little too late, as it always is when Republicans (conservatives) make cuts just to be able to boast about the money they saved. America will go through many changes in the next decades as the world heats up and the ice caps melt, as the oceans rise and the weather gets more extreme. This infrastructure plan does not even address some of the ways we can prepare for the future, for an electrical grid which is adequate to everyone’s needs, for fresh water that will flow to all Americans, to moving populations to more livable areas. This plan, should it pass, just beefs up what we already have. 

After Joe Biden tried to calm Democrats by making the deal into a two-fer, saying that he would veto the infrastructure deal unless he also got a deal on human infrastructure; after the Republicans and the media exploded and almost undid the work of the bipartisan committee; after Joe Biden walked back any intention to make one bill dependent on the other; can the bipartisan plan still pass?

Ask Mitch McConnell. If the Democrats are allowed to get an Infrastructure plan through Congress, bipartisan or not, will it hurt Republicans in the 2022 election. This is not really about money. This is about power and who wins it in the next election. However, the real question is, can the Republicans win the next election if they don’t pass this Infrastructure bill which has been tailor-made for the Republican Party?

Bad Business, Spectrum and Apple TV

From a Google Image Search-Crushpixel

Parent company Charter Communications has apparently brokered a deal between Spectrum cable service and Apple TV to perhaps boost the sales of two laggers in the marketplace. Spectrum has been losing ground to streaming services, as have all cable providers. Apple TV, while slick and fancy, does not yet have the content of a provider like Netflix. It is really just a pricy Roku. 

Spectrum has been advertising cable service at 44.99 if you bundle it with internet service. This means that your internet service could go from 79.99 to 44.99. But beware. The deal includes an Apple TV adapter to stream Spectrum cable. This Apple TV adapter will cost you $183 in $7.99 chunks. You are not renting the device, you are buying it. Once you open it, you cannot return it and will have to pay the price even if you cancel your cable service. The catch is that you cannot find out how, or even if, it works unless you open it. None of this is explained in advance.

It’s not clear if Spectrum deliberately set out to fool customers with this odd marriage prenup, but if it wasn’t a mirky business deal designed to benefit two hard-to-sell products, then Spectrum did not do the research it should have done. Turns out that this device will not stream Spectrum cable on all TVs. The TV can’t just be any smart TV, it must be smart enough. This device only works properly on 4K TVs. Once you are hooked up to the Apple TV device you have to install the Spectrum app. If you don’t have the correct TV, the installation doesn’t work. So you can’t watch Spectrum TV on your nice big screen. You can probably watch TV on your smaller computer screen or on your phone, but, for most adults, that would not be acceptable. And because you opened and hooked up Apple TV you cannot return it.

Try speaking to Spectrum about this. You are met with a totally inflexible company policy which has been indoctrinated in all employees that you must pay your $183 for that Apple device which doesn’t work. If you get too insistent they refer you to Apple Support. They will even give you the number. When you speak with Apple Support they will tell you that Charter Communications purchased those Apple TV devices and Apple no longer supports them. They are supported by Spectrum. But Spectrum will insist that you call Apple. The consumer is caught in a ridiculous round robin whose only goal is to steal your money. Shame on both companies for making this bad business deal.

Wait until you experience that difficult to navigate Apple TV remote with its minimalist offerings and its overly sensitive touch pad. If you’re twelve you’ll get it. Over twelve you will want to throw it in the garbage, or against a wall, lose it permanently under a seat cushion. There you’ll be in luck. We are great at losing remotes and this one is very small.

It is unclear how you get any satisfaction, although you will get a useless apology, as if the company has nothing to do with this marketing mess. You may end up OK if you have the right TV. You may end up with no cable and out $183. And Apple insists that the person who bought the deal must be present to accept the delivery. They may call it security, but it feels more like legal protection so you can’t claim the thing you don’t want was never delivered. Have some pillows ready to punch because you will be frustrated and tempted to throw expensive electronics, perhaps one that costs $183.

S1, Mitch McConnell, and Joe Manchin

From a Google Image Search – Committed Conservative

When they need a picture in the dictionary for abuse of power the picture will be of Mitch McConnell. For twelve years he has been goading Democrats, gloating over victories against Democrats, obstructing Democratic policies by not allowing bills to come to the floor of the Senate. He has whipped his Republican members to vote in lockstep fashion on every Democratic endeavor and for four years he was the minion of Trump who did Trump’s bidding and got to do a lot more of that gloating he uses to “stick it to the libs.” 

Mitch McConnell has ground government to a halt because the Republicans have no bills to pass, only judges to confirm. That just one wrinkled, puny old man in granpa glasses could have so much power in America is another sign that all is not well with our American democracy as designed in our documents. When those laws and rules can be so easily reinterpreted to favor some Americans over others (rich over poor, white over black) we see that an out-of-kilter America is the result. Additionally, because of the use of media to give nuclear powers to propaganda many Americans are convinced that Republican politics favors them when it doesn’t and they are armed.

Today S1 comes up for a vote in the Senate. This vote will only decide whether or not the bill can come up for debate. There is a debate about whether the bill can come up for debate. Talk about bureaucratic nonsense. This bill is the Senate version of HR1, a bill to protect voting rights of Americans which are under attack by a minority party, the Republican Party, desperately trying to cling to power. Because it will require 60 votes to move from debate on the floor to a vote, and because Mitch McConnell is against this, the Republicans in the Senate will most likely vote no and return to the business of collecting a paycheck while plotting ways to stay in power.

Mitch McConnell is busy accusing the Democrats of trying to fix voting to favor Democrats. Democrats are the majority party. They should not have to fix votes in their favor right now. They only have to worry that voting will not be fair and free because of Republicans policies, “a tyranny of the minority.” (Senator Debbie Stabenow-D-MI) Republicans always like to accuse Democrats of doing what Republicans are actually doing. 

Recent changes to voting rules being passed in red states like Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan to make sure that Republicans can control the outcome of voting in those states, even allowing judges to overturn election results if they feel they are inaccurate, attest to the need for new protections of voting rights. 

Mitch McConnell says that this bill is designed to get Democrats elected so it is a bad bill and he whips Republicans to vote nay. Since the bill gets rid of Republican attempts to fix the vote in their own favor and overturns the brazen attempts Republicans have taken to insure minority rule his point is, of course, accurate. Democrats are favored in most urban area. Our population is concentrated in urban areas. The idea of one person, one vote makes it true that urban voters give Democrats an edge over Republicans who are favored in smaller, more rural places. It should not matter where the votes originate. 

Large urban centers did not result from any Democratic Party conspiracy but for cultural reasons, employment opportunities, housing options. Republicans have manufactured a war between urban and nonurban dwellers which puts the idea of one person, one vote at risk. They want to use other standards to measure votes, such as parsing the way the electoral college results are determined in states. If votes went with the person who got the most votes rather than being divided proportionally then that would advantage small red states and offer Republicans the opportunity to keep their minority party in power. In other states the opposite might be true so let the states decide. These aberrations to our voting laws are all about power and they are twisting our republic out of shape and changing a system of voting that needed no changes.

The Democrats do not seem to be operating under any lucky stars in recent years. Political machinations of Republicans are working very well and the only referees a democracy has are the courts. Stuff the courts, fix the vote, rule the land. Even in a year when many lashed back against a ridiculous Republican President, an incompetent rude fellow, Democrats were not able to win control of the Senate. The Senate is tied with each party having 50 votes and a filibuster which requires 60 votes for most bills to come to the floor or to pass into law in the Senate. 

The Democrats don’t really even have 50 votes because Senator Joe Manchin and often, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will not vote for the S1 bill, or indeed any Democratic bill unless it is bipartisan and they feel that it would be wrong to kill the filibuster even though it was not a part of our original documents. 

Although Democrats need to pass bills in order to show America that their policies have merit, two members of their own party are blocking bills that could address inequities in our society that could turn most Americans into essentially hamsters walking a wheel designed by our capitalist overlords via the Republican Party. West Virginia is a state full of workers, full of folks who struggle to make ends meet. I would think that Joe Manchin’s insistence on keeping a mere legislative rule over the prosperity of citizens in the state he represents would make him a very unpopular choice for reelection. Arizona has been turning more purple for some time and Krysten Sinema may also find herself doing poorly in her next election if her people understand how her nay vote on Democratic bills will hurt them. If Democrats have given Republicans too much rope and it is too late to rein them in we may all live in a dystopian state sooner rather than later. It feels pretty dystopian already. Democratic policies could turn that around.

Biden and Putin, America and Russia

From a Google Image Search – ABC News

Our President, Joe Biden, is meeting with Vladimir Putin, who is either the Prime Minister or the President of the Russian Federation, depending on which year it is. Our history with Russia is fraught with fear, threats, intimidation, competition, cooperation (rare, but it does happen). As I write, Putin’s press conference is on my TV. Putin tells us that his people and our people will be dealing with the items that Biden is concerned about. What this means is that most of America’s concerns that involve Russia will be delegated to other lesser government entities. 

Crimea was discussed, as was control over nuclear proliferation. The Start Treaty is being considered for a five years extension. Putin denies that Russia is mainly responsible for cyberattacks and computer hacks. Hacking has been investigated by outside groups, he says, and the US and Canada are far higher on the list of active computer attackers than Russia is. He says that, in fact, cyberattacks on Russian health care that occur in some areas of Russia are originating in the US. 

When asked about Navalny Putin laughed and said he didn’t hear that question and that it was the journalist’s second question and he only was allowed one. He explained that Ukraine is operating outside of the Minsk agreements and it is obvious he does not plan to stop his activities in Ukraine. Then he did talk about Navalny just to say that Navalny broke Russian law. He says that the US is supporting policies that are against Russian laws and government organizations and that they are doing this because Russia is the declared enemy of America. It is not up to the US to decide how the law operates in Russia.

Recently I have been trying to learn more about Putin’s history. We already know that he was in the KGB for 17 years; that he was born in St. Petersburg, also known for a time as Leningrad; that he has changed the Russian constitution several times to allow term limits to be bypassed or changed; and that he now can legally lead Russia until 2032. What several sources mentioned was something I knew but had never put into words. Russia has no history of democracy. The Russian people have never lived in a democracy. Russia was a monarchy and then a communist state and after the heady days of victory in WW II Russia turned inward, locked its doors and came under the iron fist of Stalin with his bloody reign of terror. 

Russia and America were allies in WW II which makes our current stance as mortal enemies, sadder and more foreboding. We are enemies almost in the comic book sense of the superheroes and the villains they contend with. In fact, comic books originated as a way to have a symbolic fight against communism and authoritarianism. However, it turns out that Russia sees itself as the superhero and the US as the villain; levying sanctions, meddling in Russia’s economy. We, on the other hand, wonder how we can trust a nation that poisons dissenters, fixes elections, gives power and wealth to friends of Putin, and has to keep its borders tightly closed so that citizens will not leave. When we used to shelter under our desks in grade school in the 50’s, it was not domestic shooters we were threatened by, it was Russia. We were raised to see Russia as our adversary and I still, with fuller knowledge of our own nation’s failings, see Russia as an intimidating nation that would destroy our democracy in a heartbeat if they could do so without destroying the planet in the bargain.

It seemed as if Trump was popular with Russia and other authoritarian states because it was clear to these leaders that he had/has his own authoritarian tendencies. With President Biden we are back in our hostile corners with some incentives to try to negotiate solutions in some modern problem areas, as long as we don’t argue about what Russia can and cannot do on the world stage. Having shown the world our own civil rights transgressions, Putin feels that he is in a strong position to match evil for evil with no winner in sight. US purity is undeniably a meme of the past and we deal with the world without the hubris of our glory days. This makes us more authentic, and that authenticity is what makes us stronger than the mask of perfection that the world could see past ever made us. Both countries flaws are visible for all to see, which makes our struggles honest, at least.

The world will need Russia to fight climate change. Melting permafrost in Siberia is releasing carbon dioxide but it is also changing the climate equation in the Russia Federation. The Russia economy, almost completely dependent these days on gas and oil will need to diversify. Putin can be as proud and as rigid as he likes but at some point a lack of flexibility will come back to haunt Russia and the Russian people. The world will need Russia as a counterpoint to the rising power of China. Two authoritarian leaders with the pride and power of Putin and Xi cannot collude. Who would be the prime mover? So Russia will eventually have to team up with its old WW II allies once again to face down China’s power grabs. Let’s hope this can occur without war. 

Russia and America already cooperate in space and that relationship may also help us remain allies. If all nations could ally to save the planet and if there was a new imperialism, a kinder imperialism, in the search for resources and new land in space it would be astonishing what could be accomplished. America will hopefully continue to fight against and reject totalitarianism at home, but we may have to accept it abroad and try to make deals about the existential things, the things that could kill all life on earth. What would it take for such an alliance to coalesce and function. I would like to live long enough to see that. Meanwhile (with apologies to Steven Colbert) baby steps will have to do, any small give and take to avoid animosity so deep and rageful that it will drive us all to kingdom-come with nuclear war.

Can Biden and Our Allies Reboot Democracy

From a Google Image Search – USA Today

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden left this morning to visit our allies in Europe. Quoting from The Washington Post’s WorldView newsletter,

“He heads off Wednesday for a week-long tour that includes meetings with Queen Elizabeth II, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and most of Europe’s democratically elected leaders. At summits of the Group of Seven nations and NATO, Biden intends to rally traditional American allies who were perturbed by the political volatility of his predecessor. Biden has cast the coming decade as a global clash between liberal democracies and autocratic powers like China, and sees the proceedings this week as the opening chapter of a new era of competition.”

Many Americans have been shocked by the last administration which seemed to rebuff former alliances that formed post-World War II in Europe, and express admiration for more recently allied nations in Europe and also in Asia and the Middle East that are trending towards authoritarian rule or have leaders who operate as dictators. As a result of the behavior of America in terms of recent foreign policy, our allies have backed off from former levels of trust towards America and have adopted a more wary wait-and-see stance. 

Biden seems confident that our allies have not given up on us completely and that they are looking forward to returning to having America as a trusted partner in global concerns.

In a Tweet (11:40 am, June 8) Biden wrote this:

“Tomorrow, I depart for Europe on the first foreign travel of my presidency. The trip is about realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and demonstrating that democracies can both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.”

Writing in The Daily Beast David Rothkopf asks, “[b]y the time the Summit of Democracies takes place, will the United States qualify to attend? He cites an article by Zack Beauchamp writing in Vox which questions whether America any longer has the democratic chops to participate in a summit of democratic nations. 

“[A]fter coming to power in 2010, Orban rewrote Hungary’s constitution and electoral rules to make it nigh impossible for the opposition to win power through elections. Tactics include extreme gerrymandering, rewriting campaign finance rules…appointing cronies to the countries constitutional court and election bureaucracy…and seizing control of nearly all media outlets…(to) render elections functionally non-competitive.” Sound familiar?”

And it does sound all too familiar because Trump was not a democratic president. Has he done permanent damage to our democracy? Can America guarantee that Trump will not serve another term as a US president, or that another Trump-like figure will not arise in 2024? Republicans are doing everything imaginable, and a number of things that we never imaged, to take back control of the Executive branch in 2024 and the legislative branch in 2022. 

Rothkopf continues by directing our attention to a report out of the Brookings Institute about Erdogan in Turkey He says that we only need to look at the chapter headings to see the parallels to what is happening in America. The title of Rothkopf’s own article in The Daily Beast is “If America was a Foreign Country We’d-Know its Democracy is Dying.”

“The Brookings Institution issued a report called “The rise and fall of liberal democracy in Turkey: Implications for the West” that both illustrates how mainstream US institutions have actively attacked assaults on democracy overseas and at the same time suggest how our foreign policy specialists would be writing about America if they treated us the same way they treated our friends and allies that have followed a path similar to the one Trumpists seek to pursue in the U.S. Just the headings from the report (PDF) are enough to suggest this “Challenges to Turkey’s democratic institutions,” “Increasing powers of the president,” “Weak opposition,” “Questionable elections,” “Erosion of the rule of law,” “Drivers of democratic regression—cultural factors,” “Weakened governance in state institutions,” and so on.”

When Biden was elected it suggested an end to our flirtation with turning our democracy/republic into an illiberal democracy, following in Europe’s footsteps rather than leading. Americans would like to be hopeful. However, the push to destroy our trust in our elections, the push to document “the big lie” that Trump actually won in 2020 by ersatz recounts in red states, another “big lie” which says that Trump will be back in the Oval Office in August and Biden will be ousted, the obstructionism that continues unabated in the US Senate, although we recognize these things as mostly false narratives, are undermining our faith that Democrats can hold onto power long enough to restore our trust, and, indeed, restore global trust, in our democracy.

Rothkopf further reminds us that,

This past week saw a ‘Statement of Concern’ from 100 leading scholars of democracy. They expressed alarm about “recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy.” They cited efforts by GOP legislatures to implement “radical changes to core electoral procedures” that would transform “several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.

We need to pay careful attention to what happens as President Biden ventures into Europe and Asia and at the G7, at NATO, and at a summit of democracies if such a meeting takes place. We need to continue to pay careful attention to the challenges to free and fair voting in our own country as attacks on voting continue. Can Democrats find a way around the obstructionism in the Senate to pass enough of their agenda to tempt Americans back from their love affair with a man who would like to be President for Life and destroy our freedoms in the bargain? Can we keep in our memory that this is a man who asked the Justice Department, that once worked for the American people, to collect names and phone numbers of journalists who criticized him, a man who used intimidation and serial replacement of our Attorney General to steal the Justice Department and make it an arm of the Presidency (as has happened again and again in emerging illiberal democracies across Europe)?

Two hundred and forty four years of a flawed democracy, and a democracy that got many things right, may be on the line right now. We may have felt that we were a generation mostly untouched by a world war level crisis, but this time the crisis may be harder to recognize. It may not resemble any previous war. But the ramifications of this war are huge. If we don’t get this right the entire planet may be at stake as the world comes under the domination of leaders who can dictate that we ignore climate change, ignore freedom, ignore leisure and time to read, think, and contemplate; leaders that can lead us back into a dark age and turn us into simple cogs in a great capitalist machine. This is not a statement against capitalism; this is a statement against authoritarianism.

Using Roe and Federalism to Divide America

We are getting closer and closer to becoming a loose collection of individual states with a federal government that supposedly deals only with defense and international trade. The pandemic gave us glimpses of what this version of America will be like with every state having to compete for PPE’s in a pandemic, with states afraid to rile up citizens or an irrational president by requiring a simple precaution like wearing a mask. These are decisions that would have solved simple logistical problems that could have shortened the pandemic. 

In a States Rights scenario, states will be up for grabs and Democrats and Republicans will have to compete to win the most states in order to win the Presidency. Which party holds the Presidency would become increasingly beside the point, except that there is a simultaneous push to make the Executive omni-powerful, which we saw under a Trump administration that turned the Justice Department into a puppet offering unconditional support to the president. It should strike others besides me that giving state governors and legislatures power and making the federal chief executive all powerful are two goals that are at odds with each other, unless there is only one political party.

Democrats have not wooed state governments. They have followed old traditions and backed a strong federal government with three branches and checks and balances. They claim to be following our US Constitution. The problem is that Republicans also claim to be following a different section of the US Constitution that lists the rights of the federal government and the rights of the states. They say they are ‘originalists’ and want the powers of these two entities sorted out as the founders intended. 

However, even the founders could not agree about whether to make the federal government stronger and have the United States of America as the dominant face to present to the world, or whether to have a more decentralized government and give states powers to make decisions on their own and have identities of their own. This state’s rights model would turn states into entities similar to nations in Europe and our Federal government would be something like the Council of the EU. 

George Washington and Alexander Hamilton favored a strong central government. Thomas Jefferson and other southerners favored state’s rights as more important. This was all argued out in the Federalist papers. The modern Federalist Society pushes the state’s rights interpretation as more true to the constitution, thus ignoring 245 years of subsequent laws and traditions. 

There were only thirteen states when our new nation fought these battles about how to govern America. There were only about 2.5 million citizens. Of course we now have 50 states and 350 million citizens. Wouldn’t going forward in an America that is a loose collection of so many states and such a large population bring chaos? Isn’t that a greater dilemma to consider than channeling the hearts of our founders, which, as we know, were no less flawed than any human hearts?

From a Google Image Search – Gallup poll

Despite reservations, we are seeing a change in the relationship between the federal government and the states. Republicans went into states, perhaps using the issues of abortion and worker’s grievances to tip the scales in states where Christian churches had a firmer hold. They stoked anger on radio talk shows and from church pulpits. They formed power groups with corporatists, especially in fossil fuel industries and with Evangelicals. They used ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council to tailor laws to support Republican talking points. They rigged the vote with savvy use of computer data and gerrymandering. They got the pre-clearance section of the Voter Rights Act overturned by the Supreme Court. They continue to pass voting laws in states that make it more difficult for Democrats to ever win an election. They basically control the executive and legislative branches in thirty states. Democrats have control in only 18 states.

Is sneaking around behind the scenes to engineer voting and policy something that we condone in American politics? While we might admire the strategic cohesion of Republican machinations we recognize that such shifty politics is undemocratic because it relies on propaganda and even trades in threats to people’s immortal souls to achieve an end that is divisive and undemocratic. One party has planned and executed its plan to steal power and destroy the other, to turn America into a nation ruled by a single party. Can democracy last in a single party system? Not if the Republicans are that party.

So watch carefully as the Supreme Court makes its decisions this summer. If they make a decision about abortion that clearly overturns Roe v Wade will that tear our nation apart? If Congress falls back into Republican hands in 2022 will that tear our nation apart? If it happens that abortion can be decided by the states will that open the door to allowing states to have their own rules on other issues like guns? 

Will states set up borders like the ones between Canada and America and Mexico and America to enforce their own laws? Will people need passports to travel from state to state? What will happen to interstate trade? Will there be inspections at state borders? Will trucks be turned away and have to find a different route? Will citizens naturalized in one state still be illegal in another? 

How far will we take the small government lie as the presidency gains more and more power? What will happen to us if the world sees us fighting among our own states? Will we fight a second Civil War over women’s right to control their own bodies, over voting rights, over masks, over the power of the presidency, over fossil fuels and sustainability-all issues that separate states but also residents within states. Will we just live without abortion rights until we learn all over again that they are a necessary albeit sad reality of modern life.

You might like to check out this article by Ronald Brownstein from The Atlantic on the subject. My heart is breaking over our divided nation, our nation flirting with authoritarianism. Unless President Biden can pass voting rights legislation and kill the filibuster, many writers say, we are in for continued strife and possibly worse. Did the Democrats wait too long to act? Are they being too conciliatory or too meek?