50 Days

In 50 days the members of the 2022 to 2024 congress will be determined.

As a result of Trump’s efforts with the 2020 census to undercount minority and immigrant communities, Republican states have greatly increased their gerrymandering efforts, and the Trump tainted Supreme Court bench has allowed those efforts to remain in place for this midterm election cycle, even while declaring many of them unconstitutional.

This means the House is likely to flip back to a Republican majority led by Kevin McCarthy as speaker, if the Republicans don’t go completely nuts and give it to someone like Marjorie Taylor Green or Matt Gaetz.

The Senate is a different story.

Democrats currently hold a tie breaking majority, on paper. But that majority is greatly hindered by Senators Manchin and Sinema. Both of whom will remain in place until after the 2024 elections.

This means they actually need to win at least 2 seats to hold a real, effective majority.

Meanwhile, the Republicans only need to gain a single seat to reinstate Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. I guarantee that one of his first steps as leader will be to eliminate the ability for Democrats to filibuster any bill he wants to pass.

If Republicans, due to that gerrymandering that will likely secure the House for them, also gain a supermajority then they will be able to override any veto Biden attempts

There are also more than 35 gubernatorial seats up for election this cycle, along with an equally staggering number of Lt. Governorship, states’ Attorneys General, and Secretaries of State, and school board seats.  The importance of these offices cannot be overstated with the recent Supreme Court rulings on “States’ Rights” to religious oppression, election gerrymandering, denial of womens’ rights, and limiting/restricting health care access.

Do not let any of the hype about a “Blue Wave,” or “Roevember,” or insurrection backlash creating an enhanced turnout lull you into a sense of overconfident complacency.

Make a plan now.

Make sure you are registered. Make sure you cast and submit your ballot properly, whether in person or absentee. Make sure to help at least one other person do the same.

The Republicans have made it clear that the future of our democracy, all of our rights, all of our health, all of our education, many of our marriages, and quite a few of our lives are actually on the ballot this year.

Act accordingly.

You have 50 days.

Georgia demoted McConnell; what comes next?

Joe Biden will begin his presidency with a legislative majority in both the House and Senate for the first two years of his presidency.

Democrats need to take a lesson from the Republicans who have proven themselves wholly unfit to govern, and use that majority to its full effect to put out a full and complete repudiation of McConnell and Trump’s legislative policy.

First priority, after correcting the COVID Vaccination rollout, should be appointing an Attorney General who will investigate and prosecute the crimes committed by the Trump administration.

Second priority should be addressing their assault on the judicial branch of government through impeachment, where possible, of his appointments and by adding seats to the Supreme Court bench to eliminate the Republican majority and the power of the three Trump appointed Justices.

While all that is happening, rebuilding the CDC, reconnecting with the WHO and UN, treating white supremacy militias as domestic terrorism cells, releasing the caged immigrants and returning their abducted kids back to them, rejoining the Paris Accords, police reform, and ending funding to the border wall should all be taken care of.

Improving the ACA and working toward a single payer health care system needs to begin. 

A national minimum wage that provides a living wage, tied to inflation rates needs to be established.

And, the government needs to make a massive commitment to national infrastructure including job training and placement programs to create and fill the jobs necessary, not just to repair and maintain the current infrastructure, but to also upgrade it for the future.

Biden may not be the progressive I wanted, but he is an improvement over Trump, he will assemble a competent cabinet and empower them to lead without heavy handed micromanagement, and he will sign the bills put in front of him by a Democrat majority congress.

This means he will be as progressive as the Congress we, as voters, give him.

So, while we expect him to get to work on repairing the damage of the McConnell/Trump era, we need to get to work on the 2022 midterm elections to provide him an even stronger congressional support system to write the policies and create the budgets we want signed by the President.

The incredible work to drive record breaking voter registration and turnout to defeat Trump and flip the Senate was just the first step, not the end game. Don’t sacrifice the momentum. This is our opportunity to truly start checking and correcting our #Culturalinertia.

Are you entitled to your opinion?

One of the driving forces behind my Facebook discussion page and this blog is to distribute information and spawn civil discourse over important, difficult, and often divisive topics.

I do not have a problem with people offering up differing opinions.

I encourage it.

I hope to learn from the discussion and debates with them. I hope to gain a better understanding about the reasons for their views, I hope for the possibility that they’ll change mine or I theirs, or the possibility that by discussing with them my own views will become stronger in foundation, or that we’ll both become better able to articulate our views to help others understand. Agreement is not the driving force here, knowledge, understanding, and progress are.

I find myself frequently returning to an essay written by Patrick Stokes in 2012, entitled “No, You’re Not Entitled To Your Opinion.”

The premise of the piece was that we are, each of us, only entitled to those opinions which we can logically defend.

There is no need for any of us to waste our time on people whose opinions and views require an unwavering embrace of oft disproved talking points and emotional appeal rhetoric with no factual support. In fact there is great need to stop wasting our time and effort on such people with such views.

For example, if we want to have a discussion of religious faith vs evolution, there is little room any more for a literal interpretation of creationism.

But if one wanted to argue a metaphorical interpretation, one that assumed a “Day” in the week of creation from the perspective of a God might equate to a millennium or eon here. In which each biblical day of creation lasted for what humans would measure as a century or more, there might be enough merit to that argument to be worthy of exploring. If their concept of “intelligent design” incorporated a theory of a scientific trial and error or even a slow and methodical divine guidance that matched evolutionary theory’s pace instead of a literal instant creation, it would create more to delve and explore. But there’s no real reason for any of us to allow Ken Ham to waste any more of our time and resources on that literal interpretation of Genesis, nor his Dinosaurs on the Ark crap.

That’s nothing but a disingenuous manufactured ignorance designed to distract and delay the rest us from doing anything with the science and knowledge that’s already disproved such theories time and again. And as long as we entertain it, by giving it the faux legitimacy of open debate, we give it both credibility and exposure to a larger audience.

By doing so, we do far more harm to everyone, we delegitimatize our own arguments, and we encourage an ever expanding opposition of willfully manufactured ignorance.

The same is true of discussions of the risks of vaccine. There are risks, they should be discussed and explored intelligently, but we shouldn’t allow a repeatedly disproved claim that they all cause autism to create a resurgence of preventable diseases. Sadly, that is exactly what we’ve allowed to happen, but continuing to give print and airtime to those making that claim over and over again.

The same is true of people who claim that systemic racism doesn’t exist because they themselves haven’t actually knowingly benefited from it or been victimized by it. Despite all the overwhelming evidence of the imbalance of both enforcement and punishment based upon the systemic policies in place.

There is always room for dissent.

We should all be open to having our views challenged and either openly refuted or validated. Such discussion leads to greater understanding and new paths of inquiry.

We must stop giving credence to those who don’t want to increase knowledge and understanding, but to crush it and to stop our progress from it.

Right now, those people hold positions of policy making authority in our Republican presidential administration and directorships in our government’s national scientific agencies, and they’re making horrifically uninformed or ill-informed decisions to further their own personal agendas. In the process they’re waging a political war against science and knowledge.

If you believe such people deserve a voice in these discussions, then you’re part of the reason we’re moving backwards on so many issues that should already be far behind us.