“Joe Biden’s Magic” -or- What Can We Expect From the New President?

Image courtesy of creazilla.com

Well, it’s all over but the pouting, louting, shouting, and lying. Despite the chaos and continuing norm-smashing, President-elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. I assume there’ll be some continuing, even progressing awfulness between now and then, but we’ll get through it.

Then the focus will zero in on the contentiousness between the moderate Democrats who blame the left for the loss of House and Senate seats—and the left who refute those claims and point to the energized young voters casting ballots for the first time. 

I’m going to let this important matter sit for a while except to stress that I think both sides have to realize they/we need each other and must find some modus operandi to face the larger forces readying to bring down the entire party, the President-elect’s opportunity to govern, and our democracy.

How We Can Actually Get Things Done Together

My inspiration comes from writer Anand Giridharadas (his name is so difficult to pronounce that there’s actually a video of people introducing him as a guide), whose very long and interesting piece appeared in The New York Times Sunday Review.

He is best known for his book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. It’s a provocative work that awaits me on my Kindle.

The Times article was written just before the election had been called for Biden and the Senate losses had been reported. The Times editors replaced the title “Joe Biden’s Magic” with an interesting, if more prosaic, update: “Biden Can’t Be F.D.R. He Could Still Be L.B.J.” I prefer the original, and the final quotation below explains why.

After citing a fury-inducing summary of Trumpian chaos, Giridharadas issues a call to action to us all.

“Given the collective frenzy of these years, President-elect Joe Biden intuited that legions of Americans wanted a return to normal — a restoration, a reversion. The earnest hope in his promise ‘to restore the soul of America’ was that the same country that uplifted Donald Trump and let itself be consumed by internet-fueled culture wars could heed its better angels again, as it did when it elected the nation’s first Black president on a hope-and-change mandate not so long ago.

“But if this election is to have lasting meaning, we cannot see a Biden campaign victory as license to cast away politics as a presence in our daily lives. We cannot succumb to the liberal temptation parodied by the comedian Kylie Brakeman to ‘vote for Biden so we can all get back to brunch.’

“However effective it might have been at closing this race, this restorationist fantasy would be a terrible governing philosophy. Because the pre-Trump world — in which voting rights were being gutted and 40 percent of Americans couldn’t afford a $400 emergency bill — is no kind of place to go back to.

“Mr. Biden himself seemed to concede this point by tempering his restoration message with the slogan ‘Build Back Better.’”

Giridharadas observes that he’d spoken to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who—though a devotee like Biden of the institutions of government—negated the idea that the new administration should strive for “restoration versus transformation.”

Schumer emphatically came down on the side of “bold change,” stressing his concern that otherwise, we might end up with someone even worse than Trump in four years.

Changing the Way People View the Government

At heart, the difficulty the Democrats face is that since the Reagan years, Republicans have persuaded lots of Americans that the federal government is a force for evil, rather than a force for good.

There’s a serious disconnect between the way many people view government—and the reality of what good governance can do for them. Remember during the fight over Obamacare, which now is highly popular despite the need for substantial fixes, one man cried out: “Take your government hands off my Medicare”?

Giridharadas’s main point is that it’s essential for Biden to show Americans that government can, indeed, be an invaluable force for good. This is something I’ve felt even more strongly since we’ve been hit by the COVID pandemic and its associated economic devastation. If ever there was a time for a vast government effort, organizing in partnership with local governance to improve people’s lives, it’s now. 

To my mind, the Republicans’ blocking the Democrats’ Heroes Act–which would provide much-needed support to individuals, small businesses, Coronavirus relief, and to state and local governments overwhelmed by the pandemic’s impact–borders on the criminal. (I view their refusal to acknowledge Biden’s win the same way…)

Scenario One: The Democrats Have a Senate Majority

A huge issue is whether the Democrats can win the two Senate races in Georgia. With a 50-50 split, Vice President Harris breaks the tie vote. Chuck Schumer then becomes the Majority Leader. 

That could mean the Democrats get rid of the filibuster, which many believe is an essential act if anything significant is to be accomplished with Mitch McConnell still controlling the Republicans.

Giridharadas’s key question is whether Biden, a center-left persona with a penchant for compromise, will take that critical step. It would be hard for him, essentially foreclosing any chance for the collaborative efforts that he ran on and deeply believes in. 

But ending the filibuster, says Giridharadas,

“could still be a risk worth taking. If Democrats win the two presumed Georgia runoffs, Senate Democrats will represent roughly 41 million more people than the Republican half of the chamber. If Mr. Biden is to meet this moment, he can’t let his cautious temperament and deep hankering for civic comity stop him from making the policy changes families need.”

Will he see himself as a Dream Big, consequential President who will do what’s needed to accomplish major things for Americans right now–when there are so many whose plight is desperate?

Biden doesn’t hold grudges, but he also knows how destructive McConnell was to the Obama presidency. And now that his old friend Mitch has refused to recognize his electoral win, he may be willing to see—or be convinced by others to acknowledge—that his entire administration can be stymied by McConnell.

Writes Giridharadas:

“…if Democrats do win the Senate? Senator Schumer told me he envisions a first 100 days filled with a raft of measures on the virus and economic relief, mixed in with policies that address inequality, climate change, student debt, immigration and more. A Biden administration’s early days ‘ought to look like F.D.R.’s,’ he said. ‘We need big, bold change. America demands it, and we’re going to fight for it.’”

So maybe there’s far more that the moderates and progressives can agree upon—in sync with most Americans—than the rhetoric to date suggests. 

One question is whether Biden will be deterred by the cries for fiscal conservatism and the calls from the Republicans who sided with him, who seem only to worry about the deficit when Democrats are in control. “Who will have more of a voice in Washington?,” Giridharadas asks.

A positive note may be found in today’s (11/14) New York Times: Biden’s Selections Suggest Tougher Wall Street Rules.”

Scenario Two: McConnell’s Still in Charge

If the Georgia races go to the Republicans (who both have lots of shady stuff in their pasts) and McConnell remains the Senate Majority leader, Giridharadas still thinks Biden could make substantial changes in people’s lives by bypassing Congress.

“The growing sense, among both the party’s technocrats and its populists, is that their midterm fate lies in whether voters give Democrats credit for improving their lives — not on the processes used or norms violated to do so.”

He quotes Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington:

“A public health and economic crisis is not the time for incremental steps, small ideas or meekness…Joe Biden can deliver on this from Day 1 with executive orders and administrative actions that cancel student debt, lower drug prices, strengthen workers’ rights and cut emissions.”

I can see a Democratic Congressional consensus around such issues.

Newly appointed Chief of Staff Ron Klain (who receives rave reviews for his previous work in government) has already said there will be a raft of executive orders awaiting President Biden on January 20. They’ll include securing the status of the DACA recipients, reentering the Paris Climate Accords, and rolling back a number of anti-environmental regulations.

Giridharadas notes that The American Prospect recently published “277 Policies for Which Biden Need Not Ask Permission,” based on the results of the Biden-Sanders unity task force. 

In a Twitter talk linked to his article (worth watching if you have access to Twitter), Giridharadas said he’d interviewed American historian Jill Lepore, who observed that FDR used small things that bought him space for bigger things. 

Giridharadas says Biden could “bring people together to build locally powered community projects with local problem-solving.”

But he also points out that there are now policies that appeal to both parties “thanks to the heterodoxy of Trumpism.” (Interesting to find something positive linked to that guy, isn’t it?) One of them is a wealth tax a la Elizabeth Warren, which polls well with Republican voters, though not with their elected officials. 

A tax on those with $400,000 income may not resonate with people making $100,000, who like to think they may reach that threshold.

But a tax on billionaires? Well, since most people see such status beyond their reach, they could go along with that—especially if it were called “The Patriot’s Tax,” or something similar.

Giridharadas suggests, quite wisely, that a lot has to do with using appropriate verbiage in naming such initiatives.

Other possible efforts:

“Using the Department of Justice to crack down on monopolies and threats from China has some bipartisan support. As does actual infrastructure investment and, to a limited extent, raising the minimum wage.”

Another critically important move is to “build a down-ballot pipeline” through a 50-state strategy. Lack of attention to this party-building necessity is something for which Obama has been faulted. It must be done starting now.

“To the extent that, for the next two years, divided government severely limits the sort of public action that progressives dreamed about in their 2020 primaries, Mr. Biden could use his office to create task forces that normalize and build a public consensus for more significant small-d democratic changes to American politics achievable only down the road.”

How Will the President Employ His Skills?

“Despite our divisions, Mr. Biden could use the bully pulpit to bring the country together. He could promote local projects of dialogue and reconciliation, and continue to hold genuinely bipartisan town halls throughout his term.”

Giridharadas then talks of what he calls Biden’s tendency to “elevate personal kindness over systemic justice” and asks what will matter to him more: “the radiation of personal decency or the pursuit of structural fairness?”

He believes the President-elect has shown his adaptability to the circumstances he’s facing. He compares Biden to Lyndon Johnson, “a longtime senator and a vice president less charismatic than the president he served and succeeded who, nevertheless, became more consequential…,” stressing Biden’s personal “folksy, median-voter-friendly patois, that ‘C’mon, man’ Americana vibe.”

Giridharadas gives the last word to former Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and because I think it’s both astute and encouraging, I will too.

“Joe Biden’s magic is that everything he does becomes the new reasonable. He has shown the ability to move the mainstream of the Democratic Party on issues before. As president, whatever he does, he will bring the whole center with him.”

Your thoughts?

Annie

PS: We must do everything we can to win those two Senate seats. If you can donate even a small amount to Jon Ossoff (electjon.com) and Raphael Warnock (warnockforgeorgia.com), please do. And if you can do work such as phone calls (and donate), contact fairfight.com, the organization the amazing Stacey Abrams formed that has powered the changes that enabled Joe Biden to win Georgia in this election.

Continue reading ““Joe Biden’s Magic” -or- What Can We Expect From the New President?”

Two Important Lessons About Our Silence in the Presence of Racist Jokes

Paul Scanlon is a motivational speaker in England.

 

While I’m sure that few of us actually tell racist jokes at this point, how do/would we react if we were in a situation where we realized that one was about to be told? The importance of Scanlon’s message can’t be sufficiently underscored as we grapple with the systemic racism that has finally become more widely apparent at this pivotal juncture in our national life.

In speaking of white solidarity and white social capital, Scanlon makes observations that I find critically important.  We must not be silent. We must speak up–knowing we will feel uncomfortable and may lose “social capital.”

Scanlon’s talk brought me back a few decades to another instance of harmful humor, albeit not racial in nature. At that time, I sat with a group of office colleagues who were making “gay” jokes. I recall my discomfort at remaining silent.

Not long after that, one of our colleagues “came out” publicly, and I felt ashamed that I hadn’t ended a conversation that must have been deeply hurtful to him.

I feel confident that it doesn’t dilute the focus on the heinous original sin of slavery that still haunts us and demands redress at last to expand the discussion of what I view as the abusive application of humor.

It seems obvious that there is also personal harm–and often different but important historical relevance–applicable to any “joke” that is designed to depict the “other” and to separate the joke’s target from the rest of us mortals in a derogatory way: anti-gay jokes, anti-Semitic jokes, anti-Muslim jokes, anti-immigrant jokes, anti-Asian jokes, anti-Native American jokes, anti-women jokes, anti-people with disabilities jokes…

None of these jokes can be considered benign when we know that hate crimes are rising–and people are hurting.  And as long as our nation is divided into “us” versus “them,” we are diminished–individually, nationally, internationally.

I am not talking about “in” jokes that people of a particular group tell one another, well aware that they are stereotyping themselves and their group.

Some may feel this sentiment is political correctness carried too far. But can’t we be funny without being cruel?

Annie

Continue reading “Two Important Lessons About Our Silence in the Presence of Racist Jokes”

Dealing With My Anger In The Age of Trump And The Pandemic

Here’s how I would reallyreallyreally like to feel when I think about Donald Trump, his Senate Republican enablers, and the thugs who are using the pandemic to terrorize and strut around with their AR-15s and shotguns:

“Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your neighbors.”

“Do not allow your anger to control your reason, but rather your reason to control your anger.”

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind me, I would still be in prison.”

In other words, I would like to have the heart and patience and wisdom of Nelson Mandela.

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Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

I am—or have been—a conciliator by nature. I’ve never tried to paper over people’s differences of opinion—and how those differences play out in their actions. But I’ve always sought to search for the commonalities among us. 

(This blog began with the goal of finding common ground, and I wrote a post early on explaining why I wouldn’t deal with the Elephant in our national living room. But when babies were put into cages and other offenses defying human decency became evident, I found that orientation unsustainable. I’d love to get back to it at some point.)

Through practicing the lovingkindness aspect of meditation, I still try to wish us all well—everyone and every living thing. Even…this President and his enablers. But I repeatedly fall short. Extremely short. Earth to Saturn kind of short.

What to make of all this? I just listened to another tenpercenthappier.com meditation (I’d written about these helpful sessions previously) in which Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher, explored the various ramifications of anger in our current bizarre environment. 

“Anger can be an intelligent emotion,” she said. “It shows us what’s wrong with the world and is a motivation for action.” 

I like that assessment. I’d just finished hand-writing a bunch of postcards to Democrats living in a state that will be important to the November election outcome.

These are folks who have spotty voting records, and our purpose is to urge them to sign up for vote-by-mail ballots so they can vote safely and comfortably from their homes. 

It was an annoying task that left me with a neck ache and cramped fingers, but I’ll be doing it every week because—as I wrote repeatedly on those cards—“the stakes are very high; protect our democracy.” 

That concrete action, multiplied by all the volunteers doing it, could have an impact. So perhaps when I’m so engaged, my reason controls my anger.

Some months ago, I printed on this blog the contact info for all the Class of 2018 Democratic members of Congress who had won in swing districts and then bravely voted for impeachment, knowing they could be jeopardizing their reelection. 

These courageous souls are now being targeted for defeat by the Republican National Committee. I was encouraging people to send them donations and/or volunteer with their campaigns. (If you’re interested, you can find the list here.)

.One of my friends from across the aisle let me know he thinks there’s something underhanded about dabbling in politics beyond one’s own district.

But since the voters in the targeted state will play a significant role in a decision that will ultimately affect my family and me directly, I have zero qualms about such efforts. 

Selassie also talks about “taking action without taking sides.”  That brought me up short. How do we do that? A viewer at the end of her session asked that very question:

How can we not take sides when our politics are so polarizing?

Selassie’s answer was that this is a perfect time for us to recognize our interconnection. “One thread over here can unravel on the other side of the world,” she said. 

Pondering our interconnection, which I do from time to time, provides a welcome respite from ranting. It happens when I disagree with my friend from across the aisle. I get angry, but I know he’s a good person with strong values who just happens to view the world differently.

When I get angry–furious, really–at the terrible toll this pandemic is taking because of our dreadful national leadership, I also think about all the generosity and kindness shown by individuals helping others—solid evidence of our interconnections.

I just read an article that I think exemplifies Selassie’s point about interconnections. A 13-year-old Israeli Jewish boy was gravely wounded in 2002 when he stepped on a land mine. Until last year, he was in agony, his foot constantly feeling as though it was on fire. 

Then, at age 31, after years of harboring hatred for the Arabs for what they’d done to him, he was operated on by a Palestinian Arab surgeon, an expert in the intricate nerve pathways involved in his injury. 

The surgery was a complete success, and a bond has formed between surgeon and patient. (This story is considerably more complicated; if you want to read the details, click here.)

Selassie points out that if we look beneath our anger, we see the fear, anxiety, and grief that’s there. And I know that’s true too.

But we needn’t banish our anger, she says; we can accept it, checking in with our bodies to make sure we’re not permitting the anger to turn into the constant stress that we know can be so damaging.

(A quick inventory would involve relaxing tense shoulders, clenched jaws, tight stomach, and the like.)

So I realize I can hold two concepts simultaneously. One is that it’s important to focus on all the people who have chosen to demonstrate their better selves at this critical time for all humanity. 

The other is that I am channeling my anger into actions that I hope will ultimately result in the removal of the forces I find so terribly destructive. Anger leading to action: that feels just right.

Donald Trump and his enablers won’t be with us forever. I remain hopeful that in the near future, the lessons of this pandemic will lead to competent government delivering a much stronger safety net. 

We’ll always have our differences, but they’ll be less raw if people are less fearful and anxious about their economic insecurity and lack of healthcare. I believe we can reduce the tensions that have been worsening our political polarity.

It seems appropriate to end with another nod to Nelson Mandela:

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

Annie

Continue reading “Dealing With My Anger In The Age of Trump And The Pandemic”

Some Positive Thoughts…and Actions to Save the House of Representatives

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Image courtesy of pikrepo.com

After watching the pre-Nevada caucus Democratic debate, I began writing this post with feelings of frustration approaching despair. There were many things to criticize, and I was emptying my angst onto this page, and thus preparing to send it on to you. 

With the latest evidence—which we already knew—from the Intelligence briefing to the House that reiterated Russian meddling in the 2020 election, which was followed by the President’s replacement of the acting intelligence chief with someone with less than zero qualifications for the job, I cannot and will not deny that we are living in increasingly perilous times. See The New York Times article here.

The question I’ve been pondering is this: as we search for someone who is best able to defeat Donald Trump, how do we handle ourselves? And that question makes me feel more closely attuned to my more optimistic, better self—the one that really believes we can find common ground. 

What brought me to this more positive place? Meditation helps, but my “recovery” was nurtured by a very calming, cogent newsletter that a friend who had just subscribed to forwarded to me. Its author, RB Hubbell, is based in California. The daily newsletter is free and can be obtained by sending your email address to rbhubbell@gmail.com.

A Voice of Reason

I don’t know how large Hubbell’s subscriber list is, but he began his discussion of the aftermath of the debate by saying his inbox had “exploded” with emails that “exhibited a level of angst, anger, and disgust I have not seen before.” 

He then said he wanted to share readers’ reactions, because he’s been told that hearing from others helps his readers “ground their feelings and test their own reactions to this crazy mess in which we find ourselves.”

There’s nothing wildly original about Hubbell’s message or his readers’ reactions. Maybe I was just ready to hear his words, but they hit me exactly right. Here’s a sampling:

“Before we get to the details, let’s say the important things first: We must stick together. We are on the same side. If we do not stand together, we will fall together. Whatever passion or disappointment or anger you feel, it cannot cause you to withdraw from the process or give in to feelings of hopelessness or lash out in anger at fellow Democrats. We are facing a grave threat to democracy. Our personal preferences for president are subordinate to the need to ensure the election of the Democratic nominee—whoever he or she is.

“A secondary point is the need to focus on the long-term. Yesterday’s debate was freighted with expectations and led to disappointment. Accept that fact and move on. We can’t freak out every time something bad happens; otherwise, we won’t make it to the Democratic convention in July, much less the general election in November. If ever there was a time in our history when we needed to toughen-up, hunker-down, and keep our eyes on the horizon, now is that moment.”

It’s Okay to Withdraw, But Not for Long

Hubbell’s readers include many people who told him they’d withdrawn from the fray for the sake of their mental health. I can relate to that feeling. My last three posts were about goldfinches and squirrels; solar railways and my carbon BigFootprint, and guidance on comforting the sick and dying. 

But I knew I had to return to politics because this is an “all hands on deck” moment. 

Interestingly, although Hubbell probably wouldn’t reveal his preferred candidate under any circumstances, he notes that he’s mostly filled out his own ballot for the California primary but has not yet determined which candidate he’ll support.

He concludes in a way that ties in with my primary objective with this post, referencing a Twitter thread by Walter Shaub, the former Director of the Office of Government Ethics (when there was such a working institution in our government!). A “snippet”: 

“ Take Action. Any action. It’s not big things that will save us. It’s persistent small actions carried out by one individual, and another, and another and another across the nation…Make a very small donation, even just a dollar, to something, sign up to volunteer for one hour, go learn how to register voters.”

I wish I could include the entire thread because there’s lots of wisdom there. If you’re on Twitter, go to @waltshaub and you can read through it.

A Valuable Way to Make a Difference

Many of us have been repeatedly sending money to the Presidential candidate(s) of our choice. That’s important. But my action at the moment is to focus our attention on the House of Representatives. We must, must, must maintain the Democratic majority in the House. 

All the members of the Class of 2018, those moderates in either swing districts or districts that Trump won, have been targeted for extinction—in good measure because they flipped formerly Republican seats AND had the courage to vote for impeachment. Many won by a single vote.

They are among the more than 50 House members being targeted for defeat by the National Republican Campaign Committee. According to Roll Call, the NRCC Chairman, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, enunciated the slogan the Congressional Republicans plan to run on:

“Freedom or socialism—that’s the choice in 2020.”

These targeted Democrats need our help, as their opposition is often flooded with cash and a revved up base. I’m listing their names, districts, and web sites in the hope that if you feel strongly that it is imperative to retain a Democratic-controlled House, you’ll be able to support their reelections in whatever way you can, including volunteering and importantly by contributing, no matter how small the amount.

In addition to donating to them directly, in most cases you can also go through ActBlue. I’m planning to work my way down the list, eventually giving modest donations to all of them.

Remember: each one of these individuals did what he or she believed was right for this country and upheld that oath—knowing that vote might well end their careers.

Let’s begin with the seven brave souls—all with national security backgrounds—whose OpEd in the Washington Post was instrumental in changing Nancy Pelosi’s mind about the need for an impeachment inquiry. They are:

*Gil Cisneros (CA-39): cisnerosforcongress.com

*Jason Crow (CO-06): jasoncrowforcongress.com

*Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06): chrissyhoulahanforcongress.com

*Elaine Luria (VA-02): elaineforcongress.com

*Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11): mikiesherrill.com

*Elissa Slotkin (MI-08): elissaforcongress.com

*Abigail Spanberger (VA-02): abigailspanberger.com

Here are the others:

*Cheri Bustos (IL-17): cheribustos.com [NOTE: the current Democratic Congressional Committee Chair]

*Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01): tomohalleran.com

*Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-02): kirkpatrickforcongress.com

*Josh Harder (CA-10): harderforcongress.com

*TJ Cox (CA-21): tjcoxforcongress.com

*Katie Porter (CA-45): KatiePorter.com (I’ll explain my bolding below.)

*Harley Rouda (CA-48): harleyforcongress.com

*Mike Levin (CA-49): mikelevin.org

*Stephanie Murphy (FL-07): stephaniemurphyforcongress.com

*Charlie Crist (FL-13): charliecrist.com

*Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26): debbiemucarselpowell.com

*Donna E. Shalala (Fl-27): donnashalala.com

*Lucy McBath (GA-06): lucyforcongress.com 

*Lauren Underwood (IL-14): underwoodforcongress.com

*Sean Casten (IL-06): castenforcongress.com

*Dave Loebsack (IA-02): loebsackforcongress.com

*Cindy Axne (IA-03): cindyaxneforcongress.com

*Abby Finkenauer (IA-01): abbyfinkenauer.com

*Sharice Davids (KS-03): shariceforcongress.com

*Haley Stevens (MI-11): HaleyStevensForCongress.com

*Angie Craig (MN-02): angiecraig.com

*Dean Phillips (MN-03): phillipsforcongress.org

*Susie Lee (NV-03): susieleeforcongress.com

*Steven Horsford (NV-04): stevenhorsford.com

*Chris Pappas (NH-01): chrispappas.org

*Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05): josh4congress.com

*Andy Kim (NJ-03): andykimforcongress.com

*Tom Malinowski (NJ-07): malinowskifornj.com

*Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02): xochforcongress.com

*Anthony Brindisi (NY-09): brindisiforcongress.com

*Max Rose (NY-11): maxroseforcongress.com

*Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18): seanmaloney.com

*Antonio Delgado (NY-19): delgadoforcongress.com

*Kendra Horn (OK-05): kendrahornforcongress.com

*Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04): defazioforcongress.org 

*Susan Wild (PA-07): wildforcongress.com

*Matt Cartwright (PA-08): cartwrightforcongress.com

*Conor Lamb (PA-17): conorlamb.com

*Joe Cunningham: (SC): joecunninghamforcongress.com

*Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07): lizziefletcher.com

*Ben McAdams (UT): benmcadams.com

*Jennifer Wexton (VA-10): jenniferwexton.com

*Kim Schrier (WA-08): drkimschrier.com

*Ron Kind (WI): ronkind.org

*Christy Smith (CA-25): christyforcongress.org

[update: Christy Smith is running for the seat vacated by Katie Hill. Though she wasn’t in Congress for the impeachment vote, she is being targeted–hard. This is a hard-fought effort to retain a Democratic seat that needs money and votes immediately–before May 14th!] 

__________________

Note: Jared Golden (ME-02): jaredgoldenforcongress.com has also been targeted by the Republicans, but the Democrats aren’t happy with him either: He voted to impeach the President on Article 1, but not for obstruction of Congress.

Missing from my version of the list is Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), who switched his party affiliation and is now a Republican.

On this list of valuable legislators, one who has impressed me deeply is Katie Porter of California, who asks the tough questions and seems fearless in speaking truth to power. She is under particularly strong attack. I believe it is extremely important that her voice continues to be heard in Congress; thus, I’ve highlighted her information.

I’ll conclude with RB Hubbell’s closing remarks in the newsletter issue I referred to above:

We are in the fight of our lives, but we are in it together. That should give us all comfort.”

That fight demands that we act positively and don’t despair. And make sure you’re  registered to vote!

Annie

Continue reading “Some Positive Thoughts…and Actions to Save the House of Representatives”

OBFUS-GATE: An Exploration of Our National Crisis (Even Worse: It’s In Verse!)

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US Constitution image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

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American flag image courtesy of needpix.com

In April I cited Barr’s antics
The AG was quietly frantic
The Mueller Report
Was a strong retort
To the “Trump did no wrong” semantics.

But Bill-Barr knew why he’d been hired
And sensing the public was tired:
“There’s nothing,” said he—
“No conspiracy”
So the Truth into muck became mired.

Yet ONE DAY after Mueller appeared
The President moved into high gear
With an unbowed head
To Ukraine’s Prez said:
If you want all that aid to be cleared…

…There’s a favor I’d like you to do
Some people you gotta look into
You’ll investigate
And all will be great—
Maybe a White House visit for you.

Zelensky had quite the dilemma
With Putin evoking some tremors
He’d sought to be straight
’Twas his winning mandate
But U.S. demands were bad karma.

So why should Ukraine cause our fussin’?
Our ally’s a bulwark v. Russians
We gave them our word
Worldwide it was heard
It’s their safety and ours we’re discussin’.

Just in time someone blows a whistle
And justice’s wheels start to sizzle
The hearings begin
The experts weigh in
And Light shone on lies makes them fizzle.

But here come the intractable foes
Who back Trump from his head to his toes
They can’t argue facts
So they take a worse tack
And pretend that the Emperor has clothes.

Now we’ve entered the land of impeach
With the Dems set to not overreach
Two articles cite
The President’s blight
And his large Constitutional breach.

The facts tell a quite simple story:
Abused power for his own glory
For Congress contempt
No defense will attempt
To challenge except with lies hoary…

…Or red herring complaints like this call:
“Why the rush when we’ve not heard from all?”
With subpoenas defied,
Delays far and wide,
These “bad processes” tales are quite tall.

There is reason to move with dispatch
The President’s acts must be watched
His lawyer’s abroad
To promote more fraud,
Our election’s integrity they’ll snatch.

But the country’s sadly divided
With false stories, hard truth’s derided
We’ve so much at stake
We must stay awake
And try to engage those misguided.

I shall now add a Bill-Barr return
He’s in mischief I can’t quite discern
He’ll make a report
Next spring—of some sort
That is likely to cause great concern.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this move
‘Cause its purpose will clearly behoove
Us to promptly react
And to counter with facts
So the falsities don’t gain a groove.

It’s a time our decisions must fit
With the words of Ben Franklin—to wit:
When asked what we’ve got
Republic or Monarchy, he shot:
“A Republic—if you can keep it!”

Note: I leave my rhyme to turn to the prescient words of Alexander Hamilton, which my blogging colleague Brookingslib used to conclude a terrific post on the topic:

“When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”’

Finally, as stated by Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. in his testimony before Congress, by Constitutional law experts Michael Gerhardt and Lawrence Tribe, and by others:

“If this [the Ukraine scandal] isn’t impeachable, nothing is.”

Annie