Training our eyes on the prize

Dear President Biden,

What a frothy, weird, unsavory, hopeful jumble the headlines are this morning. We’ve got everything from the half dozen stories about the numerous ground-shifting positives of the American Rescue Plan to lamentations about the past year since the WHO declared the COVID-19 pandemic to stories about the GOP and their mouthpieces grasping at straws. It would be interesting to be in the rooms where different think tank groups are talking about the swirl of information that’s coming out now and to hear what the more liberal and the more conservative (and the arch conservative) people think it means and what is worrying them.

From here, in my tiny corner of the world, it looks like you and your administration are seriously getting down to business and that you’re using government to serve the people who have not only been left behind by the economy, but who have historically been willfully discarded or even crushed by it. The idea that the child tax credit will lift millions of children out of poverty is powerful and definitely plays well. However, I have to ask, are some of those funds going to be used to get the unaccompanied minor children out of the border prisons they’ve been stuck in for far too long (as in at all) and into safe, healthy situations – ideally with family who are already here? In other words, is your “minister unto the least of these” lens really all the way open? If so, we need to hear about it – even if it triggers more GOP anti-immigrant hate spewing.

From here, in my tiny corner of the world, it also looks like the GOP is madly (meaning both crazily and furiously) casting about for things to keep their base riled up. They’re making it look like they’re so desperate they can’t unstick from the bizarre and ludicrous, centering on plastic toys and racist tales that no one has bothered with in years as well as viciously going after journalists who dare to question them. However, aside from the attacks on journalists – those are serious – all of this is pretty clearly only so much red meat goading for the base and distraction for us liberals to keep us occupied while they hit US with a barrage of 250+ voter suppression bills in 43 states. It’s not unlike the insane number of court cases DJT and his loser team mounted to try and overturn the election – throw enough cooked spaghetti at the wall and maybe something will stick. Unfortunately, there’s a solid chance that a big bunch of those voter suppression bills will find friends in all those gerrymander-enabled GOP state legislatures.

What this boils down to is that we’ve got to pass both HR 1 For The People Act and The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, even if it means doing away with the filibuster or making those GOP senators actually filibuster. We just have to. We can’t let them drag the goal posts backwards and off the cliff.

I know you know this. I’ve read your statements urging the Senate to pass HR 1 (and when the House passes the John Lewis bill, I’m sure you’ll put your weight behind it too) and your recent executive order on voting rights is a good start. I’m just feeling super antsy given all the time we wasted with DJT, the setbacks we suffered under his regime, and the enormity of the issues we collectively face. Basically, we don’t have time for the GOP’s bullshit. We have a planet to save and an almost infinite number of grievous rights to wrong and we don’t need a bunch of insecure wealthy White people who cater to other insecure wealthy White people throwing sand in our eyes (i.e., cheating to stay in power).

So use that savvy. Lean on those smart people around you. Do your thing and get this done.

May our democracy finally be safe.
May we all come around to the wisdom of solid voting rights for everyone.
May we hone a strong focus on what needs doing.
May we not accept any argument for voter disenfranchisement.

Tracy Simpson

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