Dear President Biden,
Laura’s brother visited us this past weekend to celebrate her birthday. He lives in Atlanta now and at one point yesterday afternoon he remarked that the rainstorm we were having sure didn’t seem like Seattle rain, that it was much more like Atlanta rain since it was pretty much a deluge. And that was just the prelude – it absolutely dumped here all night. Weirdly, the National Weather Service indicated that there was either “light rain” or “overcast” all night last night at SeaTac airport. I don’t know whether they are completely out to lunch or they’ve recalibrated their rating system to account for global warming, but the rain was coming down in sheets and it was loud. Maybe there were pockets of “light rain” in the area, but where we live the rain that fell was definitely not light and it was not conducive to relaxed, restful sleep.
So, as is probably obvious to you, mounting signs of global warming here in the maritime Pacific Northwest form the backdrop for today’s letter. In the foreground, is Joe Manchin, aka Mitch Manchin (see Paul Waldman’s WP editorial about how seamlessly Mitch McConnell’s plans are falling into place with Joe Manchin at the rudder) and his absolutely infuriating refusal to deal with reality. Joe Manchin doesn’t seem to understand that he needs voters who are actual Democrats to vote for him if he wants to keep his job and that by completely and utterly making it impossible for his colleagues in Congress to protect voting rights, he’s alienating himself from his own key constituency.
Plus, he’s making your trip to Europe to meet with the other G-7 leaders a heck of a lot harder for you. How in the world can you have any credibility with them when Joe Manchin is handing over the reins to Mitch McConnell? How can you pretend that the US is once again the standard bearer for democracy when we’ve got this obstructionist turkey dealing the plutocratic GOP all the aces? It seems pretty insane from here – especially when we have so many huge life and death issues looming (e.g., climate change, police reform, systemic racism, health disparities, inadequate healthcare, loss of reproductive rights, houselessness, poverty, income inequality, etc.) and we’ve only got this tiny little window of time in which to legislatively address them and the lynchpin of voting rights.
I know you and your team won’t use the strong arm tactics that your predecessor used (and is still using) to get order in the ranks, but have you had a heart to heart with the other Joe that lays out how profoundly not in his own (or anyone else’s) best interests his choices are on all this? Please don’t leave anything on the table with this one. And even if something didn’t work last week, this is a new week – try it again.
If Mitch McConnell gets back into his preferred position of Czar of the Universe, not only is your presidential legacy going to be thoroughly hosed, but your grandchildren aren’t going to be very happy or healthy campers in 20 years. You likely won’t be around to have to see it, and I may well not be here either, but they almost certainly will be and so will my daughter. They will all be living in a world none of us want to imagine and they will almost certainly have given up on grand collective efforts like government because no one was able to talk sense into a Senator from West Virginia.
This can’t stand.
We must get Manchin (and Sinema) to stop with the bogus bipartisanship crap and get real about the danger democracy is facing and the very real, very dire consequences to all of us if democracy dies.
May we all be safe.
May we all be willing to get real about what is happening to our country.
May someone convince Joe Manchin that sometimes changing one’s mind is a sign of strength.
May we accept that we aren’t in a position to preen about our wonderful democracy. To anyone.