Political Thoughts by Richard Bleil
The news today contained a story about how Republican Congress members are crying “foul” over a court nomination that Biden advanced. In a vote of 53-44, along party lines, Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed to serve on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (the second circuit appeals court), considered to be the second most powerful court in the nation after the Supreme Court. The Republicans are upset, claiming that Biden is “loading” the court because of her history of opposing voter restrictions, and advocacy for voting rights. The fear is that she is in a position to overturn the plethora of voter restriction laws that have been passed and that are in the process of going through the legislatures of many “red” states still claiming that the election in 2020 was “stolen”. These laws have been shown to disenfranchise minority and socioeconomically depressed populations far more than influential white voters, the voters that Republicans believe will vote for their candidates.
To me, it’s simply unacceptable that the party of Lincoln has turned to such antics to keep their grasp in politics, and it’s the reason that I gave up my official “Republican” party affiliation. It’s not a problem with Republicans per se, but rather with the current incarnation of the party and the philosophy of the current Republican leadership. Although I’ve relatively recently (figure about six or seven years ago) officially withdrawn from the party, I actually have not been able to vote Republican (generally speaking) for much longer than that.
So, now I’m not a Democrat. Yes, you read that correctly. When I dropped my Republican affiliation, I went Independent, not Democratic. The reality is that neither party is golden. As bad as the Republicans have been, the reality is that it started with the Democrats. After the civil war and the emancipation of slaves, it was the Democratic party and representatives that feared the minority vote, and for good reason. Surely former slaves would favor the party, the Party of Lincoln, who gave them their freedom in the voting booth. The Democratic party, then, were the ones who were largely behind the Jim Crow laws, designed specifically to prevent these newly freed slaves from voting.
Today, the party behind the Jim Crow laws of voter restrictions are championing freedom to vote, and the party of Lincoln is fighting to minimize and restrict the minority vote. I can’t tell if this is ironic or hypocritical, but it’s not really surprising either. The Republican Party was created to protect bankers and businesses, while the Democratic Party was designed for the rest of the people. Today, backed by laws pushed through by Republicans, the divide between the classes is larger than it had ever been, those with lower income is picking up more of the tax burden than the wealthy (including corporations), and corporations are showing their immorality by accepting tax breaks and free (and forgivable) loans while still laying off workers. Even those who have not been laid off are paid minimum wage which is so low that they are forced to work two or even three jobs just to keep up with inflation. It’s no wonder that more minorities are voting Democratic, but, I cannot forget the pendulum of history.
The reality is that both parties have one and only one priority; to keep their jobs. The socioeconomic class that will likely vote the “other way” have been targets since, well, the emancipation proclamation. Me? I’m an American. I believe everybody should get a vote (one person, one vote), and they should all be counted equally. This is democracy, plain and simple, dating back to the ancient Greeks where all citizens would sit on a hill and vote by raising their hands. Oh, to be able to go back to such a simple concept. And as an American, I intend to remain vigilant, watching politicians and laws, and resisting, to the best of my ability (which is very little influence at all as an individual) anything that strikes me as unfair.
Mind you, it’s not always an easy task. In another recent court case, the moratorium against evicting people who cannot afford rent has been upheld. This is great news for people who truly cannot afford to pay because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and yet, at over ten billion dollars of loss a month, it hurts landlords like my friends who tried to get into the game at, unfortunately, just the wrong time. But I can tell you this; knowing that politicians from both parties are more influenced by how to get votes than they are morality or the American ideal, I remain an Independent voter.