by Johnnie Grant –
As I ponder what is happening in America, I’m continually bombarded with the musings of Donald Trump and how he wants to make America “great again.”
The descriptor “great again” is a statement that many recognize as “white code.”
Every day brings a new revelation of soap-opera drama that forces us to rethink our future realities. Fundamen-tally, provocateurs have always intentionally activated latent biases without explicitly talking about race. It’s a resentment based on a false premise that equal opportunities for others means less opportunity for them; that progress for some means a loss for everyone else. Make no mistake, this behavior is xenophobic, reckless, irresponsible, disenfranchising, and egregious.
It’s essential therefore, to weigh out the objectives of whether the US Constitution and Bill of Rights represent all of “we the people,” or if they’re intended for only a select few.
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader since 2015, admits there are more than 400 House bills on his desk that he will never bring to a vote. He refuses to take up important bipartisan bills that help hard-working American families; a true representation for ALL people regardless of race, national origin, religious beliefs, or political preference.
There are Five Economic Essentials that will actually “make America great again:”
- Keep workers safe, healthy, and secure in their workplaces, and earning a living wage.
- Keep earned pensions, Social Security (including Disability Insurance), and benefits—including shares in profits—properly funded and guaranteed as promised.
- Keep state and local governments, public schools, the US Postal Service, and other necessary public services solvent and working.
- Keep Americans healthy—protect and expand health insurance for all people.
- Keep America competitive, through public investments in public services, education, research and development, and infrastructure.
The bills passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the US Senate include:
- H.R. 1, For The People Act, to restore confidence in our democracy, including by cracking down on dark money in campaigns;
- H.R. 3, Lower Drug Costs Now Act, sweeping legislation to dramatically reduce drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies; making lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries; and stopping drug companies from ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs;
- H.R. 4, Voting Rights Advancement Act, to finally restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act after the disastrous 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision;
- H.R. 5, Equality Act, to finally and fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans;
- H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act, to provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence (and eventual citizenship) to those who have lived most of their lives in this country, including Dreamers and TPS and DED holders;
- H.R. 7, Paycheck Fairness Act, to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work;
- H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a commonsense measure to require background checks for all gun sales, closing the gun show and online loopholes;
- H.R. 9, Climate Action Now Act, to ensure that the US honors our commitments on climate action detailed in the Paris Climate Agreement;
- H.R. 987, Protecting People With Pre-Existing Conditions/Lowering Drug Costs, an omnibus bill that includes several provisions to strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions, end ACA sabotage, and bring down drug costs;
- H.R. 582, Raise the Wage Act, to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, increasing the pay of up to 33 million hard-working Americans;
- H.R. 1585, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, a strong improvement and long-term reauthorization of VAWA;
- H.R. 1644, Save The Internet Act, to protect the free and open internet for all;
- H.R. 2722, Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, to strengthen our election defenses against foreign attack;
- H.R. 1112, Enhanced Background Checks, to close the Charleston loophole.
In addition, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will lose 10% or more of their autonomous rights—the right to choose.
What we are experiencing is a second attempt at the reconstruction of America (similar to the period after the Civil War). Any bad decisions made now will take our country backwards for generations to come. More insidious is that all this is going on while Americans are battling the Coronavirus disease (which has no respect of color), to which over 220,900 people have lost their lives to date.
Underpinning it all—and therefore above all that we are experiencing—is our right to vote; to express our political preferences and determine our own fate.
We cannot remain silent about the fundamental needs of liberty that are recognized in the US Bill of Rights. We cannot sit by as the freedoms that are guaranteed therein are stripped away from us. The right to speak out, and assemble, and petition our government, and enjoy a free press, family, and worship (or not) as we wish—these pursuits of happiness are paramount.
We hold the fate of our existence in our hands with the power of our vote. Do we ignore the pending crisis and suffer in silence? Inaction is complicity, and currently we ARE paying the price.
In the words of Zora Neale Hurston… “If you’re silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it!”
You need to vote—make it a top priority!