What's On Our Mind ...
On Thursday, the GOP members in the Senate used a procedural move to block debate and obstruct voting on a bill that would enact voting protections into Federal law. The bill would make it harder for the GOP to purge voter rolls and prevent minorities from voting. It would also standardize voting access in all states.
In blocking the debate, the GOP silenced the Senate’s great and powerful voice and acted in contravention of over two centuries of democratic traditions.
Debates are the emblem of Congress. Members come from across the country to the House and Senate with varied backgrounds and constituents who have just as diverse concerns. When Members of Congress gather at the Capitol, there should be a free flow of ideas and speech on how to improve our country for all.
Free, open debates, even if heated, are the hallmark of our democracy.
In February 1787, Congress decided that there should be a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first constitution. When the Constitutional Convention began, debate erupted over representation in Congress and the new executive branch.
The debates continued for four months. But eventually, the delegates reached a compromise and produced the U.S. Constitution. Without the arguing, wrangling, and emotional discourses, this great document — the blueprint for our country — never would have been produced.
Senate debate does not always end in success. In 1919 after nearly 60 days of debate, the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I and created the League of Nations. Still, at least they discussed it.
One of the most contentious debates in Senate history happened in 1964 over the Civil Rights Act. It is considered one of Congress' most influential pieces of legislation. The act banned discrimination based on race, religion, sex, and national origin. It was, ironically, the GOP that ended the filibuster on the bill and forced a vote.
Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey said, “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.”
Voters will remember the GOP’s actions to silence the sounds of freedom. We need to vote them out and elect JAC candidates. Elections have consequences.
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Sources: CNN, Constitutional Rights Foundation