As I keep repeating, and I’ll keep on repeating, May 16 is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania, and wherever you are, please get out there and vote. There are many powerful forces out there, using abusive laws and physical violence, which have for a long time, and continue to, try to steal from us this most powerful tool of democracy.
So many conservative forces, mainly located around the Republican Party—and the Democratic Party has had its sellouts (I’m looking at YOU, Kyrsten Sinema!)—have given up the idea of using the democratic process to persuade voters as to why voters should vote for them, and have used such tricks as gerrymandering of legislative districts, voter ID laws, and laws for placement of drop-off boxes, to try to discourage voters from voting.
It’s important to vote and be conscious about the situation in your community—that is WOKE, and it’s not a dirty word, it’s a necessity in the world—after the Republican-dominated Tennessee House of Representatives held votes to remove three Democratic members—Justin Jones, Justin Pierson, and Gloria Johnson—for their support of students in the chamber protesting the legislature’s willful inaction following the shooting and deaths at the Covenant Christian school in Nashville, where three children and three adults were killed. (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/school-shooting-tennessee-leaves-multiple-injured-shooter-dead-officia-rcna76841) And as always, there was the usual “thoughts and prayers” business, where anything, except the availability of military-grade assault rifles on the civilian market, is the cause of the deaths.
But these young people in Nashville weren’t having it; they showed greater maturity than the “adults” in the legislature, by walking out and demonstrating in the chamber galleries and hallway. (https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2023/04/kids-are-still-in-body-bags-students-protest-tennessee-house-gop-for-refusing-to-address-gun-violence-after-nashville/) The three members of the House—Jones, Pierson, and Johnson—showed support for the young people; but the republicans ruling the House voted to expel Jones and Pierson, and Johnson escaped expulsion by one vote. (Jones and Pierson are young African-American men, and Johnson is a white woman—don’t tell ME racism had nothing to do about it!)
Here’s a fact we must remember; one of the Republican members of the Tennessee House who voted to expel Jones and Pierson, Scotty Campbell, resigned after it was revealed that he sexually harassed a teenaged female intern. (https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/21/us/tennessee-house-rep-scotty-campbell-resigns/index.html) Campbell used the excuse that Jones and Pierson violated the “Decorum” of the House by participating in the demonstration, while Campbell violated the House’s rules on discrimination and harassment. Again, the vote against Jones and Pierson had nothing to do with “decorum” or maintaining order in the chamber, it was about repressing any discussion about firearms running rampant throughout the country.
What is it with the Republicans in state legislators and Congress? Are they so isolated in their doctrinal bubble that they’re ignorant of what the people they’re purported to represent really think, about guns, LGBTQ issues, racial issues on our history, for example? Are they so damned secure in their gerrymandered seats that they could count on the suckers and rubes they see voters as to keep voting for them? So corrupted by donations from the oil lobby and the NRA? So ignorant that they believe the raving maniacs at school board meetings, transported to those meetings by “Astroturf” groups paid for by corporate cash, are the REAL America?
The battle of the Federal Budget goes on. Economic experts predict severe economic disaster if the federal budget is not approved by summer—the Stock Market falling, unemployment rampant. Congress could agree to raise the debt ceiling, but the Republican-dominated House, under the “Speakership” of Kevin McCarthy, is demanding changes in Medicaid, which is aimed towards older American (like myself, full disclosure), such as greater work requirements. ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/medicaid-work-requirement_n_6442e175e4b04997b5717a38) They also are aiming at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, the forerunner to Food Stamps, which helped me a lot too).
McCarthy’s plan would be to require recipients of Medicaid—seniors, retirees, people with physical problems—to work 20 hours a week for their benefits; Matt Gaetz, the hair-boy from Florida, is demanding it be 30 hours a week. Again, poor, working-class, and low-income people are the punching bags in discussions about the Budget, and they get lectured about their spending habits and work ethic. But they don’t dare go after the tax cuts that they have accumulated over the years, such as the ones under t—-p; and I’m sorry to say, the news media needs to pay more attention to that too. But low-income and working-class people don’t have thousand-dollar an hour lobbyists schmoozing Congress-members, treating them to dinner, taking them to high-end resorts and brothels, it’s the trillion-dollar corporate entities hiring the lobbyists.
As for the “work requirements” that seniors and the infirm have to do under McCarthy’s plan—it’s not about instilling a “work ethic” on “those lazy welfare leeches,” as the right-wing pundits would put it—the oil industry, plus savings and loan companies, and mortgage companies, have long been bailed out by taxpayer dollars, thus being the HUGHEST welfare queens; it’s about re-creating a pool of impoverished people who would bring down the wages of people who still have jobs (for now) and preventing them from going out on strike for better wages, since, the capitalists believe, they could grab any dude off the street and they would take whatever the company decides to throw at them.
Plus, the social safety net offers a bit of independence and breathing space while the unemployed look for jobs. The conservative propaganda machine bleats about “ending people’s dependence on welfare,” while making working and low-income people dependent on the same billionaire class that traditionally controlled our government, in all its entities, and the media, including in some cases (I’m sorry to say) academia, which million–dollar donations to universities.
This is where WE, the working people and ow-income people of America, come in. we must band together to educate ourselves on these issues, and realize the dark-skinned people down the road aren’t our enemies; neither are the same-sex couples, the drag queens reading to kids in the library. Division between us is their main weapon against us, having us freaked out about things other than the corporate classes grip on our government and our nation. We must organize, in the neighborhoods and the worksites, to advance our rights and our well-being. We’ve done it in the past, and we’ll do it again, in the present and on into the future.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!