Readers' Forum

Save the Senate, end the filibuster

Once we had “Dick Russell’s Dixieland Band.” Russell was the Democratic senator from Georgia who for decades orchestrated filibusters and delays that headed off any legislation that carried a whiff of challenge to white supremacy. The band killed federal anti-lynching and anti-poll-tax legislation. It fought and watered down 1942 and 1944 soldier vote legislation because some members of the Greatest Generation were Black and might vote in, say, Georgia. They gutted a comprehensive civil-rights bill in 1956. A 1957 version was finally passed. It was toothless, thanks to Russell’s obstructionists.

Now we have Mitch McConnell’s GOP Glee Club singing the praises of the filibuster. They proudly hold it up as a sword to protect the minority. There’s the standard line we regularly hear about those who don’t learn from history are blah, blah, blah ... But the trained parrots in McConnell’s Glee Club have learned from history. They slaver over the chance to repeat history, Sen. Russell style, through obstructionism and filibusters.

As is so often the case, Lincoln said it best: “Unanimity is impossible,” he explained, “the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy, or despotism in some form, is all that is left.”

Democrats in the Senate should do all within their power to end the filibuster.

— Gary W. Daily, Terre Haute

A letter of thanks to President Biden

Dear Joe:

I am writing this letter to thank you for your policies since you became president. Thank you for my COVID relief stimulus money. With this money I tried to stimulate the economy by purchasing a couple of handguns and I even had enough money left over to buy some ammunition.

Thank you for your energy policies. I am now paying at least 50 cents per gallon more than I ever paid during the Trump administration. This helps free up traffic on the roads because poor people will no longer be able to afford joy rides, giving me more room to speed and weave in and out of traffic.

Thank you for your open border policies, they allow more diversity in our country. That means I may have the chance to learn a new language from our new neighbors that will be taking away from our lower- and middle-class workers, maybe even making the unions more powerful. Also thank you for being the most transparent president ever. The challenge on the border may make it possible for some lucky right-wing conspiracy photographer a chance to win a Pulitzer.

Thank you for following the science and opening our schools and standing up to some of the radical teachers’ unions. Our children will be thanking you for generations to come.

Thank you for pushing the minimum wage to make it $15 an hour, I hope you are successful. How healthy would that be for fighting obesity, the price of my favorite food from McDonald’s would double and being on a fixed income, maybe I could lose a few pounds.

Thank you for your tax-and-spend policies. Keep the printing presses running at full speed, the more money you can print and spend, the higher the hyper-inflation will be and maybe I will get more money in my Social Security checks. Inflation again hurts those that can least afford it, the poor. Why am I worried? I am not. I am worried for my grandchildren; they are the ones that will be paying the bills.

Thank you for making our once powerful military into an experiment for social justice and making it the laughing stock of our enemies.

I could go on and on, thanking you, but that might give you a bigger ego than you already have. Stay healthy, Uncle Joe, I don’t want to end up writing a letter to laughing girl if anything would happen to you.

— Richard Hoffman, Clinton

Voting rights are the main issue

Syndicate columnist Byron York’s fantasy column went into fantastic fantasies on Friday, March 26, 2021, “generously” bringing a charge of hypocrisy against Democrats. So what does he call the so-called party of high morals and religious faith that supported Trump’s immoral behaviors? There can be no greater hypocrisy than using the term “integrity” to justify the “Jim Crow” law resurrection that the Republicans in 33 states are hatching.

Nonetheless, the filibuster must go, or not. When you are hoping to pass civil rights legislation, clearly the last election is the subject, and the party using the word “integrity” while defending Donald Trump’s insurrection deserves an award for the greatest oxymoron, ever. Yes, Byron, this is about civil rights. In fact, the longest filibuster on record is the one of Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C. — 24 hours and 18 minutes long. It was against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 sponsored by Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas. Two Democrats fighting over the civil rights of minorities and people of color. 

Similarly, Republicans fought over the alleged request of Donald Trump to the Republicans in charge of voting, to “find votes” so that he might win the election in Georgia. This so affected the voters of Georgia that they sent two new Democrat senators back to Washington, D.C., in the place of two Republican incumbents in a runoff election which was not questioned.

Both parties have historically had legislators that support “Jim Crow” type laws. The last four years can leave no reasonable doubt about who supports the voting rights of everyone in both parties, and who does not. Control of voting rights is the issue, not “integrity” because Trump and the Republican leadership which supported him, had no integrity, ever. 

In fact, we all know supporters of voting rights exist in both parties and that is being demonstrated by the charges the prosecutors are poised to bring against Donald Trump. So as the controversy rages, I would support either eliminating the filibuster and never bringing it back, or forcing the minority opposition to demonstrate their positions in the most painful way possible. 

We have some attention-seeking senators such as Cruz, Hawley and Paul who deserve to be completely ignored. We know who they are very well.

There is no place for obstruction such as that demonstrated by Moscow Mitch McConnell, and if the minority party does it, it should hurt them now and in their next election as well if their actions are not popular.

The laws that are passed will exemplify where the heart and soul of our politicians lie, and they will be unable to hide.

— John Garner, Terre Haute

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