An act of retaliation to get even or to inflict injury in return for perceived mistreatment both describe one thing, REVENGE. Revenge is what Democrats must avoid at all costs if voters bless them on November 3rd with the hat trick of American governance, control of the U.S. House, Senate, and the White House. With all the lying, cheating, and political abuse President Trump and Republicans have inflicted on Democrats, what can Democrats do to resist the temptation of taking revenge disguised as reform???
If the political competition for the last 4 years between Democrats and Republicans were viewed in terms of a boxing match, the political blows Republicans have landed on Democrats have been knock-down punches unfairly thrown after the bell rang to conclude the round. President Trump, Republican Senators, and Republican Congresspersons have been willing to lie, steal, and cheat to insure that only Republican policy initiatives become American law.
Since Republican Senator’s latest abusive action is taking place 8 days before the election and amounts to a potential knock-out blow to a woman’s right to choose, means if Democrats win the White House and control of the Senate in the election, there will be extreme pressure from some Democrats to take revenge on Republicans for all the abusive and unfair actions. Revenge is what Republican Congresspersons and Republican Senators politically deserve but not what the everyday life of Republican citizens deserve. Republican citizens like Democratic citizens deserve competence, ethical leadership, and accomplishments that improve their standard of living not revenge politics.
Improving the standard of living for all Americans must be Democrat’s initial focus if next week’s election gives them the hat trick of complete control of all 3 branches of political power, not taking revenge or retaliation for past Republican wrongs and abuses. While Democrats not taking revenge is considered by some as the morally right thing to do, the best reason not to take revenge is that if Democrats take revenge it will be Republican and Democratic citizens who suffer not Republican politicians.
Unfortunately, there are some early indications that Democrats might end up going down revenge alley. Some Democrats are already saying the first thing they will do if Democrats win control is reform who the Attorney General reports to, reform the Hatch Act to stop a president from using the White House for campaign events, reform the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require a president to release their tax return, reform how many justices serve on the Supreme Court, or reform federal judgeships from lifetime appointments to fixed-year appointments. These are Democrats who will be taking revenge disguised as reform!!!
What reduces these potentially good reforms to mere political revenge and places them at the bottom of the to-do list of any Democrat free of revenge motives, is that they have no immediate impact on the virus-plagued and economically-challenged daily life of American citizens. The citizens whose jobs were killed by Covid-19 and now have lost the $600.00 weekly unemployment assistance can’t eat and pay bills by seeing a president’s tax return, the thousands of Covid-19 shut-down businesses that didn’t get any PPP funds can’t reopen by changing the Supreme Court from 9 justices to 11, and America’s public schools can’t pay to virus-proof their classrooms for a return to normal in-person classroom instruction with fixed-year federal judgeships.
All the aforementioned reforms deserve consideration but merit no attention by Democrats in control of the White House, Congress, and the Senate until they accomplish the following 6 immediate needs 1st:
Virus/Economy-A President Joe Biden, with the support of a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, must immediately assume the role of commanding General of the leaderless Covid-19 virus war so a strong American economy can be restored. Biden must use the Defense Production Act much more aggressively than President Trump has, to ensure that America’s medical community has all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it needs to fight the virus war, to ensure schools, businesses, and churches have all the rapid test kits to test for the virus in all public spaces, and to ensure that all local public health agencies have the tools to conduct contact tracing for everyone who tests positive for the virus.
A Democrat-controlled House and Senate must appropriate the necessary funds to pay for the rapid test kits, all medical expenses for those infected with the virus, contact tracing for everyone who tests positive, financial assistance to help businesses to both reopen and become virus-proof, and restoring the $600.00 weekly unemployment assistance to those who have lost their jobs because of the virus until the virus war is won.
Healthcare-The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) must be strengthened and improved. A President Biden can strengthen Obamacare on day 1 of his presidency by reversing 2 of 3 major blows to Obamacare. Biden should issue an executive order voiding and reversing President Trump’s executive order that ended the annual $7 billion Cost-Sharing-Reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies, which lowered the cost of healthcare by offsetting the cost to insurers offering affordable healthcare plans to poor Americans.
Biden should also issue a 2nd executive order voiding President Trump’s executive order that allowed the return of healthcare insurance rip-off plans that are exempt from many of the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Cheap plans that don’t provide Obamacare’s mandated essential health benefits like mental health care, emergency services, maternity, and newborn care, and prescription drugs. A Democratic-controlled House and Senate should pass legislation that restores the individual health insurance mandate so no one with a preexisting condition can be denied health insurance, adds the public option to Obamacare and incentivizes millennial sign-ups for health insurance plans. For instance, why not create a 75% tax write off of a millennials’ out-of-pocket health care expenditures, since millennials pay more into America’s healthcare system than they take out of it through healthcare treatment, this would help to lower and keep healthcare cost down.
Voting Rights-Whether or not a murder was the intention, that’s what almost occurred in 2013 when the Supreme Court voted 5–4 in Shelby County v. Holder to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Striking it down was a dagger to the heart of the Voting Rights Act, and led to a barrage of new state voter suppression laws across the United States. Section 4 required 9 states with a history of racial discrimination to get pre-clearance from the federal government before making any changes to voting laws or voting procedures. Within 24 hours of the ruling, 3 of the 9 states, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama implemented strict voter photo ID laws that had previously been barred because of 48 years of federal preclearance.
Since the 2013 dagger to the heart, all 9 states have had a significantly higher voter purge rate than the other 41 states, purging over 2 million voters from their voter rolls, and 4 million more voters were purged from all 50 state voter rolls between 2014 and 2016 than between 2006 and 2008. Democrats must resuscitate the Voting Rights Act by restoring Section 4 pre-clearance for all 50 states and not just the previous 9, and add an amendment to the Act that requires the federal government to appoint a commission of non-partisan professionals to draw lines for all the 435 federal House seats based on the Voting Rights Act, population equality and geographic continuity, and allow the states to only draw lines for the state and local election districts within their respective states.
Secure Roe v Wade-The moment that the conservative religious right has overlooked the sexual sins of their president, the political sins of their Senators and Congresspersons, and the racial and economic sins of both, arrived with the immoral vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a judge whose entire legal career signaled a willingness to be the decisive 5th vote to overturn Roe v Wade, as a Justice to the Supreme Court. Now that Republicans have immorally rigged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, before taking revenge measures like increasing the size of the Supreme Court, Democrats should codify Roe v. Wade into law.
Codifying Roe v. Wade would make a women’s right to an abortion a federal law, by passing legislation in Congress that guarantees women in every state the right to unfettered access to abortion care, protecting a woman’s right to choose even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
National Debt- In May 2020, the national debt reached the highest level in U.S. history. It is 120% of the nation’s annual economic output, breaking the record set in 1946 of 118%, which was created to pay for World War 2 and rebuilding Europe and Japan. National debt of this size threatens both the economy and America’s ability to pay for the social programs of healthcare, social security, education, and housing. Democrats must take immediate steps to start paying it down, step 1 is to take back ¾ of the tax cuts given to individuals that make over $400,000, step 2 is to take back ½ of the tax cuts given to corporations, and step 3 is to establish a tax code that requires all corporations pay no less than 15% in income taxes.
World Leadership and Creditability — For the last 4 years 1 of the 2 things that provide the entire world with a sense of stability, security, and consistency have become incoherent, duplicitous, and at times missing in action. The 2 things are:
1) The financial stability, security, and consistency the dollar provides to the world, and
2) The rock-solid reliability that when America makes a commitment or agreement, it honors it regardless of who was President when it was made or who is President when it is executed.
Unfortunately, when it comes to America’s rock-solid commitment or agreement with other countries, a rock-solid commitment to maintaining world peace, and the rock-solid agreements with international organizations like the United Nations or NATO, the rock-solid has become rock sand, incoherent, duplicitous, and at times missing in action.
Democrats must take immediate steps to restore the stability, security, and consistency that American leadership provides to the world. Step 1 is to reenter America into the Paris Climate Change Agreement and honor America’s original commitment to it. Step 2 is to reenter America into the Iran nuclear deal and honor America’s original agreement to it, as long as Iran is willing to also honor its original commitment to the terms of the deal.
Reform to prevent abuses of power and self-enrichment is always a good thing for democracy, and the ones previously mentioned certainly meet that standard, but don’t meet the standard of immediate impact on the virus and economically challenged daily life of American citizens. Immediate focus by Democrats on these reforms before accomplishing the 6 immediate needs , meets the revenge standard, not the responsible thing to do now standard. With all the death, virus sickness, unemployment due to the virus, and the total wipe-out of numerous businesses due to the virus, the American people need attention, help, and action immediately not revenge politics now!!!
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on October 27, 2020.