This is my senator, to my everlasting shame.
Letter From the Editor
The safety, the security, and the rights of every American depend on maintaining and improving American democracy.
American democracy depends on its voters. If we’ve learned nothing else from recent experience, it’s that when enough believers in democracy stay home, they will be outvoted by those who believe that the safety, the security, and the rights of some Americans matter more than others.
You have to look no further than yesterday and today to see what we mean.
On Tuesday, the Republicans controlling the Pennsylvania State Senate refused to seat a Democratic incumbent whose victory was certified legally by the state. When Lt. Gov. John Fetterman tried to follow the law and allow the incumbent to be sworn in, Republicans had him thrown out of the chamber and replaced as presiding officer.
Also on Tuesday, Republicans controlling the Wisconsin Assembly rammed through a dangerous pro-COVID bill that gives businesses virtually no legal consequences for actions that result in coronavirus infections for workers or customers. What’s equally appalling is that the rushed hearing involved the long-absent Assembly Health Committee whose members largely went without face masks. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) showed equal disregard and disrespect by testifying without safeguards.
And today, Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Tom Tiffany* will join other—but not all—Republicans in an act of sedition designed to undermine the legitimacy of a duly elected president and vice president. They claim to be concerned about “irregularities.” It’s a lie. There is no evidence of fraud. They want a commission to study election changes. It is a barely disguised effort to roll back voting rights and opportunities.
Why? Because they know what you read earlier is true: When fewer people vote, the safety, the security, and the rights of some Americans matter more than others. Business rights will matter more than workers’ rights. The security of American elections can be rigged. And the safety of Black men and women from Kenosha to Louisville to Minneapolis and beyond can continue to matter less, with no consequences for excessive force or even death.
It is easy to despair. It is easy to want to give up. And then you look at what Georgia voters did on Tuesday, likely unseating both of that state’s demonstrably corrupt senators—something that would not have happened but for the Republicans’ zeal to purge voter rolls unleashing a years-long effort to recruit, register, and encourage a new wave of voters who otherwise felt like their participation wouldn’t matter.
It most certainly does. In Georgia. In Wisconsin, too. There’s no great secret to protecting the rights, safety, and security of every American. Show up. Vote.
* The person who represents me in the U.S. House of Representatives.