American Values?

I get a plethora of political emails daily. Near the end of a fundraising period sometimes they actually reach triple digits in a single day. I delete almost all of them after a cursory glance. The one thing they have in common is a request for a donation. Sunday I received one from New Jersey Democratic Representative Andy Kim that I not only read multiple times but decided to make today’s topic. Let’s explore.

On May 17, 2019 the House passed HR5, The Equality Act, by a vote of 236-173-23. Of the 236 Ayes only eight were cast by Republicans. The Act simply codified legal protection from discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. A member of Congress is asked to take a lot of difficult votes. Often you have to vote for a bill because the good it does overwhelms its shortcomings. This bill was a no-brainer! How can an American vote against an anti-discrimination bill? With that considered, let me inform you that all 173 Nay votes were cast by Republicans.

With a year expired the bill still sits on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk and he has refused to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. While from McConnell’s perspective this is a brilliant piece of political tactics it is nonetheless un-American. What McConnell is doing is shielding his majority from having to go on record endorsing discrimination based on sexual orientation. I have no doubt that HR5 would be filibustered by one or more Republican Senators and fail to get the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture. (For that matter there is a good chance Trump would veto it raising the bar in both chambers. By not bringing HR5 to the floor McConnell also shields Trump.)

I’m not going to waste time and effort going into why this bill should become law; if I have to explain that you aren’t ready for this column and you should question just what kind of American and human being you really are.

For those who still believe there is no real difference between the two major American political parties I simply point out that all Democrats voting that day voted for HR5 and 95.6% of the Republicans voted against it. I believe that Mitch McConnell is a brilliant political tactician; I also believe that he is the personification of everything that is wrong in Washington, DC.

You can’t get HR5 passed this session, but you possibly can get it passed next session. Both the presidency and enough vulnerable Republican Senate seats to change the majority Party are up for election this fall including McConnell’s. Vote!

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