I’m returning to form this week, after last week’s more personal and theological reflection on the Kingdom of God and how it affects my personal politics. As always, it seems there’s a lot to cover. Let’s see…ah, the GOP’s still trying to rob many of the fundamental human right of health care in the name of profit and power. That being said, let’s get to it shall we? This series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world.
For our musical inspiration this week I was looking for something that bridged the gap nicely between the religious themes of last week and the needed action the news below cries out for. Bob Marley worked beautifully!
Here’s what’s coming up that we need to talk to our representatives about or call/email/mail other people in government/power. Note, whenever possible, have the bill number of the issue you’re calling about ready to share with the staffer who answers the phone.
1) Better Care Reconciliation Act – NPR delivered a very helpful article outlining the differences between the Affordable Care Act and the GOP versions offered first by the House and now by the Senate. It is painfully clear that the only people who benefit from this are the wealthiest of Americans while the rest of us, especially the most vulnerable, are at risk. No amount of rhetoric will change that reality. So please, please, please call your Senators and let them know this can’t pass, for any reason.
In regard to the health care issue, here’s a detailed and easily readable piece from The Washington Post explaining just how this godless proposal will hurt many Americans. Among those who would be open to losing coverage include cancer survivors, those in recovery for drug and alcohol addition, children with disabilities, the self-employed, the elderly, and the poor. I mean, why would we want to care about these groups of people right? It’s not like compassion, empathy, concern for others, and love are things we should model right?
The American Medical Association as well as the American Psychological Association have come out strongly against this bill as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, and American Hospital Association.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have also come out against much of the Senate’s health care bill. “Catholic bishops released a statement on Thursday evening saying that parts of the Senate proposal would ’cause disturbing damage to the human beings served by the social safety net’ and that it could ‘wreak havoc on low-income families and struggling communities, and must not be supported.’ ” Bishop Frank J. Dewane, head of the bishops’ domestic justice committee, said, “It is precisely the detrimental impact on the poor and vulnerable that makes the Senate draft unacceptable as written.” And Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said, “health care is a fundamental human right and government is its ultimate guarantor.”
2) H.R. 1135 – This bill will reauthorize historic preservation grants for buildings at historically black colleges and universities. This is important both in the name of history and in the name of always pushing ourselves as a country to continue dismantling the systemic sin of racism that governs so much of our culture from the shadows.
3) H.R. 2884: COVFEFE Act – This is an actual thing. I’m not making this up. This bill would make social media content a record that requires preservation under the Presidential Records Act. The president couldn’t delete or destroy any social media posts and they would be open to the public. On the one hand, I can’t believe we’re talking about this. On the other, if you’re the president every word you utter, action you take, or line you write can have consequences for the country and for the world. Social media’s now a major part of our world so it should be preserved too.
4) H.R. 3003: No Sanctuary for Criminals Act – this bill essentially makes it possible for federal agencies to prosecute immigrants with harsher penalties for breaking laws as well as making our local police forces hunt illegal immigrants in addition to all the other duties they have.
5) H.R. 3004: Kate’s Law – This bill would allow people who repeatedly enter the country illegally to have longer prison sentences. Our treatment of immigrants in this country is the real problem. Our economy literally depends on the work of thousands of illegal immigrants. We make it difficult to enter the country so we don’t have to care for these workers as we do “our own” and then we can toss them aside when we no longer have need of them. Punishing people who a) are seeking a better life for their family and b) we take advantage of for our own illicit gains is immoral.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) Under the sway of our Mad King Donnie, the Department of Homeland Security is pulling all funding from Life After Hate, a group dedicated to countering neo-Nazis and white extremism. Disappointingly but not unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration is funding “groups that combat Al Qaeda and ISIS and leav[ing] out organizations primarily focused on countering white supremacists and other far-right hate groups.”
2) In good news regarding the Supreme Court, they’ll hear a case to decide whether or not Gerrymandering is, in fact, legal. This can have dramatic implications on future elections as the GOP has used Gerrymandering to redraw Congressional districts after wins to make it harder for Democrats to unseat Republicans (my district, PA’s 3rd, is a prime example of Gerrymandering). How Gerrymandering still is (or ever was!) legal continues to baffle me…
3) In fucking frustrating news regarding the Supreme Court, on their final day before their summer break today, partially unblocked part of Trump’s travel ban. “Under the Court’s order, the Trump administration can enforce the ban to block ‘foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States’ from the six targeted countries while the case proceeds. It’s unclear how broad or narrow that restriction will be in practice.” This will affect both the six Islamic countries Trump originally sought to shut out as well as the plan to ban refugees from entering the country. Both are problematic as the former is a blatant instance of religious discrimination and the latter a heartbreaking rejection of mercy, compassion, and help for those who need it most.
Speaking Truth To Power
This section highlights those who are daring to speak out against the corruption in our government. Sadly, given the way our media operates, we must turn to comedians to do the job journalists should do. Thankfully, we have these insightful, powerful voices – many trained by Jon Stewart over the years – to speak the truth.
1) Jon Oliver looks uses the growing questions in the United States surrounding vaccines to outline the overwhelming presence of logical fallacies in our debates. As usual, he brilliantly illustrates the danger inherent in the growing trend in our culture of people believing whatever we want to believe as opposed to acknowledging facts.
2) Unsurprisingly, the Senate doesn’t want much debate on their health care bill. They’d rather people just vote on it…preferably the way they want them too. Here, Stephen Colbert breaks that down as only he can.
3) Trevor Noah illustrates the dangerous mindset that went into the GOP putting together their health care bill in secret and explores why the Democrats are having such a hard time rallying support of their opposition of a bill that only 17% of Americans support. C’mon Dems! Bring your A Game!
1) This is an interesting piece exploring both the growing sense of Trump’s fear, regarding the Russian investigation, and explaining all he has to fear should Mueller really start knocking at his door, depending on the findings. The possible implications of this Russian involvement continue to be staggering to consider.
Now I turn to my faith, Jesus, scripture, and those who have followed those messages best to remind myself why I fight, how I fight, and who I fight for:
When I’m looking for guidance, support, or focus as I struggle in the name of these causes, I often turn to Pope Francis. I encourage you to do the same. Here’s a link to his Twitter account as well as some of his writings care of Amazon. You can never have too much Pope Francis in your life.
The battle for justice is only just beginning. Join the Resistance! Give it all you have! I encourage anyone interested in helping speak out about and challenge the injustices growing around us to do so. If you’d like, reach out to me in the comments or message me on Twitter. You’re certainly welcome to send me news you’d like to see included! I am only one person and, as such, have a finite ability to track these things. If you happen to be a blogger or vlogger yourself, you’re also welcome to take what I post in these weekly calls to action and share it on your own site too if you feel so called. But, most of all, I hope you’ll take advantage of the direct link that is in this post and all the posts to follow to call – and keep calling – your representatives. Democracy works if we participate. Love will triumph if we have faith. We can’t give up our belief in those principles or we’ve already lost the struggle.
Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” has always been one of my favorite songs. It’s so, so beautiful. It elevates the heart, inspires the soul, and calls us to action. What else do I have to say? Let’s let Bob Marley speak (or sing, as the case may be) for himself.