By Dr. E. Faye Williams
As I write, we are less than 50 days from the midterm elections. I do not feel hyperbolic at all when I say that this election is, and will be, the most consequential in our lifetimes. While consequential, the options given to us as voters require little debate as to the future direction we should choose for the nation. Having only two major political parties, realistically, we have an either-or decision.
The time is right for an extended discussion of what our decisions will mean for our futures. In the next several weeks, I will address the false hoods which grow more numerous each day and offer perspectives designed to stimulate reader curiosity, critical thinking, and enthusiasm to participate in the coming election.
First, let me acknowledge that there are no PERFECT POLITICAL PARTIES. Our two parties and their members have faults and flaws. If an individual voter is unwilling to vote for a candidate or party because of a perceived imperfection, this election gives the perfect alibi for not voting. But for those who deal in reality and understand that politics will never yield perfection, this election presents the challenge of voting for or against predicted or foreshadowed policies that have the potential to alter our lives beyond our current comprehension. This is the only election in my memory where we must earnestly resist the urge to reject the good for the lack of perfection.
What’s new in this electoral cycle is the Republican Party’s “Commit- ment to America.” This is the closest they have come to offering a policy statement that presents their “comprehensive legislative plan” for the nation since before 2012. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy presented the “Commitment to America” which, typical to their party, is long on rhetoric and short on substance.
The rollout to their “Commitment” was a “homey” affair replete with country music, an industrialist supporter/sponsor, the Republican House Leadership of McCarthy, Steve Scalise and Elise Stefanik, and a group of House Republicans including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan. Admittedly, I found that the presentation and audience questions/responses seemed canned and riddled with exaggeration, misrepresentations, and lies. In his presentation McCarthy stated that the Republican goals were to pro- vide to America and Americans “An Economy That’s Strong, A Nation That’s Safe, A Future That’s Built on Freedom, and A Government That’s Accountable.” These goals sound important and reasonable, but we need to compare conduct with performance.
During the Trump years of Republican congressional control, I can’t remember complaints of the negative impact of their $1.9 trillion tax cut which favored the wealthy. The $4,000 trickle-down which was supposed to happen for the average worker did not happen. They over saw the economic protection of the wealthy and left “the others” to fend for themselves.
National Safety is a mantra that, like many of the Republican complaints, seems to be situational. They purport to be strong supporters of law officers and enforcement yet, while they oppose the language of BLM, they have decried the FBI and have called for its defunding. While all of the Republican Members of Congress live under the protection of the Capitol Police, they ignore the impact of the January 6th insurrection and the lawlessness of the former president, belying their commitment to Government Accountability.
Their commitment to A Future Built on Freedom is immersed in their culture war. While they abridge rights that were gained over two centuries of civic struggle and threaten the personal security of women and persons of color, they demonstrate that the only worthy freedoms are those they agree with. Under the guise of freedom, they revise history, reject public health instructions, and approve the correctness of selected conduct and thoughts. This is a commitment I can live without.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.