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Forum, April 11: It’s time to end the filibuster and the enabling of minority rule

Published: 4/10/2021 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 4/10/2021 10:00:03 PM
It’s time to end the filibuster and the enabling of minority rule

I am so proud that New Hampshire’s U.S. senators and representatives continue to cast votes in support of democracy. The For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1) is the most important legislation in support of voters’ rights since the original Voting Rights Act that was enacted in 1965, and New Hampshire’s entire national delegation supported this bill.

Can’t say the same for what the New Hampshire House and Senate have been supporting. Their voter suppression bills in the current session emphasize the huge differences between the two parties: the Democrats are for all the people, while the Republicans in Concord line up to pander to the white supremacist minority. The Republicans’ five-year national campaign of lying about the validity of our national elections, and their legislative efforts in most states to suppress free and fair elections, is their desperate attempt to maintain minority rule.

The next major legislative battle in Washington will be over eliminating the filibuster — another minority-rule weapon, which dates back to when a minority of Southern senators were desperate to protect the “southern (white) way of life,” and Jim Crow laws. Sen. Mitch McConnell, before he was deposed as majority leader in the last election, used all the arcane Senate rules and procedures he could to prevent the Senate from even considering legislation that the conservative minority opposed. Remember when McConnell stonewalled President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for a year, then rushed to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a matter of days?

It’s time to end the filibuster’s enabling of minority rule in this country, so urge your senators — Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, or Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders in Vermont — to support eliminating the filibuster.

MICHAEL WHITMAN

Lyme

Voter suppression hurts democracy

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee commends Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos for his unfailing efforts to ensure we have safe, fair elections and to make it easy for people to vote. The strength of a democracy can be measured by the number of citizens engaged in voting. Our voice is our vote.

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee condemns the actions of the Georgia Legislature for its voter suppression law. This law makes it more difficult to vote, thus impacting the number of voices that will be heard. Provisions of the law disproportionately impact people of color. To survive, a democracy must be representative of all its people.

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee is appalled by the intentional cruelty of this law, which makes it illegal for anyone but election officials to give water or food to people standing in line.

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee fears that the most insidious provision of Georgia’s voter suppression law, which gives Republican state officials the power to take control of local elections and decline to certify local election results, will ultimately override democracy. That the constitutional words, “We the people” will no longer apply.

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee urges our fellow Vermonters to raise their voices in protest. Democracy must not be undermined by voter suppression laws. We call you to action. When you see an injustice, please speak up, kindly but strongly.

The Springfield Town Democratic Committee strongly supports passage of the For the People Act, which will protect voting rights for all people and make the United States stronger as a democracy.

CHAR OSTERLUND

Springfield, Vt.

The writer is the chair of the Springfield Town Democratic Committee. This was written on behalf of the town committee.

An effective gun violence measure

As America mourns another mass shooting, and has cause to wonder why nothing can be done to put a stop to them, it is important to keep some facts in mind.

While mass shootings are an all-too-common occurrence, every day, dozens of Americans are killed with firearms by ones and twos in isolated incidents. The toll of such shootings far exceeds that of the occasional mass shooting.

As the fingerprint is to personal identification, so the marks left on a discharged bullet are to the identification of the gun from which it came. This is good information. It is used by law enforcement to solve crimes. The FBI maintains both DNA and fingerprint databases that can be accessed by law enforcement. Were there a central registry of gun ownership, then ballistics analyses and other evidence could be used to identify a murder weapon and trace its ownership, whereabouts and possession. But there is no such registry. And the reason for this is the Congress of the United States. Yes, Congress prohibits the FBI and other federal agencies from spending money on such a thing. And it has passed laws forbidding the collection of information needed for such a database.

Yes, in America there are laws against solving crimes.

The most effective gun violence measure Congress could enact would be to repeal these provisions, allow the FBI and ATF to assemble such a registry, and then require the reporting of data concerning guns and gun ownership that already exists. But Congress will not do this.

In a well-ordered militia, the commanding officer would consider it essential to know who his soldiers were, how many he could count on to appear if summoned, and what they would bring with them in the way of arms. Our Congress, obviously, does not want America to function like a well-ordered militia. Instead, it seems to favor anarchy and mayhem. This is the price victims pay for its viciously laissez faire approach to the circulation of guns in America.

TYLER P. HARWELL

Perkinsville




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