(Todd A. Smith)
Democrats should definitely get rid of the filibuster.
And Republicans should support that effort.
The reason the Republicans should support the Democrats’ effort to get rid of the filibuster is because their favorite civil rights movement icon did not support the filibuster.
Therefore, the Republicans should not support the filibuster either if they truly love their favorite civil rights leader and favorite preacher.
Republicans love to misquote Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. when it comes to criticizing the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Republicans love to misquote King when it comes to their criticism of the so-called teaching of critical race theory in the nation’s classrooms.
Many Republicans have said things like since King wanted little Black boys and girls to play with little White boys and girls, he must have been against anything that mentions race like critical race theory and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Many believe King would not have supported Black Lives Matter and instead would have supported the slogan All Lives Matter as if King did not die fighting for the rights and dignity of Black Americans fighting for their place in White America.
Many Republicans have conveniently omitted some of King’s scathing criticisms of America like how the country gave land to White people in the West, which contributes to the wealth gap today, but refuses to give reparations to Black people, instead doing everything in its power to thwart Black advancement.
King once famously said Black Americans were coming to the nation’s capital to get our checks.
But somehow, his message amongst some Republicans has been watered down to what he said about little Black and White children playing together.
As a result of their sanitation of King’s message, Republicans have had success in their mission to discredit critical race theory and to demonize Black Lives Matter, amongst other racial issues.
Therefore, if Republicans can misquote King to pass a racist agenda, why can’t Democrats properly quote King to stop racist legislation?
On July 5, 1963, King spoke about the Senate using the filibuster to stop the Voting Rights Act and his words seem prophetic almost 60 years later.
At the press conference on July 5, 1963, King said a minority of misguided Senators will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting.
King added those senators will not let the majority of senators vote and certainly would not want the majority of the people to vote.
The civil rights leader said this is so because that minority group of senators does not represent the majority and only truly represent a small minority in the states they represent.
So from King’s own mouth anyone that can read or hear knows that he did not support the filibuster, especially when it came to the subject of voting rights.
Therefore, since Republicans and Democrats love King so much, Democrats would be crazy to ignore King’s words of the filibuster.
Democrats should use King’s words to silence possible GOP opposition of ending the filibuster to pass voting rights because if they do not, much of what King fought for will be in vain.
As a result, his message of equal rights would be co-opted by a political party determined to take the country backwards when it comes to race relations and voting rights.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote, “As we approach the anniversary of the January 6 attack on our Capitol and our democracy, I am writing to follow up on my last Dear Colleague before Christmas, specifically to outline next steps on urgently-needed voting rights legislation.
“One year ago this week, we experienced great sorrow: mere hours after the dawn of a new Congress and a new Majority, our beloved Capitol was attacked. It was attacked in a naked attempt to derail our Republic’s most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power. Domestic violent extremists sought to inflict chaos and violence. Fueled by conspiracy and the ravings of a vengeful President, they sought to destroy our Republic.”
Sen. Schumer continued, “Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions.”
Although Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) predictably oppose changing the filibuster rules, Biba Adams of The Grio reported, “According to The Hill, Democrats are considering several options ‘including creating a carveout from the filibuster for voting rights legislation, implementing a talking filibuster that would let bills pass with a simple majority or moving from requiring 60 yes votes to sustain a filibuster to requiring 41 no votes to sustain it.’”
Despite two Democratic senators opposing changes to the filibuster, Schumer warned Democrats of what is at stake in his letter.
He wrote, “They want to unwind the progress of our Union, restrict access to the ballot, silence the voices of millions of voters and undermine free and fair elections…
“(The) Senate was designed to protect the political rights of the minority in the chamber through the promise of debate and the opportunity to amend.”
Schumer added, “Over the years, those rights have been warped and contorted to obstruct and embarrass the will of majority—something our Founders explicitly opposed.”
Our founding fathers would not be the only people opposed to the direction the country is taking because of the Big Lie.
But you know who else would be upset?
King and not just because of the Big Lie but because of the big racism that causes people to believe the Big Lie in the first place.