Extortion: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power. Webster’s Dictionary.
Now, right out the gate, I want all of you–Democrat, Independent, Republican– to understand that I believe the virus threat is real, just like the flu is real. It is deadly, just like the flu is if it progresses to pneumonia. We do, and are, taking drastic actions to curb its spread, and limit its economic impact.
This Blog is not about that. On that, we should all be on the same page. And there is something else I believe we may find ourselves on the same page about. And that is that the Emergency Stimulus Bill (or whatever it is finally called) which passed the Senate–in its present form–was produced by the extortion of you, the American people. It was done to your surrogates, your Senators–most specifically your Republican senators. It was done by the Democrat Senators and the Speaker of the House. But they all represent you, and it is your tax dollars which will pay for the bill, or your grandchildren will pay for it in the future. Your senators could not get the emergency help to you, or the medical people, unless they “paid.”
What do you mean “paid”, you ask? The problem is the big chunks of spending that have nothing to do with the Wuhan Corona Virus and its defeat. A battle raged in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans wanted to create a targeted bill for economic relief, stimulus, and medical assistance. The Democrats threatened to scuttle it unless there was funding to the Arts, to the Kennedy Center, cancelling all student loan debt, same-day voter registration, mail-in ballots, bailing out the US Post Office, and many other more controversial projects. They delayed the bill for days on end, while American were dying.
Rep. Clyburn of S. Carolina said words, if I recall, “This is an opportunity to restructure things to fit our (Democrat)vision.” The issue is not whether their vision should be debated. The issue is whether it is moral for a group of politicians to risk the health and economic well-being of 350 million Americans for “their vision.” By refusing to sign, unless some wasteful and controversial elements were included, they held us all hostage. Those issues are for the electorate to decide and vote on in our election. We the people should decide about immigration and asylum policies, waiver of loan debts etc.–not a handful of extortionists in the halls of Congress.
There are many points in the Bill which are worthy of debate. That’s just it. The debate–per our form of government–should be with you the people. We debate, we vote, and we decide what is happening in Washington, and what we want done. If we don’t like what our elected officials do, we vote them out.
But, if members of Congress see themselves as the senior branch of government, instead of separate but equal branches, and if they see themselves as superior to their bosses–the American people–they can hold a much-needed bill hostage until they get what they demand that they know you will not likely want to pay for otherwise. You will be stuck with the price tag, however, and you had no say.
That is not a republic, or even a democracy. It is an authoritarian government in sheep’s clothing. And that is what just happened. The Congress can undermine and circumvent elections–in the name of the public good. (Keep in mind, again, that we do need to do something. But, in my opinion, it should be targeted at the immediate financial and medical crisis, not other issues we can decide later.)
If there had been a true and honest sense of urgency, Nancy Pelosi (what is she doing dictating to the Senate anyway? She does not understand the Constitution, I am afraid, or doesn’t give a whit about it.) and the Senate Democrats would not have held up financial aid to you, and the companies that employed you, for over a week. They would not have allowed you–ALL Americans–to suffer. They would not have allowed the media to beat you into fear and submission–grateful for any crumb the government gives you. ( Even Thursday, with the bill on her desk, Speaker Pelosi took the day off and did nothing with it.)
If there was a true sense of urgency, they would have allowed a bill that addressed the financial and medical aspects of the crisis, and nothing else. Instead, because they do not trust your voting inclinations in November, they decided to force the Republicans to accept elements of the bill–or there would be no relief for the people.
The Republicans fought back hard and got many of the demands wiped out. But, in the end, they caved on some. You probably would have too. I would have. To live to fight another day. That is the nature of extortion. You cannot be safe, or have what you need to keep your doors open, unless you give to the extortionist what he wants. In this case, certain politicians demanded a very high price for your stimulus bill which everyone is glad to have. The price? Forfeiture of your determination by ballot of the things you want and will pay for. You were rendered insignificant, my friends. In order to “save” you they had to steal from you, and override your sovereign authority. Your voices will never be heard. Or so they think.
If it wasn’t extortion, then it was a hoax. A true sense of urgency, for a true crisis, demands immediate and simple, clean action. The Democrats delayed this bill for over a week! 800-plus pages packed with “pork” is not simple, targeted, and clean. It has circumvented you. And, I suggest you take your authority back. Identify for yourself every heinous section you find in a bill which you otherwise would have approved. Identify which member of Congress demanded that section in order to get his/her support, and fire them in November–NO MATTER THEIR PARTY. They appear to care more about “their vision” than your safety, and prosperity.
We needed help, and we all are willing to pay for it out of our taxes, but the extra stuff was a con, secured by extortion. What a racket!
Is there no one in that party who remembers the story of Solomon and the two women, both of whom claimed to be the mother of a baby. Solomon, in his wisdom, said he would tear the baby in half, so that each could have part of it. Immediately, one woman exhorted him not to do that, and to give the baby to the other woman. Solomon knew then that she was the true mother, because she would rather lose her child altogether, than have it hurt.
It appears the Republicans were the mother who surrendered the baby to save it. Is there no “Solomon” in Washington who will call out the other “mother” for willingness to destroy you, the baby, in order to get their way? I am afraid not.
You will have to step up and take that role yourself in November. Find every piece that was extorted, un-elect who did it, and reverse it, if you don’t like the consequences.
In the meantime, we will use the bill to save ourselves, our companies, and our families and friends. Just remember, though, how it feels that someone “obtained this from you by force and intimidation.”