October 15, 2018

THE STAND

Subject: THE UNITED STATES SENATE

There are 100 United States senators, two from each of our 50 grand and glorious states. These 100 individuals, politicos, power brokers exercise and have at their disposal some of our great country’s supreme power, granted to them by our beloved Constitution and of course by the vote of WE THE PEOPLE.

They are elected, these political rulers of ours, these senators for six years. That is one long time in Washington, D.C. and as they work those six years, and especially should these men and women get reelected to OUR United States Senate, they accumulate more power, more authority, more preferences and positioning with each passing year. They are appointed to committees. More importantly, the more power and tenure they have, they can become chairmen of those committees, regulating agendas, choosing topics for discussion and debate and bringing proposed legislation to the full Senate for vote OR preventing with sufficient backing from committee members legislation unwanted by them from coming to the full Senate for vote. They can become really powerful men and women.

The ultimate Senate power position of course is either Senate Majority Leader or Senate Minority Leader. One can become Senate Majority Leader if the members of the majority of Senators elect him or her, like Mitch McConnell of Kentucky who is the Republican leader on the one hand, but the Senate Majority Leader, something far more powerful on the other.

Or Chuck Schumer of New York, reelected several times, Schumer has become the Senate Minority Leader, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, educating and organizing their political actions and of course their votes. It is extremely difficult to go against the political wishes and will of either Majority of Minority Senate Leader. To do so risks political banishment, or low level appointments to what may be viewed as less important committees and otherwise becoming inconsequential in the political process. You do what the majority wants, what the so-called leadership demands especially if you are newly elected.

The Senate has its own rules and regulations. It can organize and structure itself as it pleases with majority vote and so much of the real political maneuverings and decision making happens behind closed doors. We the people seldom know the full facts and particularly how decisions are made. There are trade-offs (you vote for the legislation I want and I will vote for the legislation you want), Senators who put states first over country, or even wealthy individuals like the Koch Brothers or Soros (they often get what they want and we don’t know about that), using, these Senators do, what oftentimes the Senator thinks is right, or wants no matter what we the people who elected that Senator need or want. The game of politics is played 24-7, every day of the year whether the Senate is in session. At election time, the Senators seeking such are everywhere, ubiquitous, advertising, marketing, “kissing babies,” doing in short anything and everything necessary to get elected or reelected. And the day after that November election Tuesday, the electors, WE THE PEOPLE are largely forgotten. They come to us with form letters, more often than not critical of the opposition and opposing points of view and of course with the ultimate objective in mind:

RAISING MONEY

After all, once elected, it is the money of the voters that matters and not their wants and needs as citizens.

Essentially, these elected Senators do what they want. There really is no check and balance other than impeachment which is almost impossible. There really is no way we can hold them accountable for six long years, none at all. And of course, Democracy suffers as does the Constitution and it seems as though the political process in both Senate and House becomes more corrupt, more susceptible to influence and there are always those politicians who can be bought because money talks, and talks bigtime in Washington, D.C.

What we have now, so it seems in the United States Senate in Washington, D.C., are Senators of each major party, Democrat and Republican with perhaps several so-called independent Senators who act and vote as the party wishes. Their individual conscience or promises to the voters seem to mean little. Take the Kavanaugh hearings for example. Every Democratic Senator voted against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh with the exception of one, Manchin of West Virginia. EVERY ONE! And, all Republican Senators voted for the confirmation of Kavanaugh with the exception of one, Murkowski of Alaska. The confirmation process was nothing more than a circus, witch-hunting, low level accusations and overall a disgrace, an embarrassment to our great country, to our political parties, our Senators as a whole, and the once important characteristic of the Senate, INTEGRITY of this august body. That led even liberal justice Sotomayor to express deep concern for the lack of respect shown for the Supreme Court and the potential justices and the harm done as a result of these hearings with respect to the objectivity, fairness and integrity of the court itself. Confirmation or not, the confirmation hearings of now justice Brett Kavanaugh were the nastiness evidence of politics at work and the lowering of the standards of the Senate and its reputation in so many ways. The Republicans won. Kavanaugh won. The Supreme Court lost. And we the people lost bigtime no matter how well Kavanaugh functions as a Supreme Court Justice. A recent poll showed that the United States Senate had a 14% approval rating from the American people. I dare say the next real-honest poll will show an even lesser percentage.

Now comes Elections 2018. All 435 representatives of the House are up for election or reelection. In the United States Senate, there are 35 Senators up for election or reelection. Most interestingly, there are 26 Democratic seats up for election or reelection in 2018. The Democrats hold 49 senatorial seats which means that almost 60% of the Democratic Senators are up for reelection. That is an incredibly high number.

On the other hand, there are nine Republican seats up for reelection in November 2018 and there are 42 Senate seats now held by Republicans not up for reelection. So that, in a major reversal from Elections 2016, the Democrats in the Senate will be playing DEFENSE, hoping not only for reelection of those Democratic Senators, but gaining even more so that this party can control the Senate. To do so, the Democrats will have to win the 10 Senatorial seats they now hold in states that voted for Donald Trump, some state votes overwhelmingly so. That will be a tall task. Some Democratic Senators have even indicated that the Kavanaugh hearings and vote may well be the deciding factor in their reelection and may in fact tilt the scales for Republican opponents.

Of the nine Republican seats up for reelection in 2018, the majority seem safe for the Republicans so that, if most or all of those Republican seats are held, and the Republicans gain victories in any of those 10 states which voted for President Trump or otherwise, the Republicans could hold a substantial majority in the Senate and perhaps for any number of years to come. What seems most important, the Kavanaugh hearings and other political issues seem to have galvanized the American voting public and there were perhaps those who did not intend to vote, the typical American political disease, who have now registered and intend to vote, a good thing for America. Republicans seem to think that the Democrats handed their party a major issue to present to the American people by the way the Kavanaugh hearings were conducted in such a low level, muck raking way. If so, the Republicans could win and win bigtime. Wednesday, November 7, the day after these elections occur, will be a most interesting day, don’t you think?

There are Senate races in California. The Republicans virtually concede the liberal often radical state of California senatorial races to the Democrats. And the same with New York where Kirsten Gillibrand runs for reelection, virtually assured. And in Indiana, where our CBC stations serve, a hotly contested election between Joe Donnelly Democrat and Mike Braun Republican. I do hope and pray, whatever great American state you may live in, that you will be politically active. That you will know the issues. That you will know the stance, the political positioning and most importantly the integrity of the senatorial candidates who will represent your great state. And that, well-informed about the issues and the candidates, you will:

VOTE

More than ever, America needs the vote of informed, caring and concerned citizens. So much is at stake. A Senate controlled by Democrats will oppose President Trump at every turn and the Trumpian policies. A Senate controlled by Republicans will advance the Trump agenda and move other necessary legislation forward in the hope of, as Donald Trump would say:

MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Please vote my fellow Americans, PLEASE VOTE! America is your country, my country, OUR COUNTRY, not theirs. With your vote, please make sure that those in power will be guardians of the Constitution, the Rule of Law and the wants and needs of real Americans, WE THE PEOPLE!

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