Wrong on 3 counts

Krysten Sinema is quoted in the NYT saying, “These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself. And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”

She is wrong on 3 counts. First of all, it is standard practice, and not only in medicine, to treat symptoms even if they don’t cure the disease. Second, in treating symptoms, the conditions are created to address the disease, not worsen it, as Sinema suggests. Finally, the underlying disease infecting the country – sorry Krysten – isn’t partisan division – a symptom – but the decislon and actions of one party – the Republican Party – to bid farewell to democracy and democratic governance.

In joining with McConnell and Senate Republicans, she (and Manchin) made the road steeper yesterday, but no one should think impossible to climb. I’m pretty sure that would be the message of both John Lewis and MLK if they were with us today.

Power behind the throne

In the abolistionist movement, Lincoln had, what Douglass called the “power behind the throne.” Roosevelt and Johnson, albeit in different form, had their own power behind the throne – Labor and its allies in Roosevelt’s case and and the civil rights movement and its allies in Johnson’s.

Biden has no such “power behind his throne.” It’s fair to say that the far flung and diverse coalition that elected him has stirred up little dust since his election. Its mass presence hasn’t been felt in the corridors of Congress or state capitals.

The pandemic makes that difficult for sure. But isn’t turning the difficult into the doable what creative minds in this coaliton defending democacy and fighting for social progress are supposed to do?

With so much hanging in balance and with an election creeping up, let’s persuade, let’s nudge the major organizations making up this coalition – not least the Democratic Party and labor movement – to become the “power behind the throne” and throw themselves fully into this existenial struggle for democracy.


Martin Luther King was not only a brilliant visionary and powerful orator, but also an astute strategist and tactican who thought in expansive terms. No one stood taller in the 20th century. Today’s cross class coalition battling Trumpism would do well to draw from his legacy and example as we face the challenges of the 21st century.

Is the will there

It is almost certain that the John Lewis Voting Rights bill will fail in the Senate, thus shifting the struggle to the states and courts and in doing so making the expansion of voting rights more difficult. I would hope that Into this churning cauldron, the leadership of the AFL-CIO and its affiliates will jump to the challenge and leave its unmistakable mark. They are, it is fair to say, uniquely positioned to do so, provided, of course, the will and commitment is there. In so doing, labor would become a tribune of voter democracy and quickly earn the respect of its allies, especially in communities of color who are already in the fight and the first victims of this great scar on our democracy.

Some might think this is a distraction from labor’s other priorities, including the fight for higher wages and unionization, but such thinking is shortsighted and self defeating. In fact, the reverse is true. It is also a test of the degree of class consciousness and development of the labor movement and working class in general

No joke

“I tell you one thing,” (Rafael) Nadal, the great Spanish player, said, “It’s very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players of the history, without a doubt. But there is no one player in history that’s more important than the event, no? The player stays and then goes, and other players are coming. Even Roger, Novak, myself, Bjorn Borg, who was amazing at his times, tennis keeps going,” he said, referring to Roger Federer. “Australian Open is more important than any player. If he’s playing finally, OK. If he’s not playing, the Australian Open will be a great Australian Open.” (NYT)

I don’t know where in the universe my dear friend Armando Ramirez is – miss ya, but I do know for sure, he would exclaim on the controversary surrounding Djokoivic, something like this, “Bravo Rafa (who is vaccinated and at an earlier press conference suggested that Nadal should do the same). If Novak wants to play in the Open then get the damn shot.” Armando regularly played tennis into his eighth decade – one of the advantages, along with the warm climate (he hated the cold) and his nearby family, of living in the San Diego area.