Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Mormon Perspective: What if the White Horse Prophecy wasn't talking about a Republican?

What if the White Horse Prophecy wasn't talking about Republicans saving democracy?  What if it came from somewhere unexpected, like the other side of the aisle?  What if the country was "hanging by a thread," because of the actions of the Republicans? 
(If you can't handle reading things that stretch your mind, skip this post.)



Dear Senator Reid,

Please reshape the Senate to comply with the Constitution, and get rid of the dishonest single-senator, filibuster, and the requirement for a super-majority of 60 votes to decide to vote.  Both rules makes no sense, especially in a political climate where the word *compromise* has become a dirty word.  Both are incredibly harmful to the country, are essentially unconstitutional. By allowing any objection, by a minority of senators, (and often a single senator) block the chance for laws to be voted on, letting senators duck being accountable for those votes. 

Please end this insanity, and allow the Senate the chance to become a place where democracy and good governance has a chance to happen. Each time a bill dies because of a silent filibuster, or because a super-majority of 60 votes is needed to bring a bill to the floor, when 58 senators would have voted in favor of that law, there is something important that doesn't happen. Often there is a courtroom, waiting for a federal judge who comes months or years later, while other judges try to keep up with an insane workload. There is no reason to strain the judicial system, because the judicial nominees have more than the 50 votes, needed to be confirmed. Yet, we have judicial vacancies that have gone unfilled for years, because a single senator has filibustered the nomination, not by speaking for hours, passionately sharing the reasons for the objection, but by simply declaring a filibuster, and even that does not have to be done publicly.

This practice of obstruction, through the requirement of super majorities and silent filibusters,  continues to create government gridlock, grandstanding, and encourages obstruction.  The current rules of the Senate discourages lawmakers, especially if their party is not currently in power, to do everything possible to keep any legislation that they don't like, from ever being voted on. We also see this in the cabinet level positions of the Obama Administration that are not filled, because a Republican senator has used a silent filibuster. 

As I talked about earlier, we have dozens of federal court vacancies. Recently, two of those judges have been released from a Republican silent filibuster, and it was so unusual that it was big news! Big news should be immigration reform, a national education reform bill, collegiate student aid increases for low-income students, permanent increases to our social safety net, background checks and other common sense gun control legislation, or an overhaul of the tax code that takes away the corporate loopholes.  Heck, I would call it big news if all of the state and national  lawmakers who hold elected office, (no matter what their party affiliation) committed to taking part in a weekend retreat dedicated to the art of the compromise, and good governance.  I would love it even more, if those legislators actually started debating laws, and actually  passed laws that have huge support from a majority of the American people!

The  President, (whichever party he is from) deserves an up or down vote, and to choose the advisors s/he has chosen.  The American people deserve to have judges available in the courtroom, when they are needed.  They deserve a full compliment of regulatory officials, smart people who are experts in whatever they do, who can help keep them safe. There is no good reason that those spots are going empty, and for the vast majority of the people nominated for those positions, if there was an up or down vote, they would have been confirmed months ago, (years in a few cases) and functioning in their jobs.

When you have a senator who has hundreds of filibusters, and thinks releasing two of those counts as "compromise," then the system is so seriously broken that only radical change can do something about it. The Republicans have proven that they have no understanding of the damage they cause the country by refusing to compromise in any way.  Over and over their actions have proven what they say; that they are not interested in governing, or serving the people.

If Democrats allow the Republicans to keep throwing temper tantrums that hurt our economy, then Democratic law makers become just as guilty, because they could have protected the country, and chose not to. You can change this, and you should change it. If Republicans ever control the Senate again, they will change it. If Senator Reid and the Senate Democrats, are holding out hope that Republicans will come to their senses, that is a fantasy. It is a different fantasy than the pretend world that Republicans think used to exist, and that they think we can get back to if we destroy Medicare, Social Security, and fight off the evil socialists, feminists, isolate our LGBT citizens so they can "save marriage," and apple pie?

Republicans have been clear in stating their desire to destroy the social safety net for the poorest Americans, and that they do not care who they hurt. I believe them when they say that they will continue to do that, if allowed. When you have someone who says they will keep abusing someone, if you have the ability to stop the abuse, you have a moral obligation to do so. Full stop.

The nuclear option takes away a few very abusive tools, that the Republicans are using at an unprecedented level, with no sign of stopping. Be the hero who says, I will not let the Constitution hang by a thread, as the Republican Party tries to take away basic  freedoms and programs that support the poorest among us, allow for the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without  equal access to education, food, housing, healthcare, and protection against discrimination, the Republicans have shown that they are happy to erase any legal, or moral, responsibility that we have to those who are poor, sick, abused and abandoned. They are happy to ignore the needs of military families who live close to the poverty line, and turn their backs on the needs of veterans. If ever we needed to take a stand to protect civil society, and the basic humanity contained in the Constitution, it is now. Please, Senator Reid, take these weapons away from the Republicans, and treat them like bullies they having shown in words, and actions, that they are.

Please Senator Reid, Go Nuclear!  You might be fulfilling the White Horse Prophecy, but whether you are or not, you will be doing the right thing!  Isn't that worth doing?

Julia Taylor
Mom, Student, Mormon, Unaffiliated Voter, and Believer in the American Dream

5 comments:

  1. This is so awesome. Wow! You are one gutsy lady, and I am so glad my daughter sent me this link!

    As a lifelong Democrat and member of the Mormon church, who raised my kids in Utah county, I love this! I admit that I went a little crazy during the last presidential campaign. We left on our mission a month before the election, and I had to sit on my hands, bite my tongue, and sometimes leave the room, as so many ward members would use the White Horse Prophecy to explain why Mitt Romney would be the next POTUS. One Sunday I was so upset in Sunday School, I asked why no one thought Harry Reid might be the one being referred to. At the time I was just frustrated with the lesson, but my daughter was visiting that Sunday, and since the election, we have joked several times that Harry Reid is our only hope for the White Horse Prophecy to be filled in our lifetimes.

    You make a good case for Senator Reid, but I think you make an even better case for why Republicans in general are just plain crazy, and have lost touch with reality. Senator Reid should do what he can to stop the Tea Party from destroying America's economy, and making the rich richer, and taking away basic necessities to keep people alive, like Food stamps, WIC and Medicaid.

    After having been in Europe for a year, I can't believe how much more humane people are to one another. There is no debate about if people deserve healthcare or access to basic nutrition and a solid education. I have been impressed with the differences, and American Exceptionalism just seems delusional, after seeing the "European Socialism," that Republicans use as an example of the death of the American Dream.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. The Most Read Posts on the side seem to be about a pretty wide variety of things, not just political. I can see why my daughter told me that she loves it whenever you have a new blog post.

    I can't use my name, or the country I am serving in, (per mission rules) so I will just sign,

    Sister Missionary in Europe

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  2. Saw this on a friend's Facebook feed. Totally agree, but can't help chuckling at the idea of Reid instead of Romney as the White Horse Prophecy savior. Please, please let it be so! We need that kind of irony in our lives.

    Now, if only we could get a few more Mormon Democrats in congress!

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  3. For everyone on FaceBook who got excited about Senate rules, I hate to burst your bubble, but it only takes 50%+1 to change Senate rules. It does not take a Constitutional Amendment, and the House does not vote on it. It is not a bill or law being voted on, it is a procedural rule.

    Thought I would comment here, instead of just in the group, so that as new people read it, they will already know the answer.

    ~~The Admin that is a Lawyer

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  4. My friend sent me a link. Thank you for expressing so many of my frustrations with politics, and the assumption that church members are Republicans.

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  5. I love the letter you wrote, and the fact that you call it like you see it, without getting bogged down in the partisanship that seems to be the hallmark of today's political rhetoric. In my opinion, there is a difference when someone suggests doing something, or does something, because it is the only way to do their job, and someone who does or doesn't do something because they want to spite someone else.

    After Harry Reid went ahead and changed the Senate rules, I watched several interviews with Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and other Republican leaders, who had the audacity to pretend that this action came "out of the blue," and that Senator Reid was being a bully and took this step to be mean. Do these guys think we are idiots? Do they think we don't remember the temper tantrum they threw that caused a completely unnecessary government shut-down? I expect a pretty high level of self unawareness, but does Michelle Bachman think that calling President Obama and Senator Reid names, will make us forget that she acted as if the government shutdown was wonderful, and that she encouraged other Tea Party Republicans to shut it down, and keep it closed as long as possible?

    I felt like your allusion to the White Horse Prophecy, which has become a code in many Mormon Republican circles, for an explicit approval and a divine right, for Republicam politicians to act in unChristlike ways, and to be justified in using their membership in the church as a smokescreen.

    When Romney was running, Republicans said that his election would be proof that the country wanted to repeal Obamacare, and turn towards the Ryan Budget. Romney and the Republicans lost, and yet you would think this is 2000, and instead of the SCOTUS giving the election to a Republican who lost the popular vote, that instead Obama was handed a second term that the American people didn't vote for. The truth is that Obama won the popular vote, and the Electoral College, and every non-partisan poll, in the last months of the election, predicted that. The exit interviews of voters made it clear that Obama had clearly won, and then the actual votes confirmed it. This election was over in 2012, and the Republicans need to wake up, and accept that their plan to make Onama a one term president, backfired *mainly because* all they focused on was making Obama a one term president, instead of the jobs that come with serving in the Senate and House.

    Thank you for outlining why I am not upset about the Senate rule change, but I am upset that Republicans made it necessary. I haven't read you blog before, but I have subscribed.

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