Welcome to the July 4/Independence Day weekend. Let's talk about what freedom and patriotism really mean...
FREEDOM is your right to pursue your life as you want to live it. Your freedoms have limits, of course, but only inasmuch as how they relate to others. Your freedoms end if they trample on another person's freedoms.
We must also be wary of some people's ideas of freedom — describing problematic capitalistic aspects of our society, like private health insurance, as inherently "freedom" is wrong because true freedom would allow you to move freely from one place of employment to another, without worry or consequence of losing health care coverage.
(And no, getting banned on Facebook or Twitter isn't a loss of your freedoms.)
PATRIOTISM is the love you have for your country. But sadly, the idea is often mistaken, particularly by those on the right, as the unfettered love of country. However, similar to how a parent who loves their child, a person can be patriotic and still want to improve their country and direct it on a better path than its currently taking.
A parent may be critical of the actions and choices their child makes, as they want them to do good in this world and not turn into a terrible grown-up. A person's patriotism is the same, and is not diminished if they want their country to improve.
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.
For Democrats to be successful in passing their agenda — much of which has overwhelming support from most American voters — the filibuster has to go. There is no other way it can work, and frankly, it's entirely justified to destroy the relic of the Senate.
Think about it: what was the last GOOD, progressive thing the filibuster has done to move America forward? Now consider all the bad it has done. Consider the way it protected Jim Crow-era laws that violated people's livelihoods and civil rights; consider how it blocked amendments to the Constitution, including the right of women to vote; consider what it's doing now, blocking an important elections bill that would expose "dark" money in politics, make redistricting a nonpartisan affair in every U.S. state, and more.
It's hard to understand why even a few Democrats still want the filibuster around, after all the bad it has done, but I guess that's par for the course when it comes to that party, which is often its own worst enemy.
But beyond the end of the filibuster, the Senate needs more reforms. Intended to be a voice for states within the federal government, the Senate has become TOO UNREPRESENTATIVE, and TOO OBSTRUCTIVE, of the people's wishes, even without the filibuster figured into the equation.
Consider this: the five least populated states in the U.S. represent about 2.7 million people, while the five most populated states have more than 123 million. Yet those five low-populated states AND those five highly-populated states have 10 senators each among them.
The founders were worried about a tyranny of the majority, to be sure, of larger states reigning supreme over smaller ones. But they probably never intended for five states with a population less than 2.2 percent of five other states to have the same political power. They never meant for a tyranny of the minority, which is what we have in the Senate right now.
So what can be done to fix this? Here's what I think: the Senate SHOULD remain primarily a place for states' rights to be protected in the federal government. But we should add 25 extra seats to the "upper chamber" of Congress, elected to four-year terms using proportional representation — a system where people vote for parties based on lists of candidates they put forward, and seats are awarded based on a percentage that each party receives. If Republicans get 50 percent of the vote, Democrats 40 percent, and a third party gets 10 percent, then the 25 seats are divided based on those numbers, with Republicans getting 12 or 13 seats, Democrats 10 seats, and that third party getting the remaining three or four seats.
What would this do? It would solve a lot of issues, or at least diminish a good number of problems. It would allow the Senate to be a bit more responsive to the people's wishes across the country. It would allow residents in D.C. to have Senate representation. And importantly, it would place a "check" in the federal government from multiple voices and views (not just picking a singular president who might not represent the views of half the country), equivalent to one-fourth of the power that state-elected Senators have.
Oh, and one more thing: as shown in the example above, it would allow third party options and candidates into our politics…definitely a positive outcome.
Well, we definitely saw this coming.
Trump, on his not-so-popular blogging website, is implying that higher gas prices today are because he's no longer president.
"I’m sorry to say the gasoline prices that you will be confronted with" during Memorial Day weekend "are far higher than they were just a short number of months ago where we had gasoline under $2 a gallon," Trump wrote. "Remember as you’re watching the meter tick, and your dollars pile up, how great of a job Donald Trump did as President."
Trump added that people will soon "be saying how good it was to have me as your President."
Well, no, that's not at all what happened. To put it bluntly, Trump is bragging about doing something that he never actually did.
You can watch my video on this, the first-ever episode of The Walk Through with That Chris Walker, which goes into deeper details, and mentions how Trump's oil policies didn't actually lower prices.
But here's the short of it: Trump didn't lower gas prices, the economy did. When people stopped traveling as much because of COVID-19, demand for gas went down, down, down. That, in turn, lowered prices.
It has nothing to do with Biden policies (which didn't raise prices) or Trump policies (which had no effect either). In fact, today's prices are very similar to the highest prices we saw under Trump's watch, when it got as high as $2.97 per gallon on average across the nation.
That's something the "other guy" won't tell you.