All I Want for Christmas is a Faithful Democracy
Sister Quincy Howard, OP
December 22, 2021
As some of you may know, there are swirling rumors about the possibility that voting rights could move as soon as the Senate returns in January. With that in mind, it is the right moment for us to pull no punches in urging the White House to push the Democratic Caucus to finally pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis VRAA.
After the historical Senate floor address by Sen. Warnock earlier this month demanding action on voting rights, a very real energy is building among Senate Democrats. The timing of consideration between Build Back Better and voting rights bill has been in flux in recent days, but there was a tangible pivot towards the latter with Manchin’s unexpected rejection of BBB negotiations on Fox News. It was a setback, for sure, but one that can be overcome.
In the meantime, what we are seeing is a problematic lack of enthusiasm by the Biden Administration to meet the level of energy in the Senate move on voting rights. We know his influence on Democratic Senators is powerful. I chose to get arrested in front of the White House and to write about the moral call to pass these bills because we know President Biden also cares and listens when the faith community weighs in clear and strong.
In a faithful democracy, elections, campaigns, and voting are all mechanisms for a collective wisdom to shape truly representative leadership and empower accountable decision-makers. This is the open-loop system that, at its best, brings about a more perfect union. Transformational reforms are needed now to get us there, and cannot wait for another election cycle to pass.
Hampering voter participation has become campaign strategy in Republican led states. Gerrymandered districts are being drawn to lock in power for another decade rather than reflect the will of constituents. Dark money is already flooding the airwaves and internet with campaign attack ads and fear-mongering half-truths. All the while, a coordinated misinformation campaign is dangerously undermining voters’ trust in elections.
Leader Schumer has announced his intent to consider these bills as the first order of business in January—and to reform the filibuster rule if needed to have the debate and a vote. The White House must match his determination by encouraging the Senate Democrats to move on voting rights and adjust their rules as needed, even as they continue negotiating Build Back Better.
For now, make sure you stay updated with NETWORK here.
We look forward to what I hope is the final push to passage in the New Year and to welcoming Rev. Christian Watkins into the voting rights struggle on behalf of NETWORK. Take this holiday to rest so that you, too, will be ready to engage anew when the time is right.
Sr. Quincy Howard, OP