Happy Tuesday, good folks! Now it's time to call your Reps and Senators and tell them to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (If you're pressed for time, People for the American Way helps you with the For the People Act, while the ACLU helps you with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.) The 2020 elections taught us two things: 1) when people are super-organized, they can win elections even in places like Georgia, and 2) Republicans will use their power to prevent people from voting any way they can. As they're trying to do in states like Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Georgia as we speak! These bills would strengthen the Voting Rights Act, force campaigns to disclose their big donors, enact automatic and same-day voter registration across the land, mandate states to use redistricting commissions instead of self-interested legislators, and prevent states from using "address verification forms" to suppress voters of color -- among many other things! The only folks who'd oppose these things are folks afraid of losing a fair fight, and they certainly shouldn't get all the say about everything in America.
While you've got your Senators on the phone, tell them to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act. The Equality Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of "sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity" in public places, as well as in the spheres of education, housing, and credit. You may reasonably ask why we need an Equality Act, given Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch's 2020 opinion ruling that Title VII of our Civil Rights Act covers gay and transgender folks. Well, Title VII only concerns employment discrimination -- Justice Gorsuch would be the first to tell you that, despite appearances, you can't just apply it in another area -- and the Equality Act, as I've suggested, covers just about everything else. If you peruse right-wing objections to the Equality Act, you'll find they don't argue against the idea that we should extend civil rights to gay or transgender folks -- they concoct the most absurd stories they can think of, as if the law can predict every conceivable future event, or as if judges don't rule on precisely those matters. Don't brook any of that silliness. Rights are more important than hysterical what-ifs.
Meanwhile, you know about all that land in the Amazon rain forest currently home to indigenous folks? And you know how the Brazilian government (whose President, Jair Bolsonaro, is now the biggest asshole in any government now that Donald Trump is no longer American President) has been seizing their land illegally to sell it off to developers? Now dig this: you can buy these plots of stolen land on Facebook's Marketplace. Because freedom! Naturally Facebook says it's up to the sellers to comply with the law, though one could certainly argue that Facebook is an accomplice to the crime. Interesting, isn't it, how Facebook is never responsible for the evil that happens on its platform? And please understand that by "interesting" I mean "galling." They have just as much right to keep actual criminal activity from happening on their platform as they do to keep Nazis from recruiting angry high school kids on their platform, but they won't, so it's time to wave the Big Stick of Bad PR in their faces again. Sum of Us helps you tell Facebook to get its act together and stop letting criminals sell land they don't own on their platform.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell Democratic Senators to end the filibuster, Demand Progress still helps you do that. The best argument for keeping the filibuster is the one I used to deploy: the filibuster also saves us from the worst Republicans can do. But that is becoming less and less true! Did the filibuster save us from Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Comey Barrett? No, it did not, because Republicans got rid of it for that purpose, as they will whenever they want to get something even more extreme done! We might as well get rid of it first, and get some good done in the meantime. Yeah, Republicans will one day take complete control of our government again, and we might wish to have the filibuster back, but you know what beat back health care "reform" in 2017? We did, and if we stay in that frame of mind, then we'll win the battles we're supposed to win. And remember: nobody's getting into the voting booth in 2022 saying thank God the Democrats preserved the sanctity of Senate procedure, no matter what the cost to front-line pandemic workers who should be making more than $7.25/hour!