Catholic bishops Choose Trump over Biden
Some people can't take yes for an answer. Take America's Catholic bishops.
For only the second time in our history, a Catholic has been elected president of the United States. But Joe Biden's not just a Catholic in name only, like John F. Kennedy. Biden's a practicing Catholic. He faithfully attends mass every Sunday (or Saturday evening). He carries a rosary with him. He talks openly about how his faith informs his politics.
Reflecting what Jesus taught and practiced, Biden once told The Hill: "My faith teaches me to care for the least among us." Shortly before the 2020 election, he told The Christian Post: "My faith implores me to embrace a preferential option for the poor and, as president, I will do everything in my power to fight poverty."
When it comes to faith and Catholicism, Joe Biden's the real deal. So what do American Catholic bishops do? Celebrate the success and example of one of their own? No. They're trying to throw Joe Biden under the bus.
Top of the agenda at a general assembly of America's Catholic bishops this week was scheduling a vote in November on a proposal to deny communion to President Biden and other elected Catholics because they are pro-choice. It's the same ban they tried, but failed, to enact against vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. Now they're going after Joe Biden. Even though - get this! - Pope Francis begged them not to!
In a statement this month, Pope Francis urged bishops not to use access to the Eucharist as a political weapon. The sacrament of communion, he preached, "is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners." The Vatican's top doctrinal official, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, wrote a letter to American bishops warning them that going ahead with such a vote could "become a source of discord rather than unity" - a view echoed by Catholic lay leader Steve Schneck, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, who told me it would widen "the already too sharp division among American Catholics, shattering solidarity and dividing Catholics against Catholics."
In other words, the pope and others have warned: don't play politics with communion. "Would Jesus deny anyone a place at the table?" Schneck asks. "I don't think so." But American bishops, led by extreme right-wing Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, seem determined to do just that.
The bishops are dead wrong on several counts. For starters, they don't reflect the views of most American Catholics, 56 percent of whom, according to Pew Research, believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Eighty-nine percent of Catholics disagree with the church ban on contraception.
Which raises the question: Why are bishops so obsessed with sex? All these old white guys care about is abortion, birth control, or same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church is also officially against the death penalty and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Have bishops ever threatened to deny communion to any politician, Republican or Democrat, who votes for the death penalty or for building more nukes? No!
And get this. Just six months into his presidency, American bishops are now convening to condemn man of faith Joe Biden - when, during four years, they never said a peep about serial adulterer Donald Trump. Trump, who seldom stepped into a church except for a political rally, is the antithesis of a good Christian: liar, hateful, anti-immigrant, racist, misogynist, sexual predator, inciter of violence. Yet bishops looked the other way - because he was anti-abortion.
What's most troubling is that bishops, in effect, are demanding that Joe Biden violate the Constitution by forcing his religion on all other Americans, which, to his credit, Biden refuses to do. "I accept my church's position on abortion," Biden has said. "That's the Church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews."
In the end, Schneck believes, the "communion warriors" will have no chance of rounding up the two-thirds vote needed to deny Biden communion. But even raising the issue alienates bishops from the Biden administration (whose support they will need for other issues), not to mention from the majority of American Catholics.
According to Pew Research, the percentage of American Catholics has dropped from 24 percent of the population to 21 percent, and Catholics have experienced a greater loss from religious switching than any other religion. Now we know why. American Catholics are not just leaving the church. American bishops are driving them out.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Open Letter to Joe Manchin
Dear Sen. Manchin: I don't know you, senator. We've never met in person. But, ever since you arrived in the Senate, I've admired your streak of independence, your willingness to reach out across the aisle, and your dedication to the people of West Virginia. Yes, I've admired you a great deal ... until now.
But any respect I once had for you, senator, is now gone. Because, on voting rights and on the filibuster, you're just dead wrong. You've teamed up with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to destroy the institution of the United States Senate. You've not helped the Senate get things done, you've helped Mitch McConnell block the Senate from getting anything done.
Frankly, I still held out a little bit of hope, senator, before you announced your opposition to the "For the People Act." Did you forget? This is the same voting rights legislation you co-sponsored in 2019, when it also had no GOP backers. Yet last Sunday, in a complete reversal, you wrote in the Charleston Gazette-Mail: "I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy. And for that reason, I will vote against the 'For the People Act.'"
Senator, how can you be so stupid? Surely, you must know that an assault on our democracy in the form of "partisan voting legislation" is already underway, led by Republican governors and state legislators across the land. Already this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, 14 states have enacted at least 22 new laws restricting voting rights. Only by setting up national standards for voting as contained in the "For the People Act" -- universal absentee ballots, expanded early voting, same-day voter registration, ending partisan gerrymandering -- can Congress protect the sanctity of the vote. Yet every Republican senator opposes doing so - and now you join their ranks.
Are you blind, senator? In state after state, and in the Senate, it's Republicans echoing Donald Trump's "Big Lie" who are playing politics with voting rights, not Democrats. You must realize there's no hope for bipartisanship as long as Republicans continue to vote "No" on everything.
And, let's be honest. You embarrassed yourself by vowing, despite your opposition to the "For the People Act," to vote for the "John Lewis Voting Rights Act," scheduled for later this year. Seriously? Don't you realize that Republicans will filibuster that bill, too? Sure enough, the very next day, Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to the bill. When are you going to stop believing in Santa Claus? McConnell made a fool of you, senator - and you deserved it.
In that same editorial, you reaffirmed your opposition to any change in the filibuster. "I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster," you wrote. Again, a big mistake.
If only you'd listened to what one senator said back in October 2011: "We have become paralyzed by the filibuster and an unwillingness to work together at all, just because it's an election cycle." Or what that same senator proposed in December 2011: that in order for the Senate to function better we must "fix the filibuster" by making senators debate bills properly. They can't just use the filibuster to prevent consideration of any measure, he argued. "If senators want to halt action on a bill, they must take to the floor and hold it through sustained debate." The Senate must also, he urged, "end filibusters on motions to proceed to debate."
And, of course, the senator who made so much sense about the filibuster in 2011 was you, Sen. Manchin. What happened? You're smart enough to know, senator, that Republicans are still not using the filibuster to kill legislation they don't like. They're using the 60-vote rule to prevent debate on any major legislation. They're using the filibuster to stop the Senate dead in its tracks - and you're helping them.
One final point. In your self-defense, you insist that your only job is to represent the people of West Virginia. Nonsense. As a former senator told me last weekend: Yes, you're elected to serve the people of your state, but once you take the oath of office, your primary obligation is to do what's best for the entire country.
Come on! Wake up, senator. If you're the same man you were in 2011, at least agree to get rid of the filibuster on motions to proceed, or on voting rights only, or reduce it to 55, not 60. Otherwise, you're as bad as Mitch McConnell. Respectfully yours, a disappointed American.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Battle for the Soul of America
We all remember that fateful day, September 11, 2001, and the moment when President George W. Bush got the news. While Bush was reading to a group of second-graders at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card walked in and whispered into the president's ear: "America is under attack."
Today, Chief of Staff Ron Klain might well whisper those same words to President Joe Biden. Because in a very real sense, "America is under attack" again today, just like it was on September 11, but with one big difference. This time, America's under attack, not by a small band of foreign terrorists, but by legions of domestic terrorists: Republican officeholders at the state and federal level who are out to gut and destroy our democracy.
Here's the problem: The very phrase, "America is under attack," sounds unreal. When most people hear it, they don't believe it. How can American democracy be under attack? We've been around for 245 years. America under attack? That's just hyper political rhetoric. It can't be serious.
Except it is. Deadly serious. We are experiencing, without exaggeration, the greatest threat to our national security since the Civil War. This is no standard political debate about tax cuts, affirmative action, or fracking. This is far more consequential. This is a direct assault on the heart and soul of America: the power of the people and the sanctity of the popular vote. As President Biden warned on Memorial Day: "Democracy itself is in peril. What we do now...will determine whether or not democracy will long endure."
Perpetuating Donald Trump's big lie about massive voter fraud in 2020, Republican leaders are undermining democracy on three fronts, each more serious than the other. First, making it harder to vote. If that doesn't work, enabling state legislatures to overturn the popular vote. And, as if that's not enough, urging armed insurrection against the United States government. Look around you. It's happening right before your eyes.
MAKING IT HARDER TO VOTE. The goal in a democracy should be making it as easy and convenient as possible to vote. Republicans are doing just the opposite, throwing up every possible roadblock to suppress the vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, since November 2020, 360 voter suppression bills have been introduced in 47 states, of which 14 states have already enacted a total of 22 new restrictive laws. They range from eliminating or reducing hours of early voting; shutting down polling places; requiring a photo ID; and banning vote-by-mail or limiting its use by requiring voters to apply and provide an excuse. Georgia even made it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.
OVERTURNING THE VOTE. If, despite their efforts to suppress the vote, Republicans still end up losing, they have another ace up their sleeve: allowing Republican-controlled legislatures to take over the process from local election officials and reverse the results of the official vote. Such legislation has been introduced in 14 states and is already the law in Georgia and Arizona.
ARMED INSURRECTION. But Republicans don't stop there. If they can't cheat and steal the election itself, they'll unleash the forces of violence. Indeed, they're already doing so. At a QAnon event in Dallas this week, Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, was asked why a bloody military coup like the one recently in Myanmar couldn't happen here. "No reason," Flynn replied. "I mean, it should happen here."
Also this week, wacky Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz told a rally in Georgia that the Second Amendment is not about hunting, recreation, or sports. Instead, Gaetz said, the Second Amendment is about "the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary." Of course, Gaetz was only echoing the words of Donald Trump on January 6 when he urged supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.
Meanwhile, Trump himself is keeping the Big Lie alive - and fueling the assault on democracy - by assuring supporters that bootleg recounts now underway in Maricopa County, Arizona, and Fulton County, Georgia, will reinstate him as president by August 2021 and trigger a second Inaugural Day.
Wake up, America! The threat is real. Our democracy is under attack. Suppressing the vote? Overturning the vote? Violent overthrow of the United States? There's only one word for such actions. It's treason. It's time to treat them as such. And charge all those responsible with treason, starting with Donald Trump.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Bipartisanship is a total waste of time
One of the great pleasures of politics is being able to change your mind. No matter what the issue. You watch, you listen, you learn, you grow, you realize you were simply wrong about something, even something you once felt strongly about, and you change your mind.
Well, I've been watching and listening a lot lately, and I've changed my mind about bipartisanship. I used to be for it, now I'm against it. That is, I'm totally against it -- with today's gang of hyper-partisan Republicans who are more interested in kissing Donald Trump's butt than serving their country.
Yes, in theory, bipartisanship's a good thing. It's always better when leaders of both parties work together to solve problems. It wasn't so long ago that happened: with Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill on tax reform; with Russ Feingold and John McCain on campaign reform; with Trent Lott and Tom Daschle on power-sharing; even with George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy on education.
Nobody embodies the desire for bipartisanship more than Joe Biden. That's who he is. That's what drives him. He likes nothing more than reaching across the aisle, rounding up a few Republicans, and hammering out a compromise. That's the way he operated as senator and vice-president. And that's the way he hoped to govern as president on every critical issue: health care, immigration, climate change, infrastructure.
But here's my message to Joe today: Bipartisanship? With this gang? Fuhgheddaboutit! Those days are long gone. Among today's Republicans, it's dog eat dog. They have no ideas, no agenda, and zero interest in governing or getting things done. Starting at the top, with Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, their only mission is to tear down and destroy. What's surprising is why it's taking Biden so long to understand that.
Biden should have known from day one he'd get no cooperation from today's Republicans. For months, most of them wouldn't even admit he'd won the election, and many still don't. On November 5, Kevin McCarthy told Fox News: "President Trump won this election." McCarthy led 125 House Republicans in supporting a Supreme Court challenge to Biden's election brought by the Texas attorney general. And McCarthy's one of 147 Republicans who voted on November 6 to overturn the Electoral College results -- just hours after a pro-Trump mob had invaded the Capitol and sent them running for their lives.
If that wasn't enough, Republicans again showed their lack of interest in bipartisanship on Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. For his very first Oval Office meeting with members of Congress, Biden invited a group of Republican senators who said they wanted to compromise. Yet they offered a mere $618 billion alternative, less than a third of Biden's proposal -- and never budged. In the end, not one single Republican voted for the bill.
The most disgusting display of pure partisanship and refusal to compromise came this week over creation of a September 11-like commission to investigate the insurrection of January 6. Let's remember what happened that day. An armed mob of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol, broke doors and windows, defiled the sacred House and Senate Chambers, destroyed documents, endangered the lives of House Members, senators, and the vice president, and pummeled and killed Capitol Police officers. It's important to know how and why that occurred in order to protect the Capitol, tell the American people the truth, and prevent such an outrage from happening again.
Yet both Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell opposed creation of the commission. Even though they both originally supported it. And even though the commission plan was crafted, at McCarthy's request, by Republican Congressman John Katko -- who got everything in the deal that McCarthy had demanded. But McCarthy still voted against it. Why? Because Donald Trump told him to. And because McCarthy knew he'd be subpoenaed to testify about his phone call with Donald Trump in the middle of the insurrection.
What more proof do you need? By rejecting the January 6 Commission, Republicans have proved once and for all that they're not willing to work together, even on a matter of national security. They'd rather protect Donald Trump than the Capitol.
For Joe Biden, the message is clear: Forget bipartisanship. Stop meeting with Republicans. Push your agenda through with Democratic votes only, while they still control the House and Senate, even if it means amending or killing the filibuster. And stop trying to get Republican votes. They'll never play. It's a total waste of time.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Be a good Republican: Tell a big lie
Visiting Cape Town in 1966, Robert Kennedy said: “There is a Chinese curse which says, ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not we live in interesting times.” By which, Kennedy noted, he meant a time of danger, turmoil and uncertainty.
Fifty-five years later, we, too, live in interesting times. And when the history of these interesting times is written, it will revolve around three fateful dates: November 3, 2020, the beginning of the Big Lie, when Donald Trump first insisted that he, not Joe Biden, won the presidential election; January 6, 2021, the bloody outcome of the Big Lie, when Trump unleashed a mob of supporters on the U.S. Capitol; and May 12, 2021, the triumph of the Big Lie, when the House Republican Caucus booted Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her leadership post because she refused to embrace Trump’s Big Lie.
That rumble you hear is the sound of Ronald Reagan rolling in his grave. The Republican Party’s no longer the party of ideas. It’s no longer the party of smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation and more individual freedom. It’s no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.
With Cheney’s ouster, it’s now official: Today’s Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump. And, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, unless you swear allegiance to Trump’s lie, you don’t belong. This is now the litmus test for membership. Unless you stand up and swear that Joe Biden’s an illegitimate president — that Donald Trump, not Biden, actually won the 2020 election, and that the election was stolen from him — you have no place in the Republican Party. They might as well rename it the BLP — the “Big Lie Party.”
It’s unbelievable that the once proud party of Dwight Eisenhower, Jerry Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Christine Todd Whitman and John McCain should be reduced to this: a religious cult worshipping “Dear Leader” Donald Trump and all of his lies. It’s also unbelievable that the leading Republican refusing to drink the Kool-Aid and willing to challenge Trump is Liz Cheney.
To put it mildly, Cheney’s no model politician (name one politician who is). Her record is particularly troubling. As a Senate candidate, she threw her own sister under the bus when she campaigned against same-sex marriage. She tacitly supported the insane birther movement against Barack Obama. And she enthusiastically endorsed the Big Lie spread by her father about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which paved the way for the avalanche of lies from Donald Trump.
So what? No matter her past sins, the only thing that counts today is that, in a party that has lost its way, only Liz Cheney makes any sense. Among Republican Party leaders who have swallowed the Big Lie, only Liz Cheney is telling the truth. How strange, but true — that only Donald Trump could make Liz Cheney look good.
The big question, of course, is where does the Republican Party go from here? House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (has Washington ever seen a dumber leader?) claims that, by bouncing her, he’s created a “big tent” party that’s now free to focus on the future. When, in fact, the exact opposite is true. You don’t create a big tent party by silencing the one voice that dares disagree with Donald Trump. You can’t focus on the future as long as you’re still fighting over the results of November 2020. And you don’t guarantee victory in 2022 or 2024 by hitching your wagon to the star of a former president who cost Republicans the House, the Senate and White House in 2020 and now enjoys only a 32 percent approval rating. Biden stands at 63 percent.
Cheney, meanwhile, argues that the Republican Party faces a fundamental choice: tell the truth, or sell the lie. And it’s clear she’s not going away quietly.
“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” she told reporters immediately after her ouster. McCarthy has handed her a national platform as the leader of the reject-the-Big Lie, tell-the-truth, defend-democracy, move-on-from Trump wing of the Republican Party.
Mark my words. In the end, Cheney and the truth will prevail. Trump loyalists won in the short term. But in the long term, when Republicans lose again with Trump in 2022 and 2024, they’ll wish they’d listened to Liz Cheney.
©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The California recall: Big joke
SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite leading the country in so many ways -- music, movies, fashion, technology, innovation, science -- California's still often unfairly derided as "the land of fruits and nuts." But, once in a while, it earns the title. As it does today with the attempt to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.
It's now official. Secretary of State Shirley Weber has confirmed that organizers collected enough signatures to qualify the recall: 1,495,235 valid signatures, or 12 percent of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Which will trigger a special statewide recall election in October or November.
Let's be clear. This is no serious political measure. This has nothing to do with policy or important issues. This is nothing but a pathetic political ploy played on the people of California by delusional state and national supporters of Donald Trump.
"No doubt about it," Richard Spotswood, politics and government columnist for the San Rafael Independent-Journal, told me. "This is a 100 percent partisan political campaign." And, as Spotswood pointed out, you don't have to look hard to see the evidence of that.
The head of RescueCalifornia.org, the sponsor of the recall, is Bay Area attorney Tom Del Beccaro, former chair of the California Republican Party, former chair of the Contra Costa County Republican Party, and former president of the 58 Republican Party County Chairmen.
Not only that. Funding for the signature-gathering campaign included $250,000 from the Republican National Committee and $125,000 from the California Republican Party. And the Republican Governors Association has established a special PAC -- "Recall Newsom! RGA Action" -- to raise funds nationwide in support of the recall.
What makes the recall notoriously partisan is the fact that, so far, only Republican candidates have filed to run against Newsom: wealthy former Congressman Doug Ose; John Cox, who ran against Newsom in 2018 and lost by 24 points; and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has little name recognition statewide and endorsed Donald Trump in 2020.
In California, that could turn out to be a fatal mistake. According to the latest Morning Consult poll, Donald Trump has only a 34 percent approval rating in California, 49th out of 50 states. Only Vermont's lower, with 29 percent. As Spotswood told me, nobody linked to Trump could win statewide in California. Not even former Olympian and Trump supporter Caitlyn Jenner, America's most famous trans, who's committing political suicide by running as a Republican when her party's actually waging war against transgender Americans.
In fact, the only way to change the naked partisanship of the recall would be for some prominent Democrat to file against Newsom, but so far -- under pressure from Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- no Democrat has stepped forward. Reportedly, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's seriously interested, but after his embarrassing third-place finish against Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, it's doubtful he'll jump in.
Nevertheless, Democrats are not taking the recall for granted. They're obsessed by fear that this could prove to be a repeat of the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Yet, that's highly unlikely, because of the suburban shift toward Democrats in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Sacramento counties in the last 18 years. The math tells the story.
In 2003, Republicans accounted for 34 percent of the California population; in 2021, they've shrunk to 24 percent. Democrats, meanwhile, have climbed to 46 percent. In 2000, George W. Bush lost California by 1.3 million votes; in 2020, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in California by 5.1 million votes. Plus, Newsom's stronger politically than Davis ever was. In 2018, Gavin Newsom won his race for governor by 3 million votes; in 2002, Gray Davis won by only 400,000 votes.
Two other factors weigh heavily against the recall: why and when. Aside from pure partisanship -- Republicans itching to get rid of any Democrat -- the recall was initially prompted by anger over Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But that argument has almost disappeared as vaccines are readily available and schools and businesses have reopened. Today, California has the lowest number of new cases of any state.
As to timing, Newsom's not the perfect governor. He's made lots of mistakes. There are plenty of valid reasons to vote against him. But anybody who wants to do so will have that opportunity in 2022, when he's up for re-election. There's no need to advance the timetable by one year. The whole California recall is an expensive joke that's bound to fail."
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The jury did its job; now it's up to the Senate
It's been a rough 16 months. Battered by the perfect storm of a pandemic, economic slump, invasion of the U.S. Capitol, repeated cases of police violence, and multiple mass shootings, it's been a long time since we Americans had any good news. But we sure got some this week with the verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
There are two images we'll never forget. First, the painful image of George Floyd pleading "I can't breathe" 27 times during the 9 minutes and 29 seconds he lay on the ground with Chauvin's knee on his neck. Second, the triple-guilty Chauvin being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. They're bookends to an event that has the potential of transforming America.
It'll take time to assess the full meaning of the Chauvin verdict, but we know what it means for now. First, it means that Black Lives Matter has been vindicated as one of the most powerful and peaceful citizen movements in our history: the successor, and second only, to the original civil rights movement - not the violent mob Donald Trump tried to label it.
It means that police officers know, from now on, they're not above the law. They can no longer count on being automatically defended by their police chief. Like Derek Chauvin, they can now be held accountable for abusing power, fired from their job, face criminal charges, be convicted, and sent to prison.
It means that most Americans now accept the reality of systemic racism in this country and the need to do something about it, starting with fundamental police reform. But it also means that, no matter how welcome the jury verdict was, this is only the beginning. We still have a long way to go - as evidenced by the fact that, the morning after the verdict, we saw the shooting of a black teenage girl by a white police office in Ohio.
The enormity of the challenge ahead of us is underscored by a three-fold reality check. First, the fact that the killing of unarmed black people is not getting worse, it's just getting filmed. Without that video, George Floyd would have been just another victim of police violence with no accountability, joining the ranks of - Know their names! - Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and far too many others.
Second, the fact that were it up to his fellow officers, Derek Chauvin would never have been held accountable. The initial report of the Minneapolis Police Department read: "Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction." Local officials then bungled the initial investigation so badly that the governor was forced to step in and order Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the case.
Third, the fact that Chauvin would still never have been charged with murder without the courage of 14 people who just happened to be passing by, saw what was happening, knew it was wrong, and begged Chauvin to stop. None more important than teenager Darnella Frazier, who recorded the entire episode on her cellphone and uploaded it to Facebook.
Fortunately, the jury weighed the evidence, believed their eyes and made the right decision. A decision that came too late to save George Floyd's life, but may just save this country - if only we seize this moment to act. We can't stop now.
The jury did its job, now it's up to the U.S. Senate. The House already approved (with not one Republican vote) the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds, end "qualified immunity" for police officers, and create national standards for policing. This is a pro-police bill, an absolutely necessary first step toward police reform. It demands bipartisan support in the Senate. If ever there was a time to put politics aside, it's now. But even that's not enough.
The jury did its job, now it's also up to each one of us to do whatever we can in our own lives to end systemic racism in this country: demand change in local police departments, join peaceful protests, put pressure on elected officials, support black-owned businesses, let our African-American friends and neighbors know their lives do matter, make this issue a priority. We each have a role to play.
The difference is, we can now act having just experienced a profound moment of justice. Sadly, George Floyd will never breathe again, but now America can. Thanks to a jury in Minneapolis, Americans can breathe again - and get to work.
(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.