Has Democracy Won? Indivisible Urges Actions for Repair

The events of the past week may have put a win in the democracy column, but just the win is tenuous and as of yet, not assured. Four years of the most dangerous president of our lifetime and maybe in all of American history, has shattered the illusion that our democratic way of government is a given and inevitable, and that America is a world leader to be respected.  It is not. 

Yes, the good news is that Democrats will now control all three branches of government and work must begin to help remediate the damage. Yet, we cannot just walk away from the nightmare without accepting responsibility for change that helps close the loopholes and gaps that led to it. 

To that end, Indivisible National is calling for a number of actions and reforms to right the ship. We are encouraged to be vigilant, in constant communication with our elected officials, and work towards the following:

  • Statehood for D.C. and self-determination for Puerto Rico and other US territories
  • Voting rights for all, including incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and young people. Restoring the Voting Rights Act and overturning voter ID laws and other suppressive laws that target communities of color
  • Reform the Supreme Court, to set the course for a less hyper-partisan process for selecting and appointing judges
  • Ensure a free and independent media by breaking up media conglomerates and by investing in public broadcasting 
  • Support the For The People Act (H.R. 1):
    • Requiring members of Congress, Vice Presidents and Presidents to divest their assets and disclose conflicts of interest, and Presidents and VPs to disclose their tax returns
    • Instituting strict revolving door requirements to keep corporate lobbyists from moving back and forth into government
    • Plans to fight racial and partisan gerrymandering at all levels of government
    • Instituting public funding for elections to reduce the power of corporate money in government

More about HR.1

HR.1 aka the For the People Act, was reintroduced into the new, 117th Congressional session on January 4, 2021 by John Sarbanes and co-sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and Zoe Lofgren. The bill was originally introduced in 2019 and passed in the House, but never taken up by the Senate. Now, with a Democratic-led Senate and President, the bill has a much better chance of being signed into law. Expanding on the easier to read bullets listed above, the key elements of HR.1 address:

Voter empowerment and access – Through measures such as automatic voter registration, same-day registration, restoring the Voting Rights Act, protecting against improper purging of voter rolls, requiring states to upgrade and secure their election systems, restoring voting rights to those with past criminal convictions, providing adequate early voting opportunities, and preventing partisan gerrymandering through independent redistricting commissions, H.R. 1 helps ensure that everyone is included and represented in our democracy, and has unimpeded opportunities to participate.

Money in politics – A constitutional amendment is needed to overturn the chaos that Citizens United and related decisions unleashed into our campaign finance system. H.R. 1 starts that process immediately. Additionally, it further stems the tide of big money in our politics by amplifying small-dollar donations through public financing, encouraging small-dollar donations through tax incentives, eliminating “dark money” by requiring disclosure of all political spending (including online ads), cutting off cooperation between candidates and super PACs, and empowering the Federal Election Commission to truly enforce campaign finance law.

Ethics and corruption – Trump and his cronies regularly engaged in self-dealing, corruption, and conflicts of interest, without a single rebuke from the Republican-controlled Congress. H.R. 1 cracks down by making sure that ethics rules apply to all government officials – including the President. This means demanding disclosure of and divestment from financial interests that pose conflicts of interest, and then for the rest of the executive branch locking the “revolving door” of lobbyists and government officials, prohibiting bribery, and demanding full disclosure of information revealing potential and actual conflicts of interest. 

ACTION: Call your Representative and ask them to commit to voting YES on H.R. 1 when it comes to the House floor. You can follow progress of the bill here, and sign up for alerts as it moves through committees and onto the floor. 

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