POLITICALLY SPEAKING

Victoria Christopher Murray

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WE WON! NOW WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE DON’T LOSE!

          We won! Our mission has been accomplished — Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. is the 46th President of the United States. It was a hard-fought battle that went down to the very last day, ending with Biden winning in a decisive victory.
           After months of constant news, after four years of all of that noise, we can rejoice in our triumph. We can now rest.
           Except, we cannot. Because if we don’t realize that this is just the beginning with no end coming soon, defeat will land right on our doorstep. 
           You see, the power of the government is not with the President. We are not a dictatorship; our government truly has three equal branches: the legislative branch (Congress) makes the law, the executive branch (the President with his cabinet and federal agencies) enforces the law, and the judicial branch (Supreme Court and the federal courts) interprets the law. 
           The government was designed this way so that the power would never be in the hands of one man. So although someone may run to become president promising to help bring an end to the pandemic, increasing the minimum wage, redesigning health care so that every American is covered with that fundamental right, reforming immigration, forgiving a large part of student debt — not one of those promises can be fulfilled by the President’s will alone. While a President can write Executive Orders, those can be quickly ov

   So for Joe Biden to fulfill his promises and dreams for a better America, he needs a team to pass the laws that he wants — he needs a Democratic team (majority) in Congress.
           As of today, the Democrats hold a slim lead in the House of Representatives, but that’s not the case in the Senate. There are 50 Republican and 46 Democratic Senators. Maine and Vermont each have an Independent Senator who caucuses with the Democrats. If you add that up, that leaves two free Senate seats…the upcoming run-off election in Georgia.
           While these elections will be held in Georgia, what happens in Georgia, will not stay in Georgia this time. The difference between people having health care or not having health care — people getting COVID relief or not getting COVID relief — the federal minimum wage increasing or the federal minimum wage staying the same — is in the hands of what happens in Georgia. If the Democratic candidates win, there is a good chance that Joe Biden will be able to get most of his policies implemented. But if those Senate seats remain in the hands of the Republicans….
         

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 I’m optimistic because I believe the one positive thing coming from Trump’s time in office is in the way Americans now care about their government. For too long, too many just voted in presidential elections or (clutch my pearls), many people didn’t vote at all. But Trump exposed what happens when people are nonchalant about the legislature. Without our votes, the very democratic republic that we take for granted could easily slip into the hands of an autocrat. We could lose all kinds of freedoms to just one man. So yes, the election is over, but there’s another one right around the corner. Now, we have to focus on January 5, 2021, the special election in Georgia. Then, we will have to turn our attention to November, 2022 when all 435 seats will be up in the House, 34 seats will be up in the Senate, 36 gubernatorial seats will be on the ballot and a host of other seats including your state legislatures, prosecutors, judges, sheriffs, school board members…and dog catchers.

            The truth is, in order to preserve our democracy, the race is never over. Every single year, every single election, someone or something that could change your life will be on the ballot. The focus, hard work and engagement in the next election is always just a day away. And if we don’t keep this in mind, we will find ourselves, winning, but then losing, losing, and losing!

            My vote is that we will keep on winning. Stay engaged. Always vote.

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Victoria Christopher Murray is the Essence bestselling author of the novels Truth Be Told, Joy, and Temptation. Visit her at www.victoriachristophermurray.com. She lives with her family in Inglewood, California.

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