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Est. April 5, 2002
Oct 7, 2021 - Issue 882
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A ‘Stygian Night’ is coming upon us, as Americans are systematically slipping into a hellish, gloomy darkness as its democratic institutions are collapsing, and K-12 public education, voting rights, access to health care for the poor, the literal selling off and/or failure of utilities (water, electricity, etc.), and severe climate change are negatively impacting Americans, especially ethnic minorities.

Such a dramatic transformative moment has been frequently viewed as approaching the Biblical Armageddon which “Protestant fundamentalists “… refer to (as) an impending cataclysmic struggle between the forces of good and evil.” Democrats and Republicans alike are facilitating this alteration in our social and economic conditions.

Of late, Republicans are leading this effort as the voting demographics are shifting in states where they have long-held power (Arizona, Georgia, and others to come) and where ethnic minority populations, which have leaned Democratic as noted in the 2020 census, are changing and slated to surpass their ethnic White counterparts.

Ethnic-minority community cities—Detroit and Flint, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; Camden and Newark, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; and Baltimore, Maryland; among the most glaring examples--have already experienced the ‘Stygian Night’ via excessive lead poisoning in aging water lines and dilapidated buildings.

The lack of preparedness for increasing winter freezes because of climate became clear in Texas in 2011 and 2021, causing massive, long-term power outages for the state’s citizenry. Republican legislatures and governors, who sold off the production and control of electricity to corporations, spearheaded these disasters.

In the 1990s, Milwaukee, under the leadership of Democratic Mayor John Norquist, mismanaged a “… water filtering and disinfecting system from two treatment plants that fed into an interconnected system of water mains so either plant could supply the entire city.” This mistake led to an outbreak of cryptosporidium, a chlorine-resistant parasite that sickened 400,000 Milwaukeeans, 25 percent of the city’s population in 1993. A decade later, the Newark City Council foiled Democratic Mayor Cory Booker’s attempt to sell the city’s watershed to his corporate backers.

Republicans have learned from these bipartisan attempts to control and/or undermine voters and are aiming their contempt at voters of color in particular, and are taking a collective stand against existing and proposed Democratic policies in order to move the nation back to an earlier time—pre-Brown and pre-1960s civil rights and voting legislation.

The Republican Party has decided that it can “build back better” and return to an era of racial and economic segregation and oppression, by giving a pass to Trump’s “Big Lie” and his other racist bellowing, and is utilizing the U.S. Supreme Court and state legislatures to achieve those ends. The GOP is essentially putting lipstick on a xenophobic, autocratic political pig.

Most distressing, however, is that Republicans are moving down the political field in military precision and basically uninhibited while their Democratic opponents are preoccupied with centrists and progressives fighting each other, trying to prove who is most supportive of the Democratic base. They are committing political Hara-kiri.

Democrats are sabotaging their political objectives of passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill and their own reconciliation bill by taking their eyes and energies off the Republicans' ongoing skullduggery and are inadvertently assisting the Republican creation of a 'Stygian Night' for Americans due to their internal conflicts.

Despite the good things proposed in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill--vision and dental care, universal preschool, two years of free community college, etc.,--the Party has not developed a strong message to sell it! It appears to trust and believe that the Democratic base will fall in line because it elected them to office, and they know what is best for them.

The Democratic leadership has yet to translate these legislative proposals into a coherent, detailed message, especially the reconciliation bill, that will rally and excite their voters while Republicans have advanced a pithy and easily grasped political memorandum running in a continuous loop: Democrats will spend us and our kids into oblivion and leave future generations bankrupt!

What makes the aforementioned statement so effective is that Republicans at every elective level repeat and reinforce it at every turn. In the interim, Democratic communications regarding what they are for are all over the spectrum and depend on who is at the political microphone at any point in time. There is little consistency given their infighting.

Perhaps the stupidest political moves by progressive House Democrats are their attacks on Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, whose votes they need to get the infrastructure and reconciliation bills through the Senate. What is most disconcerting is that they feel they can coerce/bully these Senators into voting their way.

Neither the Democratic progressives nor centrists seem aware that Sinema and Manchin are not up for reelection until 2024, while all House members have to retire or face an election in 2022. According to current polls, there is a high probability that the Democrats will have lost the House by November 2022. These are the main reasons Republicans, so far, have refused to help Democrats raise the debt ceiling. By standing unified, the GOP feels they will have an edge in the 2022 midterms.

Rather than threaten Sinema and Manchin, it would be to Democrats’ advantage to engage them politically and in a quiet and respectful manner as President Biden and Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer, have done consistently.

The Democrats don’t seem to understand their political dilemma as they march headlong into the ‘Stygian Night’ without night goggles unable to see what lies ahead, and unaware they may be walking off a political cliff.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell and BC.

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Executive Editor:
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Managing Editor:
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