If Joe Biden wishes to bemoan partisanship, fine. Here's a strictly partisan piece. No apologies.

One of my favorite generalities is that we should never speak in generalities.


Generally. But here are two anyway:

  1. The 74 million people who voted for Trump last November did not give a damn about bipartisanship or compromise, but simply wanted the creepy president to continue his creepy presidency.

  2. The 81 million people who voted for Biden last November did not give a damn about bipartisanship or compromise, but simply wanted the creepy president to vacate his creepy presidency.


I have scant and highly unconvincing proof for those generalities, except this: I voted for Joe Biden, and the last thing on my mind when I mailed in that ballot was that Mr. Biden could effect compromise with his Republican colleagues.


Like others, I knew from years of observing Mitch McConnell that the Republicans accepted compromise the way criminals accept prison reform—if there's a chance it can help them get out, they're all in; otherwise, they can continue as criminals.

Which leads me, circuitously, to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and their fetishistic attachment to bipartisanship, even in the face of Republican leaders' attempts to shred our voting rights—a trademark of Republican politics since last November...and for the fifty years prior. If Manchin and Sinema know their history, they remember the irony of post-Civil War Democrats attempting similar tactics until the anti-slavery Republicans executed a few end runs and made it easier for people of color to participate in the democracy.


Today the roles are reversed, of course, but the partisan nomenclature is irrelevant. If the modern-day state-level Republicans fulfill their mission to abrogate voting rights, historians—and generations to come—will barely note that a few Democrats, who could have prevented it, chose instead to maintain some phantasmic "integrity of the Senate." They'll simply know that the Democrats dropped the ball. Besides, integrity of the Senate has become either an oxymoron or a comedic punchline. It's a myth that has been dissolving since Newt Gingrich made dissension mandatory, reached a temporary nadir with Merrick Garland's Supreme Court non-appointment, then sunk to the bottom in the weeks and months following the January 6 insurrection. Manchin and Sinema certainly know this.


And they also know that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were partisan victories but are no less significant for that. These days when some bill reaches the Senate floor with bipartisan support, we seem to think we have found the grail. We haven't. Bills that become laws that benefit most American citizens are worthy of our praise, irrespective of the journey. Laws that work against that—the Republican attack on voting rights, for instance. demand utilizing whatever methods necessary to derail them.


It may already be too late to undo voting restrictions since the sheer number of state statutes will require laborious attention, but waiting around for bipartisan agreement is tantamount to throwing our hands in the air and giving up. Most Democrats understand the gravity of this situation, but unless all of them do, America stands to relinquish the one aspect that defines a participatory democracy: participation.


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