It’s bad enough that after the tragedy in Orlando, despite a Senate filibuster and a House sit-in, lawmakers remained in thrall to the NRA, refusing to pass even the most tepid gun control measures.
Less publicized was the fact that– even as they were offering their “prayers” for the victims–House Republicans once again refused to allow a vote that would have extended equal civil rights to LGBT citizens.
After a Democratic congressman offered an LGBT measure as an amendment to the Defense Department spending bill, the House Rules Committee would not let the measure come up for a vote on Tuesday night, The Hill reported.
This is the third time that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) has introduced the measure that would affirm anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors as an amendment to a spending bill. On Tuesday, he said he hoped a vote on the amendment would send a positive message to the LGBT community in the wake of the deadly shooting in Orlando, Florida….
Maloney had first introduced the measure as an amendment to a Veterans Affairs spending bill in May. At first, it looked likely to pass, but a handful of Republicans switched their votes from “yes” to “no” and defeated it. Maloney then tried to make it an amendment to an energy and water bill; the House GOP killed the whole bill rather than pass a pro-LGBT amendment.
It isn’t just the gay community arousing Republican hostility. The unrelenting attacks on immigrants and Muslims (among others) by the party’s Presidential nominee is contributing significantly to social division and expressions of bigotry.
A recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center traced what it called “the Trump effect” on the nation’s schools, and the conclusions were chilling.
Every four years, teachers in the United States use the presidential election to impart valuable lessons to students about the electoral process, democracy, government and the responsibilities of citizenship.
But, for students and teachers alike, this year’s primary season is starkly different from any in recent memory. The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms.
It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.
Other students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.
Other reports show anti-Semitism on the rise, anti-Muslim prejudice growing…and you’d have to live under a rock to ignore the level of racist bile directed at President Obama.
We really are at a turning point in America. The 2016 elections have not created the tensions that threaten to tear us apart, but they are certainly bringing those tensions to a head. When Americans go to the polls in November, we will be confronted with a stark choice, not just between political parties and candidates, but between vastly different ideas about the real America, our fellow-citizens and the nature of our republic.
We will be deciding what sort of country we want to be.