(That’s our cat Rey. She has just–and finally–figured out how to get into the empty bookcase space her (bigger and stronger) brother Finn has been obsessed with getting into for months.)
I had planned to write about the filibuster, but I had a rough couple of days. Nothing bad actually happened; I just had the Covid blues. I would say that I don’t have any right to have the Covid blues since our disruption has been minimal—I had already mostly been using my preferred grocery store’s pickup option for several months prior to Covid’s arrival, my husband transitioned after a week in the office at his new job to a 100% virtual setting where he was able to work seamlessly with his European counterparts despite never have being onsite (so there is one Covid casualty in our family: the trip to France to visit that facility will never happen as it’s not needed now), and I was able to complete a big project despite social distancing. But the reality is that Covid disruptions are about a lot more than your bank account and how you get the goods and services you need. We’ve all been cut off from so many people we love. I haven’t seen my parents since May 2019. I miss them. I miss a lot of people and I really miss singing in my choir, but it’s not being able to be with my parents that has been bringing me down. They’re both in their 80s, easily living on their own, and completely with it mentally. They’re fun and funny, and they’re precious to me. We all have people we miss. All of our hearts have holes in them and that affects how we see the things happening around us. So yeah, I had a few rough days.
But the thing is, as Dr. Ian Malcom said, “life, uh… finds a way.” Here in far eastern West Virginia, my daffodils have buds, and my summer daylilies have peeked up to remind me they’ll soon be on the job. I haven’t heard my beloved peepers yet, but I think I will this week. Our political life is showing those same signs of life. Late Friday night, after the poor clerks had finished reading the text of the Covid relief bill, Senate Democrats, taking advantage of the complete lack of Republicans in the chamber, reduced the debate on the bill from 20 hours to 3. Then on Saturday they took advantage of Joe Manchin’s need to explore all of his options once the Democrats offered an amendment that differed from what the moderates had worked out with President Biden. To be honest, this completely mystified me. Why did the Democrats offer a different amendment? Why did Manchin agree to support 2 competing bills? Why did it take 11 hours to resolve this? The answer only became clear later: because Senate Democrats had made the Republicans hang around all day and then started the Vote-A-Rama late in the evening, the Republicans gave up earlier and left the chamber before the Senate had been adjourned. And Senate Democrats remained so Schumer had his 3/5ths majority vote to invoke cloture and move Merrick Garland’s nomination to be Attorney General to a vote this week.
Then, on Sunday morning, after making all the liberals angry the day before, Joe Manchin let it be known that while he wouldn’t get rid of the filibuster, he wasn’t opposed to making it painful for Senate Republicans to use it, tossing out the idea that the minority party would have to stay in the chamber the entire time they were filibustering. The same Senate Republicans, who got outplayed twice over the weekend because they didn’t have the simple discipline to sit in their seats, were blind-sided. And he did it on FOX News! All of those Republican senators crowing about how Joe Manchin was a bad Democrat pushing his colleagues into disarray got to feast on the sight of Joe oh-so-casually noting that he wouldn’t mind if obstructing the majority required discipline and creativity. There is crucial legislation in the congressional pipeline; legislation that will be our best, and maybe only, chance to keep our democracy. Maybe fundamental rights and justice find a way, too. I’m feeling more hopeful today that our foes will be defeated by the boring combination of hard work and perseverance.
Oh and my husband and I just got word that we are going to be vaccinated this week. Impossible things are happening every day.