Continuing my list of needed changes from yesterday:
Too many guns. The United States has the highest rate of deaths from gun violence of any western democracy: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017. It also has by far the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world—120.5 guns per 100 residents in 2017, more guns than people. The ratio between gun deaths and gun ownership is constant throughout the world—the more guns, the more deaths.
A disabled post office. Before the 2020 election, President Trump ordered the man he had named Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, to disrupt the postal service so as to stop Democrats from voting by mail in hopes that would allow Trump to win the election. DeJoy knew nothing about the postal service when he was appointed. His only claim to a federal job was that he had donated millions to Republican candidates, including the Trump campaign. DeJoy did as he was told. Unreliable mail service continues to this date.
The filibuster. A tactic often used to derail measures intended to reduce racism, the filibuster effectively requires sixty votes rather than a simple majority to pass a law in the Senate. The Republicans are using it to block measures proposed by President Biden and his Democratic congressional majority.
The electoral college. Because of our dependence on the electoral college for finalizing the election of the president of the U.S., we allow a candidate who loses the popular vote to become president. In 2016, Trump received only 62,984,828 votes compared to Clinton’s 65,853,514. But because of the vagaries of electoral college distribution, Trump was declared the winner.
The death penalty. The U.S. is the only Western nation that applies the death penalty regularly. Our federal government had refrained from executions since 2003, but then Donald Trump became president. He resumed executions. Before he left office, thirteen people had been put to death. But on January 4, 2021, congressional Democrats introduced the Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2021. The bill is currently before the House Judiciary Committee. If it passes and President Biden signs it into law, the U.S, will join the rational and humane nations of the world who have banned the death penalty.
Each of the flaws listed above is amenable to correction. What’s needed is a strong enough Democratic majority to carry the day. I see that majority in the offing, maybe in 2022, maybe in 2024.
Maybe we’ll finally clean up our act.