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“I don’t take responsibility at all,” former President Donald Trump blamed his administration’s lagging ability to test Americans for the coronavirus outbreak, insisting instead — without offering evidence — that fault lies with his predecessor, Barack Obama.

There’s a lot happening all around the world right now, isn’t there? Putin is about to take over Ukraine. China’s renaming areas near the India border that India says belongs to them. We have one of the world’s best tennis players out, in and out of Australia for lying about getting vaccinated, thus risking his opportunity to win his 21st Grand Slam. Direct-TV has informed OAN (One America Nets) that they will not renew their contract this spring. Inflation hasn’t been this high since the 1970’s. One political party is openly rigging future elections by disenfranchising voters. Covid-19 has morphed to the delta variant to omicron and in all likelihood will continue to morph as long as one-third of the population chooses not to get vaccinated. Climate change.

Yeah, the world’s a crazy place; not that it hasn’t always been. In 1963 the movie, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” was released. A few weeks ago “Don’t Look Up” debuted on TV. Hard to see just how less mad the world has become since then. We have a lot of problems facing us, some of which we’re able to deal with; some not.

Homo sapiens are a strange, invasive species. They do things that are good and can’t wait to take the credit for their actions. There are those who don’t do good things, but rarely bear the responsibility of their actions. There are those who do good things and get no credit. Let’s take a look at our current president, Joe Biden, to see how he’s doing.

First, Biden has never run from a fight, or to the best of my knowledge, sought to pin the blame on others. He knows that the buck stops at his desk and has demonstrated that he’s willing to take responsibility for his mistakes, if they were his mistakes. Afghanistan comes to mind. Our exit was less than desirable, but the only choice he had was to break an agreement made by his predecessor to get out in May of 2021. Doing so would have kept us there for another 20 years; for what?

We have an even better example just last week. We all got to watch as one U.S. senator (and possibly two) who are of the president’s political party single-handedly handed over the country to the opposing party. The issue was to carve out the Voting Rights bill from the archaic filibuster (the Dutch word for “pirate”). The first Senate filibuster occurred in 1837 when a group of Whig senators filibustered to prevent allies of the Democratic President Andrew Jackson from expunging a resolution of censure against him. By not allowing the Voting Rights bill to advance, one senator has effectively decided that she would be the one to allow the out-in-the-open corruption of election rigging to proceed. The results of her actions should all but guarantee that the Republicans will take back both the House and the Senate and possibly open the door for the former, disgraced, twice impeached president, to return to the White House.

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One senator has that much power and this one senator from Arizona decided to use that power; not for good. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema decided to stand on principle to defend a rule (not a law) that was put in place for all the wrong reasons in exchange for the possible demise of our democracy. Her floor speech did little to convince anyone other than Sen. Mitch McConnell, who later in the day praised her actions. From the Washington Examiner, “In a hallway interview with Capitol reporters, Sen. Mitch McConnell called Sinema’s floor speech an ‘act of political courage that “saved the Senate as an institution.’”

This was a remarkable thing for McConnell to say. It was not that he praised a member of the other party, but that he implied that he cared about the Senate as an institution.

It’s hard to understand why Joe Biden should get the blame for this mess. There’s not much anyone can do about two renegades who appear to be more interested in their own ego than preserving democracy.

Joe Biden does have one fault. He’s not very good at taking credit for good things that he’s done; not the least of which is passing an infrastructure bill that his predecessor declared he was going to do, but failed. It’s a bill that was decades overdue. Biden got it done. It’s impossible to pass legislation like the Voting Rights Act when the Republicans, many of whom had voted for a similar bill years ago, refuse to support it today. Then all it takes is one defector.

Is this Biden’s fault? No. He cannot force anyone to vote. The only people who have influence on Sen. Krysten Sinema are her constituents. It’s up to them unless the election is rigged against them.

Bob Stannard is a longtime Banner columnist, a former state representative and lobbyist, and a lifelong lover of the Blues. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bennington Banner.


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