Our Congress is currently debating HR 1, For the People Act. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I’m all for it. In my opinion it will strengthen our democracy in critical ways. It will help us get along with each other better, as Americans.
The Act’s stated purpose is to “to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.”
Proposed reform measures are three types — voting, campaign finance, and ethics. If passed the bill would, for instance, require automatic voter registration in all states, end partisan gerrymandering, and encourage small-dollar campaign donations, among many reforms. The bill targets ‘big money’ donations and foreign interference as eroding to our democracy’s foundation. Additional overhaul of the Office of Government Ethics is intended to tighten the ethical standard for government officials.
Opponents say that the bill will affect mostly Democratic voters, make it easier for more Democrats to vote than Republicans. I’m fine with that. There are significantly more Democrats in our country than Republicans so anything that affect “most Americans” is going to affect more Democrats than Republicans.
More than that, just on principle, this package of reforms is deigned to level the playing field among all Americans in many ways. It gets us closer to the basic American ideal that I have held up before in these pages: that everyone gets a vote and the majority decides. The bill is not perfect but moves us in the right direction.
Since 2004 I have written and emailed 163 Good Group Tips to subscribers. Each one is a page. They are on all aspects of group dynamics. You can read them all here.
Did you know that each Good Group Tip has a Bob Dylan lyric to go with it?
Every Tuesday morning my friend Brian Norris gets my Good Group Tip in his email and fires back a quote from a Bob Dylan song; something related to the Tip. Then I try to guess what song the quote is from. It’s a game we have been playing for years. Brian and I have been friends since UMaine.
For instance, here’s the last Tip I sent out: I Believe in Us. Brian wrote back, “Honey, just allow me one more chance to get along with you!”
Anyone know what Dylan tune that is from? I didn’t either. I usually don’t. I know Dylan pretty well but Brian is a scholar. Not only does he hit me with obscure quotes but he provides YouTube video links, reference citations, and personal stories of when he was in the crowd while that song played. Brian has seen Bob Dylan 150 times. While you have all been getting Good Group Tips, I have been getting a Bob Dylan education.
I stopped sending Good Group Tips a couple months ago; converted to Craig’s Weekly. Yet I just couldn’t lay down the Tips without telling you about Brian and the Dylan thing. Thanks for all the fun, Brian!
If anyone wants to know the Bob Dylan lyric that goes with any Good Group Tip, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.
PS. If you need to know about “Honey, just allow me one more chance to get along with you!” this was Brian’s follow up after my failed attempts at guessing the song title: “That IS the title! Off his Freewheelin’ album (1963), where Bob actually gave credit to Henry Thomas‘ “Fishing Blues” for influencing the song! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9pxtFoZH72k”
Photo of Brian and his wife Kathryn. The guy on the left knows more Bob Dylan than anyone I’ve ever known. The gal on the right is pure sunshine.