“Lighten up, Odd Man,” Swamp Rabbit said as he stepped into my shack with a bottle of Wild Turkey. “You can’t call Joe Manchin a moral midget. What’s moral to him might not be moral to you, and vicey-versey.”
“No relativism, please,” I replied. “That pompous hick opposes sufficient funding to fight climate change because it would hurt the coal industry, where he made his millions. He says his investments are in a blind trust, but that’s a lie. He knows his dividend checks are coming from the coal industry. He’s close to the profiteers who are stalling to prevent the replacement of fossil fuels with clean energy. If he had an ounce of moral sense, he would recuse himself from working on any legislation that concerns the environment.”
“Then the Dems would lose for sure,” Swamp Rabbit said. “They need his vote. They ain’t got no choice but to cut the climate change budget.”
I asked my mangy neighbor if he remembered when I noted in April that Manchin, the senior senator from West Virginia, was likely to destroy any hopes Democrats have of passing strong progressive legislation. Sure enough, Manchin hasn’t budged in his resolve to neuter the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, which would “expand the social safety net” and combat the impending climate crisis. The Senate is split 50-50 and all 50 Republicans will vote against the bill, so a “no” vote from Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, his fellow Democrat In Name Only, would send the bill down in flames.
Joe Biden and company have tried to ignore this reality for months but it hasn’t gone away. So here we are, all of us, living in a so-called democracy but with no power to overrule corrupt officeholders who place their own interests above ours.
No one else was around, so I blamed the problem on Swamp Rabbit. “It’s cynics like you who allow the Joe Manchins of the world to seize power and wreck the future,” I said. “You could fight to elect more progressives, but you’d rather remain comfortably numb.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Swamp Rabbit said as he broke the seal on his bottle and poured himself a shot.