It’s a now or never moment for the future of American Democracy, and young people in Colorado have a stake in ensuring our Senators act to protect it. Republicans have committed to weaponizing the filibuster as a tool to obstruct progress on the critical issues we face as a nation. They’ve even filibustered the bipartisan bill to investigate the deadly attack on our U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Now, legislation to prevent gun violence, deliver affordable health care, respond to the climate catastrophe, cancel student debt, raise the minimum wage, and combat rampant voter suppression are only possible if Democrats are willing to protect democracy over maintaining the filibuster.
Colorado’s Senators have crucial roles to play to ensure that our country won’t let Republicans keep our democracy rigged.
In Colorado and across the country, young people are desperate for sweeping change that’s only possible if the filibuster is eliminated. Colorado has a long history of mass shootings, and young people have grown up in a world where we are hyper-aware we’re not safe in schools, movie theaters, or grocery stores. We deserve a better, safer future, with a planet that’s livable, voting rights that are protected, higher education that’s affordable, and health care that’s accessible. None of those changes are possible unless legislation is passed, and Republicans have made it clear no progress can be made without the elimination of the filibuster.
Senator Michael Bennet already recognizes the filibuster poses an insurmountable threat to passing critical legislation that impacts young people. We are faced with compounding crises, and commonsense leaders in the Senate need to lead with courage and procure enough votes to eliminate the filibuster to preserve democracy and advance key issues. Unfortunately, some members of the Senate, including Senator John Hickenlooper, are willing to give the “traditional system” of the filibuster a chance to succeed in hope of bipartisan collaboration. But we can never compromise on democracy itself. The preservation of our democracy is an act beyond political partisanship and those who would condition bipartisan cooperation on the dismantling of democracy relinquish their credibility as democratically elected members of the US Senate. It is the duty of our senators to safeguard our democracy.
Our generation doesn’t have the leeway to hope that Republicans will magically revert to a bygone era of bipartisanship, because every piece of legislation that’s blocked by obstruction damages our future. If some lawmakers are willing to use the filibuster to block an investigation into the deadly January 6 insurrection, legislation protecting fair pay, and democracy-strengthening voting rights bills like the For the People Act, we have no choice but to eliminate the “Jim Crow relic” that has become an obstacle to progress.
Our democracy won’t survive the repeated blatant attempts to limit access to the ballot box and undermine the very foundation on which it stands unless we take action now to protect it. As the late John Lewis said, the vote is the most “powerful nonviolent change agent” we have at our disposal, and young people recognize that power. It’s why we turned out in record numbers in the last election and helped usher in a tidal wave that flipped the Senate and helped give Democrats control of the House of Representatives and the White House. It’s why we continue to show up and engage in a political process that has left many of us pushed out, disillusioned, and disappointed.
Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper have a responsibility to honor the power that’s been vested in them as public servants and work to rise to the challenges of our times. There is a full assault being waged on our democracy and continuing a long legacy of using the filibuster as an impediment to change. Maintaining the filibuster risks failing to address the myriad crises facing our country and sets us up for decades of worsening political gridlock and the erosion of voting rights. Young people are depending on our current leaders to ensure there is a democracy left for us to lead in the generations to come. We are the future of this country, and that future is in jeopardy. Senators Bennett and Hickenlooper have an opportunity to act now on the right side of history to protect it.