“We the people,” the first three words to the preamble to the Constitution should be tattooed on the foreheads of every elected official at the local, state and national levels. The fact that the House pulled its vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act after years of promising that it was done appears to be evidence that the 30 Republicans slated to vote “no: reverted back to the constitution and the forefathers’ intentions of ensuring that the actions and laws of this United States would be based solely on the needs of the people versus a person or group of persons.
The reckless and irresponsible rhetoric that served as cause for logical thinking members of the Republican Party to realize that simply lining up behind legislation because it was about disrupting President Obama’s legacy signature piece of legislation as opposed to addressing the needs of the people was not the direction they needed to go in if they were to be reelected or if they cared anything about the people that put them in Washington.
There is no argument from many that there are portions of the act that need to be revised. President Obama himself has said that if the legislation contained specific improvements to areas that clearly need revising he would support those changes.
The problem is that President Trump and his supporters attempted to push through legislation to undo a major piece of legislation that took 187 legislative days to craft after spending only 17 days. The approach was viewed by some as heavy-handed and served up as a threat to take what was offered or deal with Obamacare, well the vote is in.
Rational thinking legislatures opted to stick with what we have as opposed to being bullied into signing on to legislation that clearly didn’t identify the challenges with the current law and then offer solutions that made good fiscal sense.
It is my hope that the result of this vote serve as a new day for what must always be the normative gaze for how elected officials must make decisions on the local, state, and national levels. Too many times legislation is passed that has very little to do with the people.
That is why in spite of the $430 million spent in Midtown and Childs Park on redevelopment, we still have unacceptable levels of unemployment, underemployment and people simply living from paycheck to paycheck and failing businesses.
That is in large part because, in spite of the millions of dollars spent, those dollars were not tied to any specific or sustainable strategy that had as its goal an improved quality of life for the people who live in Midtown or own businesses in Midtown. Many of these strategies have resulted in a couple of people being broken off a piece and the majority of those funds rolling right out of the community.
Jordan Park and Tropicana Field serve as the most visible reminders of how the people in Midtown simply didn’t matter. It is my hope that like the Republican lawmakers in Washington who decided to put the needs of the people ahead of the needs of a person, the elected officials within St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and the State of Florida will begin to do the same.
The responsibility we have as a community that if they do not, we simply vote them out and cease this nonsense of simply giving elected officials a free pass because they are our friends and loved ones!
Maria L. Scruggs,
President, St. Petersburg Branch NAACP