Budowsky: When Dr. King, Rep. Cheney came to Washington

Once upon a time, when many Republicans supported civil rights and voting rights and some segregationist Democrats backed filibusters seeking to destroy voting rights and civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Washington to tell the world “I have a dream.”

Last week, as the nation remembered the dastardly events of Jan. 6 when crimes were committed against our democracy and our Capitol, in an attempt to destroy the peaceful transfer of power and overturn the results of our democratic election, Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket The Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness MORE (R-Wyo.) stood tall with a profile in courage that President Kennedy would praise if he were here today.

Like the great film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Dr. King came to Washington, and when Ms. Cheney came to Washington, they were demonstrating a passion of patriotism for democracy that has served our nation brilliantly since 1776.


Next week, America will commemorate the birthday of Dr. King with deep prayers and great aspirations.  

This week the United States Senate will have the opportunity to keep that dream alive more than ever, or, if the place once known as the greatest deliberative body gives a victory to the heirs of those who employed the filibuster, unsuccessfully, against the civil rights and voting rights dream of Dr. King, the danger to our democracy will rise even further.

Make no mistake. American democracy and democracies around the world are under fierce attack. 

A Russian autocrat threatens the democracy of Ukraine and the security of Europe, testing the will of the democratic world.

A Chinese autocrat threatens democracies of Hong Kong and Taiwan and the security of Asia, as the Olympics are poised to begin on Chinese soil, testing the will of the democratic world.


Midterm elections have begun in full throttle. The 2024 presidential campaign has begun (in both parties) more than public commentary would suggest. The peaceful transfer of power was attacked in the last election. Some 60 percent of one party believe the last election was stolen from the candidate who clearly lost it. Radically partisan attempts are now underway to rig the 2022 and 2024 elections. A patriotism for democracy is urgently needed and growing.

It was sad last week to see only two Republicans on the floor of Congress reflecting on the criminal attack of last Jan. 6. While I have not often praised  former Vice President Dick CheneyDick CheneySen. Ron Johnson: Straight from the horse's mouth Budowsky: When Dr. King, Rep. Cheney came to Washington Hutchinson says 'big lie' supporters 'not demonstrating leadership' MORE, it was moving to watch him stand beside his daughter Liz Cheney taking a courageous stand for democracy, in the highest tradition of our country and her party, no longer the party of Lincoln.

As we prepare to again honor Dr. King, voting rights are under fierce attack. Republican election officials who courageously saved the integrity of the 2020 election have been threatened, fired, and replaced by others who would gravely threaten the integrity of the 2022 and 2024 elections. 

The last Republican vice president received death threats while our Capitol was criminally attacked. Even GOP members who supported building bridges receive threats against their safety.

Senate Republicans, with few exceptions, would destroy the Biden presidency by filibustering against all significant legislation, violating 200 years of Senate history and tradition, making it impossible for Congress to pass any significant legislation, turning the Senate into a partisan legislative graveyard, hurting hundreds of millions of their constituents (including coal miners battling black lung disease). This will be increasingly obvious throughout this year.


As the hour of truth arrives for the voting rights and civil rights dreams of Dr. King, President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE should lead the cause with forceful remarks in Georgia today, and a prime time address to the nation from the Oval Office championing American democracy.

Two Democratic senators should deeply reflect about whether they want to stand with, or against, the political lives and aspirations of 48 Democratic senators and every Democratic member of the House.

I pray they will not prefer to be the most powerful allies of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE and partisan Republicans, who would politically destroy their Democratic president and congressional colleagues!


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.