Dean Burnele Venable Powell

Dean Emeritus Burnele Venable Powell

When brilliant minds, attitudes, and talents come together to form one goal, expect a masterpiece.  John Ruskin

 “The end of this month will be critical for Joe Biden’s presidency,” said Dean Burnele Venable Powell, in a recent Conversations with Al McFarlane interview. Powell said he is concerned about Senator Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia.    “Biden’s Build Back Better plan is long overdue and more than 70% of the country wants the bill to pass.  3.2 trillion dollars is not going to be spent in one year.  It will happen in incremental steps.  And yes, it will be paid for by increased taxes on the wealthy.” 

“After a challenging 2020, where violence has increased 30%, and a new Covid-19 variant, R-1 has surfaced, Biden’s got to become a Lydon Baines Johnson type of President.  He has to say to Manchin and believe what he says, ‘If I go down, your West Virginia Senate seat will go to another contender.  So you let me know if your lack of support for my initiatives is worth the risk.’”

Powell is Dean emeritus of the Law School at University of South Carolina, and also Dean Emeritus of University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) Law School.

“There hasn’t been a Progressive agenda since LBJ’s, although President Biden is trying,” Powell said.  “Obama tried, too, but he was attempting without much success to be a compromiser and mend partisan lines and the deep divides.  Almost every move he tried to make, they blocked. It’s important that we win this battle either through budget reconciliation or a modification of the filibuster.”  

Powell said the failure of the George Floyd Public Safety and Policing Bill was expected.  “Tim Scott and the GOP were never going to compromise on police reform.  They never responded when asked what would be done about often falsified police reports.  They believe you go after the police departments, not the perpetrator of the abuse and brutality.  It’s a system that never worked,” he said. 

Powell said the horrific televised scenes of border patrol officers riding on horseback, using whips to push Haitian immigrants back across to muddy border waterways, was inhumane and agonizing to watch. They were being returned to an island having gone through the assassination of their President, two major hurricanes, little or no relevant education or quality health care, and a poverty even the best journalists find difficult to describe or understand.  Former President Barack Obama candidly admitted in a recent interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America that viewers, including President Biden, witnessed these sad spectacles because this country has never had an immigration policy that stuck, thanks to the GOP.

 “The Republicans and especially Trump were and still are willing to do anything they can, even if it calls for the fall of democracy, to stop the browning of America, said Powell.  Republicans appear hell-bent on blowing up Biden’s legislative efforts to do what has needed to be done for this country for decades. There is danger of the GOP blocking the extension of the debt ceiling and shutting down the country.  Already hurting citizens and their children will be hurting even more. 

They want to score as many points as they can now and worry about destructive ideology and operations in play down the road.  In the 40s and 50s, the left and right wings were required to negotiate.  The dozen or so Republicans that would cross over to the Democratic side to get worthwhile legislation passed are no longer there.  What they don’t understand is that the country’s workforce must be supplemented from one generation to the next.  Since America is becoming a more middleclass populace, this generation is reducing the size of the family.  Immigrating from all around the world will be a necessity.  The state of California is a good example of how a diverse population can be of benefit to those willing to work hard and take care of business.” 

According to Powell, the U.S. has “more than enough wealth and taxing ability, or could print more money, if necessary, to stabilize our national debt.  When Reagen came into office in the 80s bringing to the White House a form of moderate conservativism, his focus became corporate interests.  It’s like the GOP is standing in the center of the world screaming, ‘If we can’t have power, we will destroy it for those in power.  We will not pay our debts which will make the country appear unstable, unreliable, and at risk to the world.’  

Powell said Democrats don’t know what to do now that they have power.  Their philosophy seems to be, hell with the allies or the 99% of the American public in the middle of an almost 2-year pandemic disease that has killed 700,000. 

There has been little, if any, investment in the middle class for 40 years; not in education, infrastructure, housing, employment, career opportunities, health care and coverage disparities, and efforts to close the wealth gaps, Powell said.   

“Biden’s presidency is at an inflexion point.  Will the administration come up with federal standards for voting rights?  When recently called a racist in the Senate chambers regarding his approval of voter suppression, Ted Cruz wasn’t the least bit disturbed.  The GOP seems even more angry because the expensive recounts in Georgia and Arizona found Biden to have won with even larger vote margins than previously thought,” Powell said.

“We’ll see this week if Biden is a fighter or if he will take off the gloves,” said Powell.  “The country needs him to fight back, and American citizens will stand by his side.  As I said earlier, we cannot lose.  Our children and generations after this are depending on us.”

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