The Peach State prepares for a political frenzy as a pair of January runoffs determine the balance of the Senate—and the shape of the presidency
A bill that Republicans and Democrats barter for in the U.S. Capitol will always have a limited reach in local police departments: Mayors and state governments have far more influence on police procedure. But when representatives and senators in Washington, D.C., deadlocked on police reform in late June, legislators communicated one thing to the majority of Americans who want change: They’re not listening.
On June 24, Senate Democrats blocked the body from debating Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s reform bill on the Senate floor. Scott said Republicans, who control the Senate, would have entertained amendments to the bill, but Democrats refused to interact. The next day, the House of Representatives passed the Democrats’ more aggressive reform bill along party lines and asked Republicans to debate it in Senate committees. Republican senators called the bill a nonstarter and indicated they may not take it up in committee.
Most Americans agree that the May 25 death of handcuffed George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was unjust. Politicians in both parties cried for change. But Republicans and Democrats didn’t meet to forge consensus. They raced to write their own bills (that still ended up agreeing on at least four policy points). It’s as if Republicans and Democrats were speaking two different languages. So Americans who want leaders to work side by side for reform go unheard.
Much of WORLD’s coverage focuses on the unheard and other “uns”: the unborn, the uncared-for, the unemployed, the unappreciated. This issue of WORLD especially emphasizes that. Mindy Belz takes us an ocean away from Washington, to Belgium. There, many of the unheard living in nursing homes died of COVID-19 in part because of the failure of leaders who literally speak two different languages: French and Dutch. “The main problem we have had is with politicians who chose to sacrifice nursing home residents for this crisis,” one researcher said.
Belgium was not alone: In New York, Michigan, and other U.S. states, leaders similarly decided to make nursing home residents with COVID-19 stay in their facilities, and sometimes moved in others. The virus spread, and so did death.
As COVID-19 forced shutdowns and shut in millions, a mostly unconsidered group of people waited for lifesaving treatments: those who need new organs to live. Daniel James Devine and Charissa Koh spent weeks analyzing data for a Caleb Team investigative report.
Other than the unborn, China’s Uighur population may be the most vulnerable group of “uns” in the world right now. President Donald Trump’s tiff with former national security adviser John Bolton has brought new attention to the Uighurs’ plight. But long before Bolton accused Trump of supporting China’s creation of concentration camps, June Cheng was interviewing Uighurs whose family members in China had disappeared. They hope the world hears them.
On March 12, 1990, weeks before Congress passed and President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), more than 1,000 people with disabilities threw off crutches, climbed out of wheelchairs, and crawled up the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington: They didn’t want to go unheard. The ADA isn’t perfect legislation, but as Kim Henderson notes in this issue, it helped another group of “uns.” And it showed Americans can work together, despite our differences.