Point of View Columns

-America – Land of the Gun and Home of the Dead

Before you read any further a courtesy is extended – if you believe that the right to own any kind of gun more important than the right to live, you should probably stop right now as this column is not an effort to try to convince anyone when it comes to the Second Amendment.

As you are reading this, the grieving families of the 19 children and two adults killed in Texas are trying to make sense of a universe that is now turned upside down and inside out in an unimaginable vortex of grief and pain.

And as you are reading this there are people like Texas Senator Ted Cruz who actually said that the best public policy strategy in the wake of this schoolhouse massacre would be to have more armed guards in the schoolhouse. After all, what could possibly go wrong with having even more guns in schoolhouses across this blood-soaked nation?

It should be quite clear by now that this nation is on a course that can only be described as suicidal. There is literally no other nation in the world which has the frequency of random murders by gun. These are murders with no particular ideological or religious motive because, in a bizarre and twisted way those killing make some kind of sense as opposed to someone walking into a church or a school or a synagogue or a supermarket killing anyone and everyone with no apparent reason.

There has been a lot written and said about so-called American exceptionalism but the uncomfortable truth is that among the league of developed nations the United States is first in deaths by gun violence, first in private gun ownership, first in maternal death rates, first in incarceration rates and last in national health care policy. The uncomfortable truth is that too many Americans are okay with that as long as certain preconditions are met.

Preconditions like white privilege, preconditions like a predatory economic system that rewards greed and punishes anyone who does not grasp and grab for a living. Preconditions like living in a country with a Constitution that institutionalized minority rule in the very first draft of the document – and minority rule works in the country to this very day, if you are a part of the white privileged minority.

It should also be known that those preconditions also include making some people without privilege feel good about themselves because of belief in the false idols of gun ownership, gender bias and gender dominance and a sad version of religious freedom that debases the spiritual beliefs and freedoms of others.

The massacre in Uvalde will be repeated as sure there will be unprecedented wildfires in the American forest and as sure as we will continue to see once in a century weather storms for the rest of our lives.

And I am sure that my seer and guide to the future, Negrodamus, will certainly predict that, by this time next week all of the hollow thoughts and prayers for the victims of this latest massacre will dissipate like the music of that mythical band going over the hill.

And then the gun lobby addicts posing as senators and representatives, men and women who have already sold their soul to the merchants of death, will look to make the American people believe that the right to own a machine gun is more important than the right of a ten-year-old little girl or little boy to dream and see their dreams come true.

America is exceptional indeed.

But not in a good way.

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Point of View Columns

Happy Birthday Malcolm X

Today is Malcolm X’s birthday. Had he avoided assassination in 1965 (along with the perils and snares of the CIA and FBI) he would have been 97 today.

History is an interesting phenomenon because the truth turns out to be a shape shifter over time. Indeed, history has always depended on who is telling the story.

In the case of Malcolm X, it is difficult to overstate the impact that he had on Black America and white America during his meteoric rise to fame and prominence and after his tragic assassination (which has yet to be fully solved to this very day). Malcolm X spoke the words that Black men and women had wanted to say out loud for over three centuries.

He stripped away the gossamer web of lies that had been draped over pretensions of white superiority and the myth of an America as a shining example of freedom, liberty and all that was good. And in the process of doing so he gave a voice to the long-silenced voices of Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey and all of the men and women who had their lives mangled in the charnel house called America.

Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey spoke truth to power, but typically their voices were moderated and modulated. They spoke truth to power but took care not to offend too much by telling too much truth.

Malcolm X’s illustrious contemporary, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in biblical terms. Indeed, by referencing the Bible King made clear the grievous sins of America in its treatment of Black people. Malcolm, on the hand, cared not about offending with the truth. He spoke the words that Black men and women could not because their lives would be endangered if they even whispered them.

Malcolm made it clear that the rage and tears of Black America were justified by the facts of history – not made up self-congratulatory history – but the history of the slave ships and the enslavement camps and the raping and killing by the enslavers and the lynching and the daily infinite indignities of Jim Crow.

And from the moment that he started telling that truth, not just on 125th Street or in a mosque in Detroit or Chicago, his life was in jeopardy. His life was in jeopardy because he was a Black man in America speaking Black truth to white power.

By the time of his death, Malcolm X had changed Black America forever and, in the process, he changed white America as well. By telling the truth about America and its treatment of Black people, it was impossible for anyone to erase that truth, no matter how hard that they might try – and indeed as you are reading this there are state legislatures and school boards all across this country trying to do just that, 57 years after the death of Malcolm X.

But they will not succeed.

Indeed, we would do well to take a moment to acknowledge the life of a man who did indeed bring about much needed change in this country knowing that there is still more change to come.

As the late Sam Cooke said – “a change is going to come”.

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Point of View Columns

The American Truth

The confluence of recent events has revealed a set of very important truths about America. First, the leaked preview of the draft Supreme Court decision that will overturn Roe v. Wade reveals that male Christian dominance is alive and well and was only hibernating in the years after the Roe decision.

Second, the massacre of Black patrons of a Buffalo supermarket by a gun-toting white teenager reveals that the massacre of non-white people by white people is sadly an enduring tradition that began when the first European emigrants arrived in North America.

Third, the news analyses describing “white replacement theory” as some kind of novel and unique strain of xenophobia are either disingenuous or ill-informed when it comes to American history.

First, as has been noted in this space and in many other commentaries, the rationale of the anti-abortion movement is not based on some all encompassing and passionate care for unborn children. If that were the case the United States would not lag so far behind other so-called developed countries when it comes to universal child care, equitable distribution of educational resources as well as food and housing to the children that are supposed to be the object of such love and caring.

Instead, it should be clear that the anti-abortion is nothing more that a naked and brazen attempt to dominate the lives of any and all females who might at some point decided to have, or not have a child. It is clear that to the extent that even rape and incest cannot serve as exceptions is to make the Handmaidens Tale a horror story come true. In that reality, women are vessels and nothing more.

Second, it should be clear that the mass murder of non-white Americans is literally an American tradition. The genocide against the indigenous people of North America was real. The regular slaughter of Black Americans after the Civil War is a matter of documented fact. Rosewood and Tulsa may be taught in the history books, but there have been so many other mass killings and lynching of Black people that the real numbers are beyond calculation.

What transpired in Buffalo this weekend is just one more example of a sick behavior pattern that is as American as the Fourth of July.

Of course, there is irony in the fact that there are few records of mass killings of white people by Black Americans. Even though Black Americans are armed, many with military and law enforcement experience mass killings of white Americans only take place with white Americans as the shooter.

Finally, it should be clear that the so-called white replacement theory is neither new nor unique. That is not unique is clear from the fact that in France and Germany and Great Britain there are similar mutterings regarding white replacement by the “other”.

Of course, in the United States history shows that with the arrival of Irish immigrants, primarily white Anglo Saxon Americans were violently opposed to their arrival. In time it was the Italians and then the Eastern Europeans and the Jews and the Puerto Ricans and the Cubans and the Mexicans who gave rise to white replacement alarms – until they were absorbed and now there are descendants of the Irish and the Italians and Eastern Europeans and the Jews and the Puerto Ricans and the Cubans and the Mexicans who ring the same white replacement alarms.

The irony is apparent because to date Black Americans and Asian Americans have not been absorbed to any great extent.

And so, we stand at the threshold of a potentially traumatic upheaval in American society unless we can somehow find a way to first of all address and name the uncomfortable truths that lie just below the surface of the American epidermis and then begin find a way to move on differently.

Actually, we have no choice – unless there is someone who thinks that anarchy is a choice.

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Point of View Columns

The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning

To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s speech at the end of the Battle of Britain, the current assault on democracy and constitutional rights in the United States represents either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning.

If the upcoming reversal of Roe v. Wade marks the beginning of the end of rights that have been a settled part of American life for well over a century, it will also mark the beginning of the end of the experiment called the United States. Leaving the establishment and protection of rights to the various states will result in a patchwork of liberties and oppression that cannot help but cross state lines. And if that turns out to be the case it will not be possible for the United States to stay united for very long.

It should be understood that this is not alarmist thinking, this is clear thinking. During his four years in office, the human wrecking ball named Trump appointed over 200 ultra-right-wing men and women to federal judgeships, and most of these men and women are in their 30’s and 40’s and will be serving for life – most will be serving for at least twenty years. The average age of the neoconservative Supreme Court majority is 62 years, which means that this majority could easily rule for at least a decade if not more.

What all this means is that the progress with respect to civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, environmental protection, academic freedom, affirmative action, workplace safety, gender rights, same sex marriage, even consensual sex will soon be on the Supreme Court docket (i.e. chopping block). What this also means is that this is the beginning of the end of the belief by progressives and rights activists that the battles had been won and victory had been achieved.

It will take an entirely new recalibration of what advocacy and strategic change will look like in this brave new world. And so, if we look at the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice, then it is clearly time for men and women of good will who believe in justice for all to understand that we are now at the end of the beginning of changing this country for the better.

We have seen glimpses of hope and possibility and have prematurely thought that the mission was accomplished. We collectively suffered from a failure of imagination in not realizing that the forces of regression and repression did not disband, indeed they regrouped and reconfigured and metastasized into something more powerful than Jim Crow or the Confederacy or even the epic inhumanity of race-based enslavement. We have not imagined that, in the 21st century this country could bring forth a collective movement that is worse than all of those horrors, worse because these forces are unapologetic and very eloquent in articulating their vision of America.

And so, if the draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade comes to pass, we can hope that our failure of imagination has also come to pass, as we witness the end of the beginning of a struggle for justice with the realization that we must continue to struggle against injustice and confront evil in whatever disguise it may choose.

We can hope that one day, this day which is marking the end of the beginning of our fight for a better country will also be remembered as the point at which true, meaningful and institutional change began to be the goal.

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Point of View Columns

First Abortion Rights And Then….

Thanks to Pro Publica the world was given a glimpse into the inner chambers of the United States Supreme Court. And by releasing a draft of a majority decision abolishing abortion rights nationwide, written by Samuel Alito we now understand the agenda of the six Republican appointees in full.

And we have now learned the very hard way something that rightwing ideologues learned a long time ago – elections really do matter.

But first, it is impossible to overstate the unrestrained vigor with which the neoconservatives sitting on the bench are going about dismantling the rights that have been established as bedrock principles during the past 75 years. It is only by reconfiguring the interpretation of the Constitution that the Supreme Court was able to dismantle the infrastructure of race-based segregation and discrimination that had been sanctioned by American local, state and federal governments for centuries.

And it was only by reconfiguring the interpretation of the Constitution that the Supreme Court was able to eliminate governmental bans on everything from abortion to same sex marriage to interracial marriage as well as articulating a definition of civil rights for the modern era. And it was by interpretation that the Court was able to adapt the Constitution to the expectations of the vast majority of Americans.

But interpretation is only a jurisprudential tool. Its utility depends on who is wielding that tool. And by interpreting the Constitution in such a way as to ban abortion the door is now wide open for other actions. If anyone thinks that a ban on same sex marriage isn’t on its way, they haven’t been paying attention. Same sex marriage and gender equity are low hanging fruit for the Gang of Six and it is clear that they are just getting warmed up.

Clearly a 5-4 conservative majority was not enough to totally fulfill the hopes and dreams of the right wing of the right wing. Now, with a 6-3 super majority, there is no limit to the existential damage that they are planning to do to scaffolding of rights and expectations of millions of Americans.

Affirmative action is on the neoconservative hit list along with the rights for the differently able. We can expect expansion of the use of the death penalty and the dismantling of worker safety protections and the protection of the environment. Fair housing, fair fair voting and fairness itself – are now all endangered species.

And the sad part is that it did not have to happen this way. While it is true that the Bush legacy is complicit in this crime against America (Bush I appointed Clarence Thomas – Bush II appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito), history will record that it was Donald Trump who removed all the guard rails of liberty, freedom and fairness for a generation by his appointment of Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanagh.

But it did not have to happen this way. Trump only became president because the neoconservatives and evangelicals were laser focused on one thing – the Supreme Court. And being the canny con man that he is, Trump was more than happy to make and keep keep his promise to the right wing.

And while the neoconservatives and evangelicals were laser focused in 2016, the liberals and progressives sweated the small stuff – some people, too many people, didn’t vote or voted for a fringe candidate or even voted for Trump (a very self-destructive move to be sure) because they didn’t “like” Hillary Clinton.

We are sure to witness the evisceration of the rights (like voting rights) that were taken for granted. And now we have learned collectively, once and for all, that elections do matter.

And sadly, we will remember that as we walk through the ashes of broken dreams and expectations, knowing that it just didn’t have to be this way.

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Point of View Columns

When Too Many Deaths is Enough

While it would seem to be true that nobody ever lost money underestimating the attention span of the American public, it would seem that in this age of media overload and digital vertigo, the news in the morning can be forgotten by the time that dinner is served.

We certainly see that with respect to The Travesty Called Trump where even as his most outrageous – and undoubtedly unlawful – behavior is being chronicled by the January 6th Committee (while the somnolent U.S. Department of Justice continues to hibernate) more and more Americans seem to have forgotten the pure and absolute horror of an insurrection that came thisclose to succeeding.

And it is this combination of willful ignorance, intentional amnesia and digitally dulled sensitivity that helps to explain the behavior of the American public as we go into the third year of the COVID pandemic. We see masks being discarding, vaccinations being less compulsory and a general feeling that America is “tired of COVID”.

But of course, COVID is not “tired of America” just yet. The latest data show that during the first two years of COVID over 998,727 Americans have died from this disease. During this past week there has been a daily average of over 300 Americans dying. And yet these gruesome statistics have brought about a sense of caution fatigue and a willful embrace of inescapable inevitability when it comes to COVID.

Consider that over the past two years approximately 92,000 Americans died in automobile accidents. A sad statistic to be sure. But if one million Americans had died in car accidents it would be considered a national emergency – an outrage and rightfully so – because measures can be taken to save lives – seat belts, airbags, speed limits, etc.

Yet somehow, someway, the American public is okay with one million COVID deaths, with the promise of more deaths to come in the case of best results. Consider the level of denial that must be spreading across this land for over 300 COVID deaths a day to be acceptable. Again, using the automobile analogy – currently an average of 102 Americans die in automobile accidents every day. If that number somehow tripled to 300 Americans a day, there would a national emergency given all of the safety measures that are already in place and observed by Americans voluntarily – seatbelts, for example – and involuntarily – airbags for example.

There are safety measures that Americans can take regarding COVID voluntarily – vaccinations, masks, for example – and involuntarily – lockdowns, for example. Yet the resistance to low impact, low effort safety measures like vaccinations and masks are still resisted by so many Americans, and prematurely discarded that the risk of another wave seems almost inevitable.

Nevertheless, it comes down to the fact that Americans have become so numb to death during this pandemic that COVID no longer inspires sufficient fear or caution.

We can hope that COVID is fading away, but it is sad that we can do so much more than hope – but as a collective nation we do not.

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Point of View Columns

Here is Why Elections Matter

While it seems like a story from another era, it was only a little over five years ago that an egomaniacal self-promoting misogynist by the name of Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Not even Trump could believe that he won the election when the race was called in his favor early in the morning after election day. After all, Trump’s big plan was to launch an eponymous news network built on the foundation of the popularity and notoriety gained during the campaign.

There was no rational reason to explain how a man who lies, sometimes just to keep in practice, with no real knowledge of governance or international dynamics could be elected. He was a man who was racist, sexist, homophobic and a denier of the environmental catastrophe that threatens every living creature on the planet.

Yet he was elected president instead of Hillary Clinton who was arguably one of the most well-equipped presidential candidate in modern American history. He was elected by a difference of 50,000 votes cast in four states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin – and so he brought his promise to reconfigure the federal judiciary with him even though he know as much about the federal judiciary as he knew about how to run a successful casino.

But there were men and women, particularly the evangelical community and the Federalist Society knew everything about how to reconfigure the federal judiciary. They envisioned a judiciary that absolutely did not reflect the common view of the American people on issues like the importance of a strong federal government, abortion rights, gender equity, racial equity and the very real need to address environmental concerns.

In 2016 too many people who supported Bernie Sanders did not support Hillary Clinton because they felt (1) that Clinton had simply outmaneuvered Sanders by using the levers of the political process to her advantage (true, but that is not a breaking news story) and (2) that if Trump won it would not make a difference in the short term and his obvious incompetence would make it possible for Sanders to be the obvious candidate in 2020 – and too many, actually just enough Sandinistas stayed home and paved the way for the disastrous Trump presidency.

And we see how that worked out.

Trump may do a lot of dumb things. Trump may say a lot of dumb things. But it would be a mistake to believe that he is stupid.

He knew that he was elected in large part because neoconservatives in the Federalist Society and in the evangelical community believed that this liar would keep his promise to reconfigure the federal judiciary. And for once, and largely he could care less about the federal judiciary, he kept his promise.

In four years Trump appointed 226 conservative federal judges that will serve life terms. Trump appointed 54 federal appellate judges (Barack Obama appointed 55 in eight years). Trump also appointed three Supreme Court justices assuring a neoconservative majority on that court for at least a decade.

The Supreme Court has already proved with decisions – “shadow docket” and otherwise – that it is moving to the far, far right on issues like abortion, voting, rights and the environment. And they are just getting warmed up.

And earlier this week Judge Kathryn Mizelle, yet another Trump appointee, struck down the federal mask mandate on interstate travel putting not only the entire nation, but the entire world at risk. Judge Mizelle, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, is a member of the Federalist Society and appointed by Trump when she was 33 (she is now 35) and whose husband was acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump presidency.

The American Bar Association stated that she was unqualified for the position due to her lack of experience as a lawyer but that did not matter to Trump or his Republican lackeys in the Senate.

And now not only is the mask mandate in question – even as 500 Americans die from COVID every day – the authority of the Centers for Disease Control is now in question and could have a devastating impact on the public health apparatus for years to come.

And that is why elections matter.

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Point of View Columns

Will Smith v. Chris Rock – The Last Words

We live in a time when we actually see the leadership and rank and file of a major American political party openly espousing the demolition of the democratic processes that are the foundation of this already far from perfect country.

We live in a time when seemingly one man, in this case a man named Vladimir Putin, could come damn close to precipitating the carnage of war and destruction beyond anything seen since World War II, with the added possibility that nuclear weapons might be part of a holocaust which will have few, if any, human survivors.

And we live in a world where billionaires will spend $55 million to joy ride around in a space station while humans are literally starving to death on this planet.

Sadly, this list could go on. Therefore, this is as good a time as any to write The Last Words regarding The Slap Heard Around the World – a.k.a. the Will Smith v. Chris Rock contretemps.

Staying in the world of reality here are some real facts:

  1. Will Smith never should have slapped, punched, kicked or otherwise assaulted Chris Rock.
  2. Will Smith is fortunate that (a) Chris Rock is not The Rock and (b) Chris Rock did not suffer some serious injury resulting in Smith’s arrest and conviction along with being the losing defendant in a massive lawsuit.
  3. There is no way that Will Smith should be seen as “defending his woman’s honor”. There are enough corpses resulting from that kind of behavior.
  4. Will Smith absolutely ruined what should have been a glorious night for Venus and Serena Williams and for the entire Williams family and Questlove. They will never get that moment back – and that’s a fact.
  5. There are thousands of people who were present for what was supposed to be a memorable event, and then Will Smith turned himself into some kind of pathetic circus act.
  6. Will Smith’s apology does not remove the stench of the memory of his behavior.

Here are some other facts:

  1. Will Smith did not bring shame upon Black America.
  2. Will Smith did not become a bad role model for young Black men. Anyone who emulates his behavior has only themselves to blame. We all make choices.
  3. Chris Rock did not exceed the bounds of comedy. The point of comedy is that it really doesn’t have any bounds – if you don’t like it don’t laugh. If you really don’t like it walk out.
  4. Chris Rock will be an even richer man than he already is due to the increased attention (and attendance) for his current comedy concert tour which (quite coincidentally) began just a few days after The Slap.
  5. Will Smith shall return to some form of stardom – perhaps diminished for a while, but he shall return.

There are so many historic and existential crises and dangers that jeopardize our lives and this planet that deserve our full and complete attention.

As for this writer – these are the Last Words on The Slap.

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Point of View Columns

April 4, 2022

It was 54 years ago today that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Dr. King’s murder came only three years after the assassination of Malcolm X. Within a year, Fred Hampton would be dead in Chicago, dying in a hail of police bullets while he slept.

Anyone who lived through those times will remember that the idea of Black leadership being under attack was not just a barbershop conversation item, it was real. The documentation from the FBI and COINTELPRO have revealed that J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon and many others were complicit in creating an atmosphere where Black leadership could be decimated in such a public fashion, and we many never know how many guilty hands were busy doing Satan’s work.

Looking back, we now know that the trajectory of a Black liberation movement went through fundamental changes. Activism was channeled into Black capitalism and Black political power in more traditional venues. The results have been mixed. Black capitalism has benefited a significant number of Black Americans, but an even more significant number of Black Americans live in the shadows of inequity and institutional racism.

Black political power has transformed the history of this country with Black mayors, Black governors and even a Black president. But a Constitution that rigged the electoral system has seen no more than four Black United States senators in those 54 years – and we have painfully learned that without power in the Senate, all other power is ephemeral at best, a faint hope being a bad to worse outcome.

We have seen the Black Lives Matter embraced in parts of America where no Black people live. We have also seen the outright banning of the historical truth about Black America banned in parts of America where no Black people – as well as in states and cities where there are many Black people.

Hope is never a failure. But hope does require revival, and sometimes resuscitation.

So, people of good will across this land can hope that somehow, some way, the next 54 years will bear the promise of a better day for all.

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Point of View Columns

A Look Back at the End of March 2022

It is said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

That is certainly not the case with March 2022. It began with the most serious military combat in Europe since World War II and it is ending with more warfare and more madness and perhaps, just perhaps a few signs of hope.

And here are some (not so) random observations….

Trump the Traitor

Just thinking about Trump being president during this current crisis is the stuff of nightmares.

Today there is no need to wonder. Because today we were able to watch a video with Trump asking Vladimir Putin to find any “dirt” on President Biden.

It is important to keep in mind that this is in the middle of the most intense military encounter between the United States and a foreign since World War II. One commentator compared this to a Republican presidential candidate calling on Hitler or Mussolini or Tojo to help attack Franklin Roosevelt politically.

That may be over the top…but just a little.

Clearly there are no boundaries of propriety or patriotism or sanity when it comes to one Donald J. Trump.

And is just as clear that by engaging in this kind of bizarre activity he gives Putin all the encouragement that he needs – Putin knows that if Trump becomes president again he will have an ally in disemboweling NATO and turning the United States into his autocratic wingman.

And if that seems too extreme, then you just haven’t been paying attention.

Is a New Senate on the Way?

Every two years roughly one third of the U.S. Senate seats are up for election- this year the number is 35. Of those seats, there are at least ten that are believed to be a matter of serious contest between Republicans and Democrats, and of those ten seats, five of them feature Black candidates.

For the first time since the days of Reconstruction over 150 years ago, there are five Black men and women who have a very real chance of being elected. Since Tim Scott (South Carolina) and Cory Booker (New Jersey) are not up for reelection, there could be seven (7) Black members of the U.S. Senate by this time next year.

Aside from the literal complexion of the Senate changing, the prospect of so many Black senators serving creates the promise of some new perspectives, new vision and the possibility of the possibility of institutional change.

We will just have to wait and see.

The Clarence and Ginni Show

It turns out that we have been the unwitting audience for the “The Clarence and Ginni Show” starring Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, neo-conservative activist Virginia (Ginni) Thomas for many years.

Justice Thomas is well-known for his right wing of the right-wing approach to justice. He can always be counted on to abolish – voting rights, abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act, same sex marriage – his grievance list is infinite.

Ginni Thomas is Clarence Thomas’ right wing of the right-wing soulmate, with a healthy helping of autocratic tendencies that use the Constitution as a cudgel, not a tool of justice.

And now we learn that during the January 6th insurrection and thereafter, Ginni Thomas was a leading voice of the “Stop the Steal” movement which was meant to overthrow existing constitutional norms and invalidate the votes of over 70 million Americans.

And when a case involving a congressional investigation of the insurrection came before the Supreme Court, 8 justices voted to let the investigation go forward. One justice, Clarence Thomas, voted against the investigation. Clearly, he was concerned about the revelations of his wife’s attempts to invalidate democracy in the United States, perhaps forever.

And even though the conflict of interest is as clear a full moon on a cloudless night, Justice Thomas did not recuse himself.

Justice Thomas is a living breathing example of conflict of interest and injustice.

Smith v. Rock

Everything that can be said about the Will Smith/Chris Rock contretemps at the Academy Awards ceremony. It is more than sad that what appeared to be an utter lack of self-control resulted in Will Smith diminishing his stature and reputation, perhaps for all time.

It is also sad that some would praise his actions as “a man standing up for his woman” as if we still live in some prehistoric time where slights and insults needed to be settled with a club or a sword.

Chris Rock has been a comedian who has always had an edge to his humor. If he can be given the benefit of the doubt that he did know about Jada Pinkett’s malady (a fair assumption), it is still a matter of walking on a virtual tightrope to make fun of the physical appearance of anyone in the audience – it can be taken as a good-natured joke or…not.

In any event, Chris Rock will make even more money on his current concert tour. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett will continue to live the life of celebrity and luxury and ease.

And in no event should the Academy Award incident be seen as somehow smearing or shaming the national Black community.

The bad behavior of a couple of privileged and entitled men have nothing to do with any assessment of the Black community.

It was a train wreck of a night.

Now it is time to move on.

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