On many days the news seems written by denizens of an insane asylum who never seem to run out of material and by not surprising, never fail to surprise. Looking back over the past few days proves the point. Consider the following….
Kansas City Blues
The good citizens of Kansas City, Missouri love their Kansas City Chiefs football team, even while knowingly and openly denigrating the culture of the indigenous people who lived their long before Europeans knew of this land. And, certainly the KC. fans, in loving their team, are keenly aware of the fact that more than half the players are Black.
So, one of the good white citizens of Kansas City while loving their team that stars multiple Black players, when he saw a young (16-year-old) Black man ring his doorbell, he shot him twice, once in the head. In doing so, the shooter never bothered to ask/find out that Ralph Yarl, looking to pick up his younger siblings, had come to the wrong address.
To make matters even worse, young Mr. Yarl had to stumble to not one, not two but three houses before anyone called for help.
- Incredibly it appears that Ralph Yarl will recover from his physical injuries. How long he will suffer from PTSD is anybody’s guess.
- While anything is possible, it is hard to believe that a 16-year-old young white man would be shot by a Black homeowner just for ringing his doorbell.
- Finally, those neighbors who closed their doors and hearts to young Mr. Yarl, it’s a good bet that they still love their Kansas City Chiefs.
Pride Always Goes Before the Fall
There are several reports that, sometime in the second year of his second term, President Barack Obama had a private luncheon with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and gently inquired as to her considering resigning in the best interest of the causes for which she had dedicated her life. While a delicate matter, it was an important matter, as later events would reveal.
At the time of that fateful luncheon, Justice Ginsburg was in her 80’s had survived multiple cancer illnesses, and was a walking medical miracle. Further, at that point in time President Obama would have welcomed her suggestion of a successor to keep her legacy alive, both them knowing the existential importance of a liberal majority on the Court.
Justice Ginsburg deferred, presumable wanting to wait for President Hillary Clinton to replace her in a few years. And we all know how that worked out.
Justice Antonin Scalia died and Senator Mitch McConnell refused to allow President Obama to name a replacement even though the seat on the Court remained vacant for well over a year – virtually unprecedented in American history.
There never was a President Hillary Clinton. And President Donald Trump kept one of the few promises that he has ever kept in his entire life of duplicity and diversion by appointing anti-abortion judges all throughout the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.
Justice Ginsburg lived long enough to see a Trump designed conservative, anti-abortion majority and she hoped to survive until Joe Biden became president so that he could name her successor.
Justice Ginsburg almost made it.
But Justice Ginsburg didn’t, and now hundreds of millions of American women will spend decades trying to avoid the tyranny of the Court that Trump Built had her legacy is being dismantled decision by decision.
Her pride went before the fall of her legacy.
Which leads to the situation involving Senator Dianne Feinstein, now 89, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her health, clearly failing, has kept her from sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee for months.
And during these several months, President Biden’s federal judiciary nominees are piling up because Senator Feinstein is not present to vote. And while she has indicated that she would go along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to name a temporary replacement, it’s a pretty good bet that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will block that move – remember Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland?
The only viable solution is for Senator Feinstein to retire/resign, and while California Gavin Newsome appoints a temporary replacement (California Senatorial election is in November), Senator Schumer can appoint a replacement to the Judiciary Committee.
It should be clear to anyone paying attention how important the federal judiciary has become as it has been weaponized by the right wing, and especially during the Trump administration during which hundreds of incredibly conservative judges will be making decisions about the lives of Americans for decades (remember that federal judges serve for life, and the majority of the judges appointed by Trump are in their thirties and early to mid-forties).
Senator Feinstein knows this better than anyone. Her legacy is beyond approach and deserving of praise. Yet she is dooming herself (and this nation) to the fate that she will share with Justice Ginsburg.
Given an opportunity to literally save this country, she is letting her pride go before we all fall with her.
And that is sad and outrageous.
Someone has to say it.
The United States vs. Haiti – The Battle that Never Ends
CNN broadcast a recent documentary program showing the horrors and terrors endured by refugees coming from South America up through Central America with the hope of gaining refuge, asylum and a home in the United States. One interesting note is that many of the men, women and children are not from South America. Many of the men, women and children are from…Haiti.
One might ask what would motivate these Haitians to leave a Caribbean island to sail to South America and trek through jungles, mountain passes, rivers and of course, gangsters – going thousands of miles on foot? After all, how bad are conditions in Haiti? And why don’t the Haitians do something about their country rather than coming to the United States and become the burden of the American people.
The answer lies in history of Haiti and the history of the United States as the two countries have been intertwined for over two centuries and continues to this very day.
In 1804, the nation of Haiti gained its independence from France, becoming the second independent nation in this hemisphere. Haiti was also the first country to be established as the result of a successful revolt waged by Black people. This bit of news came as a great shock to the American enslavers including then President Thomas Jefferson.
There was a very real fear that a successful Black revolt was contagious and that this freedom virus would spread to the millions of enslaved Black men, women and children in the United States – men, women and children upon whom the wealth of this nation was based at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The response was to do anything and everything to destabilize Haiti, and that has been the general policy of the United States, even to the extent of occupying that country during the early part of the twentieth century. And, working in collaboration with France which is still holding the multibillion debt over Haiti and reparations for France’s loss of its enslaved assets.
And while there is no doubt that there has been more than a share of dysfunction for which the wealthier (and often lighter) Haitians have responsibility, the United States cannot deny its responsibility for the current state of affairs in that country.
And for the response of the United States to entail working more closely with Mexico to close the border the Haitians is simply cruel. And ironic.
Ironic because during this past week President Biden was in Ireland where he extolled the long and rich relationship between the United States and Ireland.
Perhaps he could have remembered that the long and rich relationship truly began with millions of poor, starving and unskilled Irish men, women and children fleeing the oppression and famine imposed on them by England. And that the children of those poor, starving and unskilled Irish men, women and children became presidents, generals, corporate executives and university presidents.
Would that this same hand of hope and hospitality could be offered to Haitian men, women and children who are reaching out to America just now.
American amnesia is certainly not color blind.