by John Walters
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, only the second female to serve in the highest court in the land, passes of complications due to pancreatic cancer. She was 87. I’m no expert on the Notorious RBG—most of what I know about her comes from Kate McKinnon’s impersonations on SNL— so you can read a glowing tribute on the 5’0″, 100-pound heavyweight here and here.
Of course, there is something ironic about a woman who fought her entire career to abolish double standards now, in death, creating a moment for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to impose the most ridiculous double standard in the history of Supreme Court nominations.
It was McConnell, four-plus years ago, who refused to even consider an S.C. nominee, Merrick Garland, to even have preliminary hearings before the Senate, even though the vacancy had opened more than 400 days before the presidential election (the Constitution does not specify a time limit). McConnell went further, changing the rules so that a Senate confirmation vote would no longer need 60 votes, but instead a simple majority.
Now RBG has passed and President Trump and McConnell are going to attempt to ram a Senate confirmation through in less than 50 days. Not unlike the impeachment process—and the Brett Kavanagh confirmation—from earlier in this administration, I don’t have much faith that we’ll find three to four Republican senators of integrity. Do you?
It’s not about left and right. It’s about double standards. Apply the same standard in every similar situation, as opposed to constantly moving the goalposts, as McConnell does. As the person who received more votes than Donald Trump did in 2016 said on TV the other night, “Mitch McConnell is only about one thing: Power. It’s the only thing that has ever meant anything to him.”
Mitch McConnell is only about power. And Donald Trump is only about himself. Together, they make a formidable partnership that may in fact lead to the downfall of the United States.
Iron Mike Gilligan
In the past week I’ve thought a lot about my outstanding junior high math teacher, “Iron” Mike Gilligan. Born on Sept. 11, 1920, Gilligan was an alumnus of the United States Military Academy and even when he taught me, in his late 50s, carried himself with precise military bearing.
Iron Mike had actually been part of the honor guard at FDR’s funeral, standing just a few feet away from Winston Churchill. He served THREE tours of duty in Vietnam, or nearly one for every one that Donald Trump avoided.
Here are three things I remember about Iron Mike: 1) He reminded us that it only takes one horrible action, or moment of disrepute, to wipe out a lifetime of good character (in short, you’re only as good as your worst act), 2) He brought a portable black-and-white TV to school on the day of the Yankees-Red Sox one-game playoff at Fenway Park in 1978 so that we could watch it and 3) He constantly reminded us that, no matter how bad things may seem in the world, that the planet is filled with more good people than bad people.
I still believe that the majority of people in the world are good, but I believe that Iron Mike should have added an Electoral College Postulate of Virtue to No. 3. That is, it really doesn’t matter if more good people than bad people exist if the bad people can hold sway over the good people. I imagine there are more good people than bad in China. Does it matter? Nope. Same in Russia. Does it matter? Nope.
And here in the U.S.A.? The president is dirty, his administration is dirty (except for those who have resigned and signed book deals), the Secretary of State is dirty and the Attorney General is dirty. So even if Joe Biden wins by, say, 25 electoral votes on November 3rd, do you think for a moment that Trump will concede? And then what happens?
America’s Most Toxic Affliction
By the time you read this, the U.S.A. will probably have surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 related deaths (in fewer than seven months). And yet, as I look around the landscape (here in the desert), I don’t believe that the coronavirus is the disease that should most worry Americans. There’s another pandemic, let’s call it a skin disease, that is far more devastating.
I call this illness “White Rash.”
What is “White Rash?” There are common symptoms. “White Rash” sufferers walk around in T-shirts that read “American By Birth” (as if they had anything to do with it) or “Only You Can Prevent Socialism” (while screaming that the government better not “take away my Medicare”). “White Rash” sufferers indulge in their ignorance, in their faux courage, in their obesity.
To suffer from “White Rash” is to believe that your skin color provides you herd immunity (or as their leader refers to it, “herd mentality”) from paying your dues, whether those dues be military service or taxes or simply “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me,” which is a very Christian ideal. Most “White Rash” sufferers proclaim themselves to be Christian while failing to realize that Christianity extends beyond other white Americans.
“White Rash” sufferers like claiming “We’re No. 1!” while also bemoaning that they’d like to “Make America Great Again,” which is odd, because the only thing in America that’s really changed in the past 20 years (besides a greater disparity between the wealthy and those who are not) is that non-white and non-hetero groups have fought more vociferously for their inclusion. So what does “Make America Great Again” really mean? You’ll need to ask someone who’s “White Rash.”
If you feel yourself coming down with White Rash, do not be alarmed. The very act of self-awareness is proof that you do not suffer from White Rash. You may go on with your day.
We, Too, Love Maria Taylor. But We Also Agree With Jason Whitlock Here.
The Twitter cause celebre of the weekend—I opted not to weigh in—revolved around the fact that ESPN’s Maria Taylor who, let’s face it, is being spread way too thin by Disney, has an All-NBA ballot and failed to list Laker center Anthony Davis on her ballot (not first-, second- or third-team). It was simply an oversight, an unfortunate one, by someone who is incredibly overworked and—also, it should be noted—human.
Taylor copped to it immediately but then radio host Doug Gottlieb had to ask around why she even had a vote (Taylor played hoops and volleyball at Georgia and , unlike Gottlieb, was never expelled for theft). And as much as he might want to claim that it’s about her being a studio host as opposed to an analyst or scribe, it’s difficult not to see this as at least implying misogyny or racism. Why couldn’t Gottlieb have simply asked how come she excluded Davis and have left it at that?
Then Jason Whitlock, who now writes for Outclick The Coverage, weighed in. For me, I try to look not at what uniform someone ostensibly wears but rather to the points they are making. Here, I agree with Whitlock, even though I generally disagree with most of the ideas on Outclick. Whitlock’s point is that Taylor shouldn’t go the route of the victimized female sports journalist who has to validate her credentials (i.e., Michelle Beadle).
I disagree with Whitlock when he says that Gottlieb was holding Taylor to the same standard that he would have held any man. That he in fact was being the opposite of sexist. Why didn’t he just ask why she left off Davis?
One might ask how come Doug Gottlieb got the chance to have a scholarship at a second school after committing felony theft. No?
But I do agree with Whitlock’s larger point. Stop fighting culture wars on Twitter if you’re a damn ESPN talking head earning (or soon to be earning) a 7-figure salary. You made a mistake. Everyone does. Handle it with a sense of humor and, if you want to jab at your accuser in a funny and good-natured way, go do it. “You’re a card, Doug, and I give you credit.”
A Good Weekend To Be Roger Staubach
Legendary passer and MH boyhood idol Roger Staubach won a Heisman Trophy as Navy’s quarterback and later led the Dallas Cowboys to four Super Bowls, winning all of the ones that the Cowboys did not face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Roger was watching football this weekend, he probably enjoyed himself. First, his Middies found themselves trailing 24-0 at Tulane at halftime but rallied back to win, the institution’s greatest ever comeback (even better than the Pacific theater in the early 1940s). Then on Sunday the Cowboys trailed by 15 at home with fewer than five minutes left, 39-24, but rallied with the help of an onside kick to beat the Falcons, 40-39.