by John Walters
Quite the week for the Supreme Court of the United States. In no particular order—chronologically or logically—the majority of SCOTUS struck down separation of church and state, a century-old law on handgun regulation, and the right of women to have an abortion. Next week they’ll be coming for gypsies, retards and Jews.
Remember seeing those two planes fly into the World Trade Center (okay, you only saw one in real time) and witnessing that fantastic explosion and being gobsmacked by the surrealism of it all… but not yet quite being able to appreciate the phenomenal loss of life and grief and ruined lives of so many others connected to those 3,000 or so victims? Well, this week Clarence Thomas and the Robe vs. Wade crowd crashed the plane into the Constitution. The collateral damage, the loss of life and freedom to individuals you know or will know about, is on its way.
Oh, and “Liars” is in the title above because the last three justices confirmed, all in the past five years, said during their nomination hearings that they considered Roe v. Wade “settled law.” We all knew that they were lying… this week they took the opportunity to prove us correct.
I live in a dumb state. Let’s get that out of the way first. I constantly hear people in Arizona say we have to save OUR country and I’m always bemused by that. Who is “OUR?” I know, we all know to whom OUR refers. The people with whom these Arizonans (and perhaps conservatives in your area, too) disagree are also American. It’s also their country. It’s sad that I even have to say that. When you buy into a democracy, you buy into the notion that you don’t always get your way. The majority does. But that’s not what the “OUR country” crowd subscribes to: they’re more of a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose gang.
The America your great grandparents grew up in did not allow women to vote. The America their grandparents grew up in did not allow blacks freedom. Did these people contend with their own grandparents lamenting that they needed to save OUR country? To not emancipate blacks? To not give women suffrage?
But suddenly OUR country is under attack. And so modern-day Republicans are doing the ol’ “We had to kill the patient in order to save him” trick. Democracy and free elections? Not if we have to surrender OUR country. Legal precedent being upheld? Not if we lose OUR country.
In my years, I’ve come to see (firsthand, from family and friends) the fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The former are like, I don’t like that, I’m not gonna do it. And the latter are like, I don’t like that, YOU’RE not gonna do it.*
*The caveat being that if a Republican likes something and a Dem even bothers to object to it, the R screams out about his rights being infringed upon or being canceled.
Earlier this week, in a text chain with high school buddies, split across the political spectrum, perhaps my wealthiest friend (a corporate consultant), talked about the coming reality of Universal Basic Income (in other words, CEOs would rather help pay out welfare than continue giving jobs to humans at the expense of a higher stock price). So I replied, “People need a purpose. Not handouts. If you want to destroy the world, take away people’s (men’s) reasons for getting up in the morning.”
And with that one of my conservative buddies typed, in ALL CAPS, “DO WE HAVE A CLOSET REPUBLICAN IN OUR MIDST?”
Short answer: No, because I’ve never believed in using corruption as a means to an end. I did ask my conservative friend why so many of his conservative farming brethren are happy to accept a huge check from Uncle Sam to NOT work their land. But, hey, white landowners could never possibly be welfare queens, now could they?
Returning to this week’s decisions, let’s make it simple: the majority of SCOTUS is not interested in babies or liberty or religious freedom (Christianity, yes, but not religious freedom per se). All of these rulings are designed to keep women subservient, to prevent the upward mobility of poorer people, to come closer to establishing a theocracy and also an autocracy. And all of these rules will ratchet up crime (read Freakonomics and see what the authors discovered about what happens 18 years after a country takes away abortion right), which will help pols put more police on the streets and boost more fear in communities, keeping uneducated folks scared and allowing those in power to keep the masses under their thumb. Or in jail.
Notice how often you’ve heard the term “defund the police” since George Floyd was murdered. How many times, if ever, have you heard those same people decry “defund education?” Probably never. Because the last thing they want is to fund public education. If you’re a Republican, you’re either A) wealthy enough to send your children to a private school and you do or B) too ignorant to realize how much you’re being manipulated.
I should state, for the record, that I love this country (you can say that without having to add that it’s “the greatest country on Earth” because anyone who says this has usually been to fewer than five countries…it’s the same idiocy that leads people to call LeBron “the GOAT” who can’t even tell you who Kareem or Wilt were). But there’s a difference between loving something (maturity) and being impervious to any critiques to it (cultism). Go read Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower or The Last Stand (about, respectively, the first two generations of settlers and George Custer) and you’ll learn that so much of what you devoured in elementary school was pure myth. The very term “Custer’s Last Stand” is a lie since he and his men had been chasing the Sioux (on the Sioux’s federally appointed land) for months and then when they finally caught up to them, the Sioux kicked their asses (Custer was killed, his penis was chopped off and they stuffed it in his mouth… you probably never read that in 8th grade history… or the fact that the U.S. govt got the news right about now in 1876 but they held off informing the public for a week or so until after the country’s centennial celebration had ended).
Which is why the GOP is so against education. America, like every family I know, has a checkered past and present. Very few things in this world that have human interference are pure good or pure evil (even the Patriots had Gronk to offset the maleficence).
Lastly, let’s not finish this polemic without blaming another uniquely American phenomenon that I’m partly accountable for: the madness of the masses when it comes to big-time sports. Major sports have now easily bypassed religion as the opium of the masses. Those in charge understand and appreciate the palliative effect sports has on keeping the middle to lower classes distracted. Pre-occupied. Under control. And the funny part is that the majority of big-time athletes are the very minorities whose communities (at least those in which many of them were raised) are being destroyed. It would be beyond wonderful if every black or Hispanic big-time athlete simply walked out of sports until America got its act together. They could bring down the Mitch McConnells and Clarence Thomases of the world in a month or two, especially if NFL players took this stand. That, understandably, is a lot to ask of individuals.
Meanwhile, five men and one handmaid in black robes just made a decision that will adversely affect more than half the citizens of the United States, a group numbering more than 167 million. The very definition of tyranny of the minority. So I’ve come to adopt, in this political climate, Walters’ Postulate: The quality of life in these United States is inversely proportional to the number of times you hear reasonable people invoke “Portugal” as a potential landing spot.