David Mark Greaves
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court and her Senate hearings testimony, with her mother and father proudly watching, her brother and her college roommates, all of them radiating the best of human nature, and listening to Judge Jackson’s brilliance and watching her calm demeanor and artful pauses was like taking a timeout from an otherwise dismal national and international landscape.
There is hope in knowing that when these tumultuous times pass, and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, with their child pornography, CRT and Guantanamo Bay fixations long forgotten, Judge Jackson will be there, using her “methodology” and her life experience to make decisions based on the facts and the text. She is a breath of fresh air.
War in Europe, voter suppression, disease, inflation, the threat of authoritarianism here in the states, the coming January 6th Committee detailing the attempted coup, are the ugly facts we are faced with going into Spring. Yet, they are peripheral to the all-consuming daily challenges of making enough of a living to hold off gentrification and have a warm home, food, with maybe a little something extra and a future worth looking forward to.
The people in Ukraine have had their future wrenched away from them, twisted it, and sent them wandering. Thinking about the war while walking along the Hudson River enjoying the falling snow, I thought what it must be like to be standing in line for hours in the falling snow of Ukraine. Standing with the family carrying all their worldly possessions, leaving a home blown out of existence, going to a place still unknown, to be reunited, not knowing when. When a man leaves his family at a border in that situation and turns back to his homeland and is handed a rifle, what else is he thinking? That he’s going to kill whoever is doing this to him? If for no other reason, and the reporting is that there are many, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has made a world-class mistake that he cannot admit.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Putin must receive no Ukrainian territory as a reward for stopping the invasion. He must walk away empty-handed. The reporting is that Putin is not up to that challenge, which makes him increasingly dangerous. Raising the specter of chemical (“I think it’s a real threat,” says President Biden) or even, God, help us, tactical nuclear weapons.
There is a streak of inhumanity, I would call it evil, that is in men like Putin and in those that UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks about when he says, “For predators and human traffickers, war is not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. And women and children are the targets.”
These are people with an evil mind, that we saw freely expressed during slavery, the Holocaust, and genocide against the Indigenous people of the Americas and are all indicators of what people are capable of. That evil remains today in our country and is rising to take power in the next two elections.
When I say evil, what is happening to America now is more than having a difference of opinion. The Republicans have in their party a base that admires leaders like Putin and they cheer for him at rallies. Those same Republicans who admire Putin are the ones behind voter suppression and rigging elections here at home. They are the same and they want to take over the United States.
The frightening part about voter suppression and the authoritarianism that it empowers. That all the other challenges facing the country and the world are connected to it. And the Republican party is methodically and openly taking the steps necessary to convert the United States from a democracy to an autocratic state. They are writing voter suppression laws and procedures, working to install people in power willing to overturn results and having a Supreme Court that is 6-3 in their favor.
In the coming days, President Biden will sign the Emmit Till Antilynching Act. The vote for passage in the Senate was unanimous and the House had only three no votes.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, “The first antilynching legislation was introduced a century ago, and after so long, the Senate has now finally addressed one of the most shameful elements of this nation’s past by making lynching a federal crime.”
It would be very unfortunate if this unanimous vote, proves to be the last bone thrown before Republican autocrats take power.