Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nation of Shame: Shutting Down Speech on the Senate Floor



There once was a piece of Old Diggery

Who handed out lessons in piggery
He stood up on a box his oaf song to sing
Quashing a letter from Coretta Scott King
And birthed a whole nation of triggery
 

             What's next? A caning on the Senate floor?

In the years before the Civil War the attack on Massachusetts Senator Charlies Sumner by a racist Congressman from South Carolina drove an irreparable wedge between two parts of the country, as the North learned that the slave owners on the other side lacked all decent respect for human life.
         (For the whole story see Massachusetts author Stephen Puleo's book, "The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War," for the details. Here's the link for that  book: http://www.stephenpuleo.com/book/the-caning/)
          These reflections are prompted by the Senate majority's attack on the freedom of speech of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who opposes the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Jeff Sessions is a racist. His history is on the record; it's no secret. When he sought to prosecute Civil Rights activists, back in Alabama where the government did that sort of thing routinely, he attacked a white lawyer defending the activists by calling him "a traitor to your race."
           I don't know about anybody else, but I don't want to be part of any "race" that Jeff Sessions is a member of. 
           Race is a fiction, a lie. There is no scientific basis for dividing human beings into races. There is only one human race. We are all in it. Unfortunately, some of our members are throwback degenerates, like Jeff Sessions.   
             Sessions, and every Republican senator who supports him, plus the despicable administration that proposed him (which appears to be government by White Supremacist Loose Cannon Bannon), are trying to drive America back to the pre-Civil Rights era when it's OK to slander members of "other" non-white groups whenever the need arises -- Muslims are terrorists; African-Americans are cop killers -- but illegal to point out that craven politicians appeal to white Americans' baser instincts by using racial slurs. That is, it's OK to be a racist, but it's not OK to call a white American a racist.
             What Warren was doing when the Senate gagged her last night was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, generally regarded as reliable source on civil rights, opposing Sessions's nomination for a federal judgeship back in 1986 on the grounds of his blatant, repeated opposition to Civil Rights after desegregation became the law of the land. Back then, the Senate defeated his nomination.
             King's letter is straight-forward, but the language is civil. Her letter states: "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.” 
             This is a factual claim.
              Somehow Senate Republicans alleged it was an attack on one of their members -- Alabama voters having chosen to vote the racist Jeff Sessions to the US Senate -- that violated some kind of rule about saying not-nice things about one of their members. 
               Brain-dead Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell ruled she could no longer speak on the nomination and was supported by his ignorant clones. 
               Folks, we are increasingly two countries. I don't wish to be part of any country that allows Jeff Sessions, or McConnell, or the p.o.s. in the White House  to govern us. (I expect the antipathy is returned.)