Is this really how our republic, just three-and-a-half centuries old, is going to meet its premature end? In a squalid surrender of everything we have stood for, or attempted to become? In the past 12 years, we have seen our freedoms tossed away like so much garbage because of a single terrorist attack by a tiny group of deranged psychopaths; stood by while the fabric that holds our nation together, the ideals of the common good, compassion, and empathy, are mocked and reviled by carpert-bagging fat cats and their hired wise guys; and now, worst of all, the highest court in our land has voted to jettison the results of a nightmarish civil war and decades of antebellum bloodshed, sacrifice and martyrdom in order to reconstitute a racist apartheid Reich ruled over by a minority of aging superstitious Claghorns who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and that God has anointed them and them alone to decide how the rest of us live, love and think.
I am an old-fashioned patriot; I believe that the Wikileakers, who the press fawns over and genuflects before, are traitors, pure and simple, and should be tried and, if found guilty, punished. Their loose tongues have already cost the lives of dozens of Afghans who trusted our country and worked for us; who knows how many other innocent idealists around the world will die because of these self-righteous misguided zealots?
If they ended up on the business end of a firing squad it would be just fine with me. But if they are traitors, what are Chief Justice Roberts and his coven of fellow bigots on the Supreme Court? Do they think lynchings, burning crosses, rigged voting machines and stuffed ballot boxes are some kind of joke? Do they think the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are mere scraps of paper, like the fly-by-night mass mailings (U.N. seizing Americans’ guns! Obama graduated from Moslem terrorist school!)their shadowy brethren send out to terrify the citizenry and soak them for frogskins?
Voting rights are no laughing matter – in fact, they are all that separates us from the banana republic oligarchies and single-party police states that still proliferate across the world – and the struggle for the equal opportunity to vote goes back generations in my family. My mother’s people are from the Deep South – Florida, Mississippi, Virginia, Rabun County. Georgia; their ancestors owned plantations (one, the Epperson family spread, is now a state park outside of Richmond), and one fought as a general for the Confederacy. But they were also devout Christians. My mother was born in Shanghai, China, where my granddad Eugene went as a Southern Methodist missionary as a young man; he founded the YMCA in China, and was such a fierce proponent of the Chinese people’s welfare that the Beijing government still maintains the family’s home in Hangchow as an unofficial shrine. After his retirement from the Y, he spent the rest of his life working for human rights in this country and around the world.
My great aunt Lillian Smith wrote the radical anti-segregation novel Strange Fruit in 1944, co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee with Stokely Carmichael, and counted the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as one of her close friends; the Klan burned her house down for her efforts. Her brother Ralph was the sheriff of Rabun County during the 30s, and stopped an attempted lynching in Clayton, the county seat, by facing down a mob singlehanded, armed with a double-barreled shotgun.
With blood like theirs flowing in my veins, I am unable to view the actions of “justices” Roberts, Scalia and company with anything less than outrage. They are the bastard descendants of Benedict Arnold, assassins of the American dream of liberty and justice for all, and the fact that so many Republicans are greeting their disgraceful decision with cynical glee makes a mockery of this year’s July Fourth celebrations. If these zombies have their way, democracy is literally dead in America, an empty and obscene farce; with corporate wealth, gerrymandering run amuck and legalized voter intimidation perverting the process, who knows what nightmare ghosts and afreets will emerge from a past we thought was safely put to rest to take office and misrule into total ruination?
This is the saddest July Fifth I can remember.