Post # 293 JIM CROW AND DEMOCRACY

Research tells us that, in 1830, a white actor named, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, was propelled to stardom by his minstrel performances as the fictional “Jim Crow,”a comic caricature of a clumsy, dim-witted black slave.  As a result of Rice’s fame, “Jim Crow” became a popular Southern expression for the Negro, and the Southern segregationist laws became known as “Jim Crow Laws.”  Jim Crow laws were State and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern States, passed by White legislatures, after the Reconstructionist Period. Historically, those Black and White citizens that sought to defy such laws were met with violence and death.

Despite the enactment of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, (1868) guaranteeing equality to all Americans, and the landmark case of  Brown v. Board of Education (1954) outlawing the practice of segregation in the schools (“Separate is not Equal”), Jim Crow practices continued (and still continue) apace, despite subsequent legislation on the subject. Jim Crow, is still alive and in active commerce, particularly in the area of voter suppression. Since it appears that we are at the eve of  mid-term  voting, we choose to reflect specifically, on some of the manifestations of the unsightly Jim Crow  stain on our Democratic franchise.

Gerrymandering (tactically moving the voter district lines, to affect the outcome), purging voter lists to eliminate voters, likely to vote for the “opposition,” and voter suppression, aimed at preventing certain groups from voting, are pernicious and undemocratic strategies, designed to influence the outcome of an election. Such shameful cynicism is only exceeded by the responsible officials’, or legislators’, self-justified and arrogant delusion, that they know best, in accordance with their skewed perception of our nation and its purpose; or worse, for some other insidious, personal motivation.

No less than 24 State Legislatures, as advised (mostly Republican), have introduced measures that place tight restrictions on voting, many of which, reportedly, are designed to disproportionately affect people of color, and Hispanic people, who are perceived as Democratic Party voters. Local officials, in these venues, will deny voting eligibility to such groups  based upon de minimus reasons such as the absence of a hyphen in the voter’s identification (a meaningless detail, omitted by some unknown clerk ) or some other meritless and cynically alleged defect.

The Secretary of State in Georgia (white) who has by some miraculous avoidance of ethical principle, is simultaneously a candidate (Republican)  for Governor, has, somehow been permitted to tactically and immorally, purge selected voters from the voter list, who he perceives will vote for his opponent, a black and a Democrat. Native Americans, who have an ethnically nuanced system of designating residence, are being denied their right to vote. In other cases, in sparsely populated areas, where certain Native Americans reside, a single voting station has been moved or eliminated entirely. The States of Kentucky and Georgia have, among certain other jurisdictions, have legally permitted the purging of voters’ names from the register, for identically tactical reasons.

What can be the possible self-justification, or comforting rationalization, if any, of those cynical officials and legislators, who will loudly and enthusiastically endorse America’s laudable, “one man, one vote” mantra, and privately choose to exercise their authority, otherwise?

-p.

 

Post # 292 PRIMAL TRANSGRESSION

Despite our contrary resolve, we find ourselves in several instances, having posted on the subject of politics, in general, and Donald J. Trump, in particular. The previous two posts, “THE UNMISTAKEABLE SMELL OF ROTTING FISH” and “CODE BLUE,” evidenced a clear and obvious abandonment of such prior resolution. By way of explanation, we had weighed such aesthetic preference, against the felt threat of being guilty of the “sin of silence,” and our conscience seemed to dictate the overriding consideration. This is no mere political critique; indeed, we have become very concerned about the continued existence of our unique democratic republic.

We have, in previous writings, variously recounted Trump’s incompetence, his ego-driven, adolescent execution of the office of Chief Executive, his unseemly bigoted pronouncements, his mendacity and unequivocally unethical behavior, his violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, his accommodation of the rich and powerful to the exclusion of lower and middle class America (contrary to his campaign, “snake-oil” representations), his ignorance, which has embarrassed our nation, both domestically and internationally, his support of autocratic and historical  enemies of the free world, simultaneously with making enemies of our traditional allies and friends, his tacit, and visible, support of violence, combined with his irresponsible failure to maturely address the nation, concerning instances of horrific bigoted violence, and so many more miscreant acts and failures of responsibility, chief among which, may well be, the polarization and weakening of our previously compatible and strong nation.

While we sadly affirm the above enumerated transgressions, the intention of this note is to highlight a species of Trump’s wrongful behavior, to our mind, so vast and profound, as to, veritably, constitute offenses against mankind itself. This species of miscreant behavior consists of his unprecedented attacks upon the conception and utilitarian existence, of truth itself. The enumeration of Trump’s serious failures and transgressions, in the previous paragraph, may be deplorable, even frightening, but his actions demeaning truth Itself, has existential, truly anthropological impact. Man could not have survived, nor advanced from lone homo sapiens to societal life, based on falsehood. This would have been impossible with regard to the subjects of safety and joint defense, the sharing of skills and general mutual interdependence. The truth, is certainly, no less important to mankind today.

The report we consulted, tallied 5000 false and misleading statements in Trump’s first 600 days of taking office. He has visibly increased his output of intentionally mendacious statements since such period of time; at this writing, we are advised that fact checkers have discerned 1100 Trump falsehoods in this past month of October, alone.  Trump has consistently altered truthful facts, when they are unfavorable to him and has consistently derogated the established press. He has publicly, and arrogantly, recommended, that citizens look to him for the true facts; all contradictory reports, he shamelessly charges, are, in his now famous trademark expression, “fake news.”  Please note that, in previous posts, we have observed that the “big lie,” was an insidiously successful tactic in the Nazi rise to power in Germany, in the 1930’s.

Speaking the truth may not always be easy, but truthful interaction always was, and will remain, essential, for successful and reliable human [interactive] existence and development. In demeaning the value of truth, Trump has placed himself well beyond the pale of any conceivable redemption.

-p.