Post # 635 LEGISLATIVE CHICKEN SOUP

If any earthly substance were to contend for the prized ideal of a curative “panacea,” we have no doubt that chicken soup would rank first among the odds-on favorites. This traditionally super “comfort” food is recognized as the undisputed, evidence-based,  most salubrious response to any version of upper respiratory pathology, such as runny noses, sore throats, flu, coughs, and colds, as well as nervous disorders and advanced cases of chronic nostalgia. In some sub-cultures it performs other existential functions, such as, “keeping away the evil eye.” Aside from its apocryphal capabilities as a ubiquitous cure-all, it is generally conceded that, in all  its nuanced iterations, a tasty bowl of chicken soup, reigns as the king (or queen) of comfort foods. While candidly, the scientific jury remains in deliberation as to its curative properties, its value in calming, often improving, man’s perceptive, is universally conceded. 

We would, at this point of the present writing, request advance forgiveness for the forthcoming, contextual sea-change; from a savory, calming and tasteful subject, to a most unsavory, disturbing, and extremely distasteful one, mandated by our intended theme. In common with all right-thinking and moral American citizens, we are saddened and outraged at the daily reports of bigotry and painfully shocked by the unspeakably evil and felonious acts of racial homicide, perpetrated by bigoted white police officers against unarmed black citizens. The present subject, admittedly, is galaxies distant from the wholesome subject of chicken soup; however, we will make relevant both contextual references.

In addition to the shocking tragedy of the widely disseminated, George Floyd murder and the numerous other pernicious, prejudice-based, acts of police homicide, the un-American right wingnuts, have seen fit to promote a tactically undemocratic program to limit, or deprive, black American citizens from their Constitutionally based franchise to vote. The chronic pathology of ignorant and hateful prejudice, as catalyzed by four shameful years of the Donald Trump Presidency seems, ominously and unabashedly,  to have metastasized; and the extant “cockroaches have come out of the walls,” spreading their egregious offal on State Legislatures and to many members of the U.S. Congress.

Congress has recently drafted two relevant bills, purposed to ameliorate the evils of both described categories of tragic and undemocratic, practices. H.R 1 is aimed at protecting the universality of the  American franchise to vote, and H.R. 4, “The George Floyd” bill,  is focused on urgently needed, police reform. We are unreservedly in favor of both [in fact, of every Bill and Legislative Act, enforcing the exercise of universal liberty and freedom]. In addition to their positive intention, they publicly articulate the standard morality and uniform expectations of mainstream society. For these and other reasons, we support these two legislative measures. However, based upon the sad history of the Nation’s less than successful experience, by such legislation, we are concerned with the extent of their empirical impact.

It is, sadly, almost a tautological truth that prejudice persists in the contemporary United States. This unfortunate observation seems to prevail throughout American history, observably irrespective of Statutory prohibition by Statute. A partial, but illustrative, list of some of the relevant Statutes, [not to forget the Constitution itself] clearly prohibiting racial prejudice, enacted in the approximately 150 years since the era of  Reconstruction Laws, includes: The Civil Rights Act, The Equal Pay Act, The Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, The Education Acts, The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Various Federal Non-Discrimination acts, and several more. The impact of these illustrative Federal Acts [and a plethora of State Statutes prohibiting discrimination, e.g., in health, housing, wages, employment, licensing and so many others]  sadly and, empirically have not proved sufficient to erase bigotry.

Considering the historical fact that the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, together with the enactment of a myriad of relevant Statutes and decades of legal progressive precedent, have not significantly curtailed race and religious prejudice, we then would wonder, what reasonably, can be the empirical impact of H.R. 1 and H.R. 4? Are we, as optimistic, well-intentioned good citizens, haplessly continuing to commit the hobgoblin act of “foolish” consistency, as wryly observed by Ralph Waldo Emerson? It would appear notable that America’s underbelly of bigots, neither read nor respond to the strictures of Statute; but only to their own overriding, inbred and ignorant perceptions. Are such moral, legislative enactments merely momentarily soothing, like ingesting a savory bowl of chicken soup?

The proposed statutes should, of course, be resoundingly passed; but other, perhaps more promising, and effective solutions can also be devised, possibly: longer mandatory periods of schooling, regular, periodic psychological vetting of police and owners of firearms, and mandatorily harsh penalties for assaults committed by reason of color, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Additionally, people who espouse hatred ought determinably, be ineligible for judiciary, legislative or political office, uniformly denied licensure or engagement in civil service and municipal employment and prohibited to broadcast on the media. There is an existential need for meaningful, creative, and empirically effective measures to protect our American democracy and every one of its upstanding citizens, without exception.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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