Saturday, October 6, 2018

Any Kleptocracy Strives To Capture The Judiciary

In a system of government of, by and for thieves, capturing the judiciary is key. Doing so reduces the possibility that the thieves will be held accountable to the rule of law.

When a drunk man steals a young woman's sense of personal safety and scars her emotionally for life, an independent judiciary might hold the man accountable for his deed.

When a white police woman shoots and kills an unarmed black man (rest in power, Botham Shem Jean) in his own apartment, because she is "scared" by him not complying with her shouted demands, an independent judiciary might hold the woman accountable for her deed.

When a corporation poisons an area and causes the cancer rate among residents to soar,  an independent judiciary might hold the corporation accountable for their deed.

When a nation attacks another nation without provocation, claiming that their preemptive strike is because the other nation intended to attack with "weapons of mass destruction," an independent judiciary might hold that nation accountable for their deeds.

At least, this was the theory of checks and balances functioning in a democracy that I and others of my generation were taught in school.

It has been a colossal failure.

People in my home state are distraught that our female Senator Susan Collins gave a speech yesteday exonerating the Republican Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in advance of voting to confirm his appointment today. People are urging that we donate to a Democratic candidate who will unseat her from a long tenure in that office. This is such a weak response to the problems of our day that I would laugh if it were not so sad. Collins has shown moderation in the past when it was expedient for courting voters, and she is showing fascist loyalties now ever since the demagogue with bad hair moved into the White House without his wife. She sucked up to blatant racist Jeff Sessions for attorney general, and she supported the uneducated, anti-education billionaire Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

Now the battle cry is to punish Collins by voting her out as senator. Clearly, she has much higher offices in her sights -- like governor or vice president.

Cigar strike, Detroit, 1937

Only a women's general strike would bring this rotten system to its knees and pry loose the stranglehold of wealth on what was once described as a government by, of and for the (white, male, propertied) people.

Frederick Douglass famously observed, "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." A formerly enslaved man that bought back his own freedom, he saw literacy as the foundation of freedom. I once believed that, too. Now, I'm not so sure.

Maybe it's political literacy that is really that foundation. May we find our way there, somehow. Until then, it's onward, kleptocracy.

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