We have to follow the old Civil Rights Movement slogan and keep our eyes on the prize. Donald Trump and the filth he has visited upon the nation and the world has us beside ourselves with anger, fear, and despair. But we can’t let him, his tweets, or his parasitic sycophants distract us. Our purpose is clear. We have to take out the garbage and then stay engaged. It will take a long time to undo the damage he has done.
His worst offense, in my view, has been his polluting the federal courts with unfit, immoral, ultra conservative ideologues. Many of them lack even a patina of qualification for the federal bench. Anti-women, anti-LGBTQ, anti-climate change, anti-black and brown people while also pro-billionaires and pro-corporations: these are their sole qualifications.
And Trump had help with these awful appointments in the form of the ghoulish Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Quite a switch from during the Obama years. At that time, both as Minority Leader and Majority Leader, McConnell did his level best to prevent President Obama from making judicial appointments, ending with his triumphant stymieing of Merrick Garland’s nomination for the Supreme Court. But during Trump’s presidency, McConnell has rubber-stamped each and every judicial appointment with frightening speed. Mitch McConnell is the most dangerous man in Washington, DC, the most dangerous since J. Edgar Hoover and he has to be stopped. It’s not enough just to flip the Senate to a Democratic majority. McConnell has to be voted out of office.
Internecine battles within the Democratic Party must cease. We don’t have time for that shit now. Four more years of Republican rule could quite literally bring doom upon the planet. Time for us to lick our wounds and get going.
This Black History Month, I turn to one of my idols for inspiration, Congressman John Lewis. A fighter for nearly all of his 80 years, he received beating after beating during the Civil Rights Movement. As a Freedom Rider, as a leader in the march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights, despite the beatings, he stayed firm, kept his eyes on the prize.
Congressman Lewis has served in the People’s House for 33 years. He has fought for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, and against big business and climate change. History will record him as a fighter on the side of justice for all.
Tragically, he has seen many of his accomplishments washed away by waves of Republican advances. This includes the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He nearly lost his life on the Pettus bridge fighting for blacks to have the unquestioning right to vote. In 2013, the Roberts court gutted the Act. This launched a wave of voter ID, racist gerrymandering, and other tactics to disenfranchise black and brown people. It pains me to see all he worked for destroyed by evil opportunists.
But despite all of the setbacks, he continues. His eyes have never wavered from the prize. Indeed, one could say that he has his eyes fixed on the prize more now than ever before, because the stakes are so high. This, despite his recent cancer diagnosis.
We need to follow his great example, the extraordinary life he has lived. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and vote. And after we’ve voted, continue to march, petition, and lobby for the just world we want to see.
This is why we have to do better. Trump and McConnell are successfully flipping one of the most reliably liberal Courts of Appeal in the county, the Ninth Circuit. Recent decisions have involved the rights of asylum seekers, stopping Trump’s Muslim ban, and of course legalizing same-sex marriage. If flipped, any future cases involving these and other issues (reproductive rights, for example) could go the other way. Judges last for a lifetime. Trump and McConnell have appointed young judges. So they will last for a long while.
As I stated before, Trump’s judges will outlast him. We can’t afford to have anymore polluting our judiciary. Reactionary judges can set our society back decades.
March 1, 2020
From the man, himself:
We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God almighty helped me here. We cannot give up now. We cannot give in. We must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize. pic.twitter.com/eOw9uMYAAL— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) March 2, 2020
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