Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Judgement Daze

And, lo, great happiness came upon the land. And the people uncovered their faces and lifted them joyfully to the heavens (closer to which they had risen by about thirty-thousand feet). Hosannas were shouted, and citizens wept as one in gratitude. Sang they their praises to the blessed source, whence came the glad tidings, whose Name remained on their lips like manna, thenceforth and forevermore. All glory they pledged to That who gaveth even as it tooketh away. For They are and shall be known as … the Federalist Society.

It's what happens when a “president” who neither understands nor cares about the law is lazy enough simply to rubber-stamp recommendations from a far-right group of lawyers and judges, a group whose criteria for judgeships are two: longevity and predictable predilection to legislate from the bench in their favor. Packaged and delivered by Fed S., the judge who contravened mask mandates was approved by McConnell’s Senate despite a “not qualified” assessment by the American Bar Association, despite being only eight years out of law school, and despite having never tried a single case in a court of law. Legal scholars have called her opinion a “train wreck,” a “concocted justification.” 

Denying entry to an airplane if unmasked, she “reasoned,” is equivalent to unlawful detention and quarantine. Whatever your opinions about masking in a flying sardine can, that level of legal twisticuffs in order to grant the goals of those who bought her judgeship ought to disturb everyone. But, as the anti-democratic end has come to justify any non-democratic means, it won’t.

Thanks to Mitchotrumpic court-packing with hardcore right-wing ideologues and religious zealots, there’s worse to come. Compared to everything else a majority of Americans support but which Trumpublicans and their courts don’t, masks are nothing: availability of abortion and birth control; equal voting access including mail-in ballots; LGBT rights; government action on climate change; renewable energy; public schools. And the holy grail: separation of church and state. The Christian right considers itself an oppressed majority, and now they have the courts.

A local football coach’s case is teed up to bring it all down. Why else would this Federalist Society’s handpicked SCOTUS have agreed to hear his case against the Bremerton School District, after previous, less radicalized ones refused? They have a plan.

Told he couldn’t hold prayer meetings with his players on the fifty-yard line of the high school field, after games, the coach did so anyway. Students from the stands and a rightwing legislator ran onto the field to join in after he defied the order. He and all of Christendom were the victims, they cried; not kids who’d have chosen not to participate, had they not felt pressure to do so. Predictably, as night follows dei, hate mail and threats from the saintly aggrieved followed the ruling. 

It's the same argument, whether prayer in school or creches on courthouse lawns or Christmas O’Reilly’s fake war: Christians are the victims, not people of other or no faiths. Performing their piety everywhere but in government spaces isn’t enough. Despite Jesus’ admonition. (Matthew 6:5-8)

In fact, BSD invited coach to hold his meetings off-campus. Doesn’t matter: it’s persecution. Nor could the inevitable ruling be coming at a better time. Since the “election” of Trump, there’s been a steady rise in attacks on Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and their places of worship. And cemeteries. Will it become nationwide mobs? With “presidential” encouragement?

Can any observer of current trends deny Trump’s America is capable of mob rule, or of a government that leads the way while courts look the other? If Trumpublicans, already producing intimidating, death-threatening hordes at school board meetings and polling places, control all branches of government? Their states are busily banning books and words by the hundreds. With courts curated for pre-determined outcomes, can religious tests for office be far behind? (Good news: if Trump can fake being a Christian and fool millions, anyone can.)

It’s not just their judges who signal that party’s decline. Funded in the millions, supported by powerful Republicans, there are, so far, seventy-eight Q-anon-affiliated candidates running for office in at least twenty-six states. Thirty-six are running for Congress; all are registered Republicans except four Independents. 

And there’s Sarah Palin, proudly uninformed Fox contributor seeking national office, Scott Pruitt, disgraced former Trump EPA head, and Eric Greitens, similarly disgraced Missouri governor. Not to mention dozens of current Representatives, uninterested in legislating but pushers of The Big Lie while fomenting division and hate; all likely to be reelected.

Democracy has rounded the final turn, heading into the home stretch. It’s 2022, or never. And it’s looking more and more like never.


  1. Last weekend, I got into a little polite, literary fisticuffs on FB because the Everett School District published multiple religiously bent posts. The one I saw first had a picture of the back-lit Jesus, wishing us a 'blessed Easter' and went on to explain that Easter was the most important Christian holiday. The post described the reasons for this, that Jesus was thought/ believed to have risen from the dead, and all the rest. I complained that it was inappropriate and a small onslaught ensued. Other commenters were very much in favor of this celebration of Christian faith on a site for a publicly funded entity. Hmmm... It was pointed out to me that the district had also created posts for Passover and Ramadan, to which I pointed out the equal inappropriateness of those. Religion is religion--keep it to yourself, says I.

    I was outnumbered and I was able to step out of the arguments with an "agree to disagree" position, but it leaves me thinking how deeply the religious front or back lashing has gone. I am a deeply moral person. I am an empath, whether trained to be by my early Catholicism or by parents who were always encouraging us to walk a mile in another's shoes. I truly don't care how religious others are or to which god they pray--just don't force it on me.

    In the school district's defense, I would offer that they described the beliefs of each religion in factual, and if possible, historical context. Well, as much as possible. I think that was the only redeeming (geez, can we ever get away from this kind of talk??) quality of those posts as I know we cannot teach history or literature without acknowledging the influence of those religions on world events or art. If it affects thinking, it has an effect on us in the world.

    Anyway, none of this even touches on the hypocrisy of right wing hypocrites hiding behind their Bible verses and persecuting those who don't believe at all, or as they believe. As I said in my response to one of the people I 'argued' with, keep your religiosity to yourself. Then I stopped following the district page. I don't work there anymore.

    P.S. I finally turned a corner in my knee replacement rehab/ recovery. Weeks 3, 5, and 7 were GRUESOME but now I am on the upswing. It's not for sissies, I can tell you that!

    1. Glad to hear about your knee. Way worse rehab than a hip, so I've been told.

      As to the rest, I couldn't agree more. I'd bet (if not in that conversation, but in some) you've been asked how you can tell right from wrong without the Bible. The answer, as you said, is simple: empathy.

    2. I'd missed the story about SCOTUS hearing the Bremerton case! Good goobers, what is the problem with these zealots? I just have to say that if we maintain the House and Senate with good majorities in November, I really want to see the Court expanded. 13 Justices sounds about right to me. Don't we have 13 Federal Districts? One for each District makes sense.

    3. Yes. And, as I said, I think the only reason they took the case was to take a hammer to separation.


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