Under Trump, the ramping greed is unconscionable–and visible: corrupt and unethical, Trump appointees are walking out of Senate votes into Cabinet offices wearing their duplicity and cheating as bright badges of dishonor—perfidy is the only experience required—misconduct and exploitation abounds! Among the examples: taking 60,000 homes, wage theft, insider trading on congressional bills, opposition to a nominal wage increase, turning public education into a private profit center (what a choice!).
The atmosphere of governance is poisoned by daily threats to defund states and cities that don’t bow to the people’s despot (who won by losing by three million votes of the dead he says committed fraud). His threats have no place in a democracy with constitutional limits. He has no business in the White House. But this is old, bitter, obvious news.
What’s new is a direct, frontal attack on women and civil rights, on the nation’s social contract. The latest attack, from the senator floor, was racist — it declared the historic words of Mrs. Coretta Scott King found in a letter she wrote opposing Jeff Session’s 1986 appointment as US Attorney for Alabama that pointed out his opposition to protecting voting rights, civil rights, and equal protection of the law against discrimination as not fit to be quoted in a senator’s remarks from the floor. For doing so (reading the quoted words of Dr. King’s widow), Sen. Warren was muzzled; she was officially silenced by a party-line vote.
Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren had gone to the Senate well to oppose Alabama senator Sessions nomination for Attorney General, and her objection included reading from the King letter Strom Thurmond, then President pro-tempore of the Senate, failed to put into the 1986 record. Before Sen. Warren could finish her reading, the Republican majority leader, Kentucky’s favorite redneck son, Mitchell McConnell objected. He asked that Sen. Warren denied the further right to speak. The chair, and then the Senate, agreed.
The New York Times described it this way:
“In a party-line vote, 49 to 43, senators forced Ms. Warren into silence on the Senate floor, until the showdown over Mr. Sessions’ nomination is complete. Republican senators had voted to formally silence a Democratic colleague for impugning Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, for condemning his nomination for attorney general while reading a letter from Coretta Scott King which accused Mr. Sessions of using “the awesome power of his office to chill the pre-exercise of the vote by black citizens.”
“She was warned,” Mr. McConnell said of Ms. Warren.
After her “warning,” her voted-on silence sent a loud, resounding message that the nation’s highest legislative body intends to use raw, ugly power to enforce a new social contract. The same body is stretching the limits of ethics to approve a cabinet with well known incidents of corruption, rule breaking, and personal enrichment from public interests, with legal but unethical practices that include corporate raiding and foreclosing on 60,000 homes in California by default during the last recession. The senate’s partisan attack makes evident a dangerous, diabolical/hypocritical double standard.
The attack fits with the Republican Party’s announced goal to remake America’s social fabric. It plans to dismantle the secure, broad safety nets left by the Obama administration, yet has no plan, after eight years, for replacement. The absence of a plan is why it wants to force its critics into submission and silence on key issues and appointments. The senate, especially, has shorten hearing sessions, limited time for questioning, restricted floor debate, and now, in an extraordinary move, silenced a senator for quoting the words of Coretta Scott King, written thirty years ago.
It main tactics increasingly rely on the symbolic tools, objectives, and leverage of white supremacy—McConnell showed a perverse double standard by using racist tactics for double strikes of two-to-one: silence Sen. Warren; smear and impugn Mrs. King. Declare the reading and the words unfit.
In doing so, the senate, its Republican members, stood ethics and free speech—America’s first amendment—on its head. When Ted Cruz called McConnell a liar on the floor, he was not silenced. But McConnell wants to separate the ugliness of truth from the underlying, legitimate record of Sessions and focus only on the ugly, condemning the truth for its own sake—and for partisan satisfaction. He pretends the ugly is not tied to evil doing. His harsh, racist attack was also a distraction.
Underneath the racist tactic and its appeal to the masses is the sexism and misogyny of the wife-absent White House. Saturday Night Live newest character bitched slapped the groper and his eunuchs when Melissa McCarthy in full transgender attitude (and dress) played Sean Spicer to the hair without an ounce of butch and declared a reverse take-down by saying through her sublime mockery as Spicer’s gender double: I’m a girl and I have bigger (and better) balls than you. Ouch!
Votes counted in this last election and they will count even more in 2018. Changing those elected will be the only sure guarantee that safety nets and the social contract will be safe. Republican brutality and cruelty is becoming the national norm. It can be firewalled if voters recognize the deep pain that is being inflicted in the name of civility and security—both are being used to undermine rights, freedoms, and protections, even as Republicans and the President claims boisterously that their version of civility and security protects those rights.
One look at the immigration ban crafted by the white supremacist anarchist, senior White House advisor Steven Bannon, with his longstanding agenda of sanitizing the nation and non-inclusion, exposes that lie.