Cartoon by Adam Zyglis
At no other time in my life have I been more aware of the workings of this country’s Supreme Court. The judgments of this body of five white guys (including three Catholics), 1 black cypher and three minority women (two of Jewish descent and one Latina) are lopsided by one vote toward dramatic corporation-pro conservatism. This week we were delivered another bomb against individual rights. The right-wing Christian-owned retail company Hobby Lobby had sued to have a small part of the Affordable Care Act rescinded due to their beliefs. So, in a nutshell, employees of the firm can now count on having a medical plan that refuses to pay for contraception in any form. The dramatically drastic impact of the Court’s decision only becomes clear when a person considers that this judicial action has opened the door for every extreme religious faction to press cases against laws that are the will of the people and not to their liking. Just as the Court’s earlier decision to give carte blanche to corporate political spending has shifted the landscape of voting and political activism in our country so, too, will the Hobby Lobby decision foster a broader negative impact for individuals while rewarding corporations.
It is obvious to me that the five-man tag team that passes most of this legislation without recognizing the future implications of their actions no longer represents the people’s concerns but those of a well-healed few. This should come as no great surprise as the current Congress, especially the republican controlled House of Representatives, works along the same lines. (In plain fact, when compared to any other congress, this one has passed the fewest bills in American history. In 1966 our congress passed 800 news laws. This one hasn’t passed 20!)
These are difficult times for most progressive causes. I dare say they are difficult for just about any causes when we have a congress that refuses to cooperate on any level because an obstructive and extremist minority has decided to block the workings of the body. These people have hood-winked their rabid followers into believing no government is a good thing. But, as we have all seen with cases like that of wealthy rancher Cliven Bundy, their radical agenda dissolves once they realize the government won’t give them more of what they have always “sucked at its teet” for.
I am highly displeased with the Obama administration. Yet, the trapped-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place position the President is in garners some amount of sympathy from me. Today he gave a speech describing why he has been forced to take unpopular executive action. We can’t criticize this president as being spineless and then condemn him once he grows one. When faced with a Congress and Supreme Court that actively work against the needs of the many the last resort is to take actions that are unpopular, but now necessary. Congress will not pass necessary immigration reform. Just one of many issues we face as a country that our leaders refuse to address. So President Obama steps up to the plate and takes action thus incurring the wrath of the do-nothing politicians.
This crop of newbie political hacks do not govern whatsoever. They collect checks and let their asses expand while failing to allow the government and the country to move forward in any regard. The so-called “Greatest Country In The World” is now less effective than a eunuch trying to seduce women in the harem he is supposed to protect. The Republican Party is little more than a pale shadow of itself as it bends over backwards to appease its radical right factions. The Speaker of The House, Rep. John Boehner, spends more time appeasing the Tea Party faction than governing. Fear rules the day as check-collectors worry that the cash cow that allows them to live so grandly will be lost when they are cast out of office in favor of insane and idiotic worst-case-scenario replacements. What we are witnessing is game-playing of the very worst sort. Government, by its very nature, is slow-moving, but never before has our government been at such an overwhelming standstill. The horror of a Senate led by the same thinking is just about too much to bear.
At SCOTUS the four justices opposed to the actions of the mostly white conservative male club were led by Justice Ruth Ginsberg, the longest-serving female member of the Court. Justice Ginsberg delivered a scathing 35-page descent that casts light on a very dark decision. The following video “songifies” pertinent excerpts from her descent. As SCOTUS continues to pass at least one highly disruptive decision every year, Justice Ginsberg remains the most outstanding voice of reason in the body. It will be a sad day when this smart and sensible woman steps down from the Court. SCOTUS cannot bear the influence of yet another ineffectual justice like Justice Clarence Thomas who is the judicial equivalent of members of the Do-Nothing Congress.
Things usually get much worse before they can get any better. What we are witnessing happening in Washington is the time before the pendulum swings back. The only hope we can have, despite the failure of our current government to even basically govern, is that it will swing back and soon.