Curtain Raiser

A High Turnout Beats All Lies, Colltalers

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat at the Supreme Court all but assures two things: the court’s conservative majority for years to come, and the urgent need for its reform. Critics say too that the Obamacare and Roe v Wade rulings now top an endangered list.
It may be worse if the Nov. 3 election is contested and that new majority keeps Trump in power, even if he loses again the popular vote. In these 36 days left, Americans who want to pick a new president must go back to basics: the battle cry now is, break all voting records, win to leave no doubts.
There are indeed few doubts about certain things. Covid-19 will still be rising from the current 33 million-plus cases worldwide, and so will the U.S.’s ‘leadership’ position, after adding a million cases in less than a month, to over seven million. No safe vaccine will be ready before at least six months, no matter how much the administration lies about it, and by then, if there’s no change in Washington, its interest in the cure will be greatly diminished.
Another pattern that emerged early on was that the ranking for most cases and fatalities is headed by nations whose democracy is under siege: the U.S., Brazil, India, and Russia. That is, calling them ‘democracies’ may soon become inappropriate. For obviously, the more economies reopen and public spaces are filled with unconcerned people, the higher will be the contagion rates. Some see the coronavirus becoming endemic just like the annual flu.
But it’s not just that most viruses take time to be studied in-depth and for vaccines and therapies to be safely developed; it’s also for the scandalous U.S. response to the virus, which could’ve inspired the world but rather treated it as a tool for political gain.

Also, the U.S. and China chose not to be part of a global effort to find a cure, which is an unqualified misstep; instead, the two, plus Russia and others, are funding corporations to develop their own.
That launched a global race to sell a proprietary therapy, a precipitous and downright greedy step that will likely be available first to those who can afford it. It breaks with a long tradition of making vaccines free and readily available to all since it’s most advantageous to the majority that no one has the virus. And it may give Anti Vaxxers validation to use people getting sick from untested methods to justify their stand and increase their profile.
Saturday marked the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping and likely murder of 43 students who disappeared near Guerrero, Mexico. Protesters took to the streets demanding answers, just as the government has issued the first arrest warrants for police and military personnel accused of involvement in the murders. The case caused a commotion within the Mexican society as the young would-be teachers are believed to have been killed by mistake.
There’s yet another climate-emergency tragedy unfolding in Brazil, of the many we should expect in the coming years. The Pantanal, one of the richest biodiversity regions in the world, is ablaze and killing an unbelievably vast array of flora and fauna species. As the wetlands’ soil, trees, and exotic animals are burnt to a crisp, just as it’s doing in the Amazon, one wonders how much more environmental devastation Brazilians will put up with.
Breonna Taylor, the Black medical worker killed in an unwarranted, no-knock police invasion of her Louisville, KY, home couldn’t have imagined that her death would inspire months of nationwide protests against police brutality towards African-Americans. The trial of her killers could’ve become a landmark for racial justice. But even as others were killed in a similar fashion, it became instead an undignified way to absolve trigger-happy officers.
Six months of Black Lives Matter protests, a half dozen police killings of Black Americans, a public outcry for justice, it all seems to come to this: no murder conviction to any police officer involved in the fusillade. No, her life and our grief are not in vain. But it shows the limits of our criminal laws.
It’s unlike that much will change till election day. The submission of the U.S.’s highest court to the whims of our egotistical leader had already started earlier in his term, and they will side up with him again. So will the entire GOP. Financially, this campaign has already set records as the most costly in history, and there’ll be no stop to the xenophobia, misogyny, and the obliteration of our voting rights. All that’s left for us to do is to be there and vote.
Let’s get the early voting going as never before. Let’s make sure that women, the Black community, people of color, immigrants, and especially first and second-time voters do exercise their power to change the future. We know with almost certainty that thousands of votes will be discarded, and minorities will be once again disenfranchised. The only way the majority will regain power in this country is to every minority to step into that booth.
There’s no more time to convince the unconvinced; if they still don’t know, they can stay at home. There’s no need to proselytize on social media about how much better off we’d all be if healthcare were affordable, if women’s and gender rights were respected, and fossil fuel was a thing of the past. It’s even harder to find any sense in spending millions on TV ads, when there’s so much that needs investing on the ground, at the polls, from door to door.
But there is something that may top all the outrage the Trump administration has caused in the last four years, from openly stoking racial mistrust to inciting armed crowds, to intimidating governors and local leaders not in sync with the official word, to sheer incompetence to save American lives. It is the possibility, repeated so often in the past week, that the president won’t accept a defeat and may turn the election into an unconstitutional circus.
In just over a month, issues such as healthcare, climate change, race, and immigration reform, women’s reproductive rights, and press freedom, to name a few, will either fuel a crucial turnaround in U.S. priorities or be buried for at least four more years. The greatest loss a Trump win will mean however will be the death of American democracy as we know it and the Founding Fathers conceived it. The difference is going to be how high will be the turnout.
Americans have only themselves to rely upon; we can’t count on the fairness of the process, or expect to beat every dirty trick Republicans may come up with for preventing us from voting. Above all, until it’s extended and parity is re-established, with term limits imposed on justices, don’t expect the Supreme to avert Trump’s bid for reelection, even if Joe Biden wins. But the reality is, if all those who want change, vote, America wins. Let’s do it. WC

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