Curtain Raiser

A Mournful Wail of Millions, Colltalers

The staggering fate of 53 migrants, baked to death inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, won’t affect U.S. immigration policy, even if lifts the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” aberration of a rule. Will Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Salman get immunity from a suit accusing him of murder? Biden to say.
Wrecking the U.S. Constitution it’d pledged to defend. That’s the legacy the current Supreme Court will leave behind for Americans to deal with in the decades to come. And it’s not done yet. A funny thing happened to the American democracy on its 246th Fourth of July: a radical minority seized power.
We begin in Lysychansk, Ukraine, where Russian forces “are gaining a foothold in the city,” according to Luhansk province’s governor Serhiy Haidai. The state is “one of two separatist regions in Ukraine that Russia recognizes as sovereign,” a Russian Defense Minister statement said. With that, and peace negotiations faltering, Putin may bring his troops to the front gates of the Mariinskyi Palace in Kyiv before the year is out. What happens then?
In Russia, U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has appeared in Moscow at the opening of the trial where she’s accused of smuggling vape cartridges with traces of cannabis. She was arrested a week before the invasion of Ukraine and has already spent 130 days in jail. Her wife, Cherelle Griner, said that the 6-foot-9 Phoenix Mercury player is being transported in a “very tiny cage” on the five-hour round-trip drive it takes from prison to the court.
In Afghanistan, about 1.2 million girls no longer have access to secondary education as per the Taliban rule, and many women are choosing suicide as the only way out, the U.N. Human Rights Council has heard. “Every day there is at least one or two women who commit suicide,” said Fawzia Koofi, formerly with the Afghan Parliament. Right on cue, clerics gathering over the weekend had many warnings to the West but said nothing about women.
In Texas, Pete Arredondo, the police chief who ordered the force to stand down while a shooter massacred 19 school children in Uvalde on May 24, has resigned. His role during the shooting will go down in history as one of the greatest law enforcement failures ever, in a country already routinely rocked by police violence against Blacks and people of color. However, a probe into the causes of such a tragic screwup may not reveal anything new.
In Massachusetts, a mob of about 100 members of the white supremacist Patriot Front has staged a surprise march through Boston’s Freedom Trail, featuring fascist symbology and handing out flyers. They were wearing matching outfits, white bandanas, and sunglasses, to conceal their identities. “We don’t hide our faces. Your hate is as cowardly as it is disgusting, and it goes against all that Boston stands for,” tweeted Mayor Michelle Wu.
In Mississippi, where Black teenager Emmett Till was lynched in 1955, there’s a new bombshell about the seminal case that triggered the civil rights movement in America: Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman who falsely accused Hill of rape is still alive. She was married to one of two white men tried and acquitted just weeks after Till was abducted, killed, and dumped into a river. The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation wants her arrested.
There’s one constant about the U.S. immigration policies that never fails to play a crucial role every time another devastating tragedy involving asylum seekers trying to come to this country happens: it never changes. It adds hurdles, creates yet more bureaucracy, treats immigrants as enemies at the gates, and refuses to acknowledge America’s noble past as a beacon to “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Unless, of course, you’ve got cash.
Despite the only recent ruling by the Supreme Court that actually makes sense – to end the policy that forced entire families to remain under the guard of Mexican pistoleiros while waiting on the remote chance to be admitted to the U.S. – the Biden administration is still to score a single victory on this front. No wonder Latin America and other Non-Aligned countries are not supporting the president in his efforts to put pressure on Russia and China.
Speaking of Biden, another of his campaign promises is going out of the window: to confront the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince about the murder of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president plans to visit Saudi Arabia to beg for increased oil production to lower U.S. fuel prices.
Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, is suing bin Salman, alleging that he and other officials acted in a “conspiracy and with premeditation” to torture and kill Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. A judge is asking the president if bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity.
Amid the wreckage of the partisan, religious-right attack by the highest court in the land against its own Constitution, contrary to the wishes of most Americans, it’s hard to track the fingerprints of the character that made it all possible. But he’s there, probably grinning. Addison Mitchell McConnell III has become arguably the most successful evil-doer ever to be elected to congress. That’s because this group of justices was single-picked by him.
Not even Newt Gingrich or Karl Rove have managed to be so effective in manipulating the curves and loops of the political process to his advantage. He’s rich, for sure, they all are. But it’s doubtful that their motivation is just money; these are people who have a special, insatiable thirst for power and control. Other people’s money always helps, certainly, but only a popular movement to dislodge a psychopath from their perch. Is that in the works?
As a result, we have a congress that can’t pass bills favored by the majority; a president whose confidence in his own agenda is faltering, and a high court invested with the dubious mission of re-Christianize a nation found on the separation of church and state. And they’re all coming for your vote.
“The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Former slave and brilliant orator Frederick Douglass delivered his historic “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July” speech on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, NY.
By then, it was already clear to an important segment of the U.S. population – its massive, and cost-free, workforce – whom this nation was really run by and to whom it belonged. As America is brought down to its knees by a vocal minority erasing the most important social achievements of the past half-century, it’s time to reposition our humanistic priorities and heed the words from a sage of another era. They rejoice but we mourn. Use ear plugs. WC


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