America has long used the racial divide to separate and control the citizenry of this country. Face it, despite the reluctance of most Americans, whites particularly, to address the issue of America’s racial history, it is an irrefutable fact that racism continues to thrive and reigns supreme in the US. This is particularly true in our halls of power. Racism is and continues to be one of the founding principles of this country, along with sexism and classism. Think of the foundations of America as the legs on three-legged stool and the seat as the seat of power upon which this country is governed. You realize those legs are racism, classism and sexism and that seat is the three branches of government. Don’t take my word for it, read the Constitution of the United States, which was written for and by propertied white men, to the exclusion of people of color, women and non-propertied white men.
The three-legged stool foundation metaphor of America, is manifest today in the movement to reverse the gains regarding civil and human rights in this country. Leading this effort is the legislative branch of the country, the American Congress. In concert with Republican-led state legislatures, the Congress of the United States is effectively dismantling long fought for protections to our most basic and fundamental rights; human rights, privacy rights, voting rights, you name it, they’re dismantling it, with gusto.
Time after time in states across the country, Republican legislatures are drafting laws to turn back the clock on civil and human rights for all citizens, but particularly those targeting people of color, women, and the poor.
Nowhere is this trend more evident than in the Congress of the United States where so-called “leaders” are perverting, corrupting and making a mockery of their roles as public servants and servants of the people. Both parties, unfortunately, are guilty of self-serving actions and behaviors that, ignore both the wishes of the majority of Americans and needs of the country. Republicans however, have demonstrated that they will no longer even “pretend” to be legislating for the good of the citizenry and the country. Nowhere is the failure of national legislators, specifically the United States Senate, to do their sworn duty more evident than the “clown show” of confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Republicans demonstrated that they are not only openly racist in their treatment of Judge Jackson, but revel in their behavior, knowing it will appeal to their respective bases. The overt nature of the racist behavior of Senators Hawley, Cruz, McConnell, Blackburn, Kennedy, Graham, Cornyn, Cotton and Tillis, Republican members of the Judiciary committee, was disgraceful. They are collectively, along with similar members of the House, clear members of what I now deem to be, our “Ku Klux Kongress.” Under the guise of questioning about pedophilia and “soft on crime” rulings, these senators attacked, vilified, and denigrated the most qualified candidate for the Supreme Court to come along for years. The question is why? What is obvious, but never stated openly during this confirmation process, is simply this, she is a woman, and she is black. Those named senators are, not ironically, all from the former Confederate States of America, you know, traitors that lost the Civil War. Their performance during this confirmation process was particularly despicable. Senators Graham, Cruz, Hawley, Blackburn, Kennedy and Cotton, might as well have been waiving the Confederate flag as they questioned Judge Jackson.
These hearings and these so-called representatives of the nation have been and continue be a national disgrace. Clearly though, they have no shame, no morals, no desire to represent the country as rational, serious members of government. Though not a member or direct participant in the confirmation hearing, they are led by the Grand Wizard of the KKK wing of the Senate and again, member from a former state in rebellion, Kentucky; Moscow Mitch McConnell, a sad, pathetic, reprehensible example of a human being and thoroughly corrupt representative of “the people.”
No matter how they might couch their objections to Judge Jackson in their feeble attempts to hide their true nature and intent, the racist character they display is so overt and evident it cannot be denied or refuted. Unfortunately, they neither care nor exhibit concern over their behavior because they have power; power given to them by fellow Americans that share their views and despite the protestations and incessant whining, revel in their racist attitudes, values, and beliefs.
The United States is not at present, contrary to popular white belief, a post-racial, post-sexist or post-classist society. Rich, powerful and thoroughly corrupt white men (and women), are assuring that the three-legged stool of America’s foundations, racism, sexism and classism, are as strong today as they ever were. As they have done historically, these powerful elected officials have effectively co-opted poor whites into believing they are “with them,” by stoking the flames of racial animus. These efforts have proven, again as they have historically in this country, remarkably effective in the maintenance of the hegemonic influence of white supremacy in American government. Nowhere was this more evident than by the election of the “Orange Menace,” himself, a.k.a. Donald Trump.
This is the America of today, one in which the founding fathers would be proud, a thoroughly racist, sexist and classist society, as they intended. We will continue to be thus, far into the foreseeable future, given the propensity of Americans to elect wealthy, primarily male, white, immoral and corrupt leaders to our nation’s highest offices. America’s Ku Klux Kongress will be with us for a long time.
Looking at the state of the United States at present, a key fact upon which virtually all Americans agree, regardless of political affiliation or philosophical views is, Congress is dysfunctional. The question becomes, “Why is the government of the United States of America, incapable of governing?” One may argue about the partisanship that has evolved over the past few decades and the rampant tribalism that currently characterizes our government as the problem. While true, it exists on both sides but, one issue is the fact that we have legislators and judges, that are elected well into their old-age or appointed for life (federal judges). The current Congress, on average, is one of the oldest in history. In Iowa, Senator Chuck Grassley has just announced he is running for re-election; Chuck is currently 88 years-old and he is not the oldest member of the Senate! What is it about American congresspersons, that makes them believe they should be in Congress for life? More importantly, why do the American people tolerate it? Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, have extremely old members in leadership, in both houses. Without citing the ages here, note there are several 70 and 80-plus year-olds in the Senate and the House, many obviously past their prime, physically, mentally and emotionally.
The system is constructed in such a way that the longer you are in Congress, the more power you amass. What we are observing now, is how these power-hungry sept and octogenarians are destroying the country, through inaction and policies that prioritize the rich in America in order to maintain their hold on power. You will note, there is no mention of political specific affiliation of these ancients, though there is clearly one party where the “Old Farts” in power are more egregious in their anti-American behavior than the other. Despite this fact, both parties are guilty of having members remaining too long in Congress to the detriment of the country.
One solution is the oft-debated notion of term limits for Congress and the judiciary. Unlikely, term limits being passed by Congress are the same as the likelihood of a fair system of taxation being implemented in the country (ain’t happenin’). The “Old Farts” are not going to relinquish their power voluntarily or force their true constituents (the richest 1%) to pay their fair share. Power must be wrested from their ‘cold dead hands,’ (literally). As noted by a famous activist, “Power concedes nothing without struggle.”
It is only when the country has deteriorated to a level much worse than its current state (if one can imagine), that the American people will demand meaningful change. It will have to get much worse than it is now (and it will) before such demands will be made of our government by the people. However, a good start will be for the American people to demand that, we get the “Old Farts,” that are destroying our country, out of government. #G.O.F.O.