When Words Fail Me

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Any responsible citizen keeps track of the news. No American can honestly claim ignorance about matters of utmost national importance, like a white supremacist domestic terrorist plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, or the invitation to a domestic terrorist group to “stand back, and stand by” . . . or the lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anyone who can’t — or won’t — answer the question whether it is legal to interfere with and intimidate citizens’ Constitutional right to vote; anyone who can’t, or won’t, say unequivocally that the Constitution does not grant a president the authority or power to prevent the peaceful transfer of power; anyone who claims not to know President Trump’s frequently declared three-fold litmus test for filling the vacant seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings to mind the wisdom of Albert Einstein, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, and St. Augustine.

The lie was raised to the dignity of a political instrument.

Albert Einstein

Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr,

All sin is a kind of lying.

attributed to Saint Augustine

If only they could hear us now!

Pontius Pilate with his Prisoner - Antonio Ciseri

“What is truth?”

Pontius Pilate

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, October 14, 2020.

“Love your neighbor” NOT unconstitutional

Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia sent this email regarding the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act.

The Supremes have decided:

“Love your neighbor as your self”

is NOT unconstitutional. 

Mazeltov to them and to all of us that, when push came to shove, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court mostly reaffirmed the notion that fellow-human beings and fellow-citizens owe loving-kindness to each other.

That we owe each other food when we are hungry, a place to live when some bank takes our home away,  money to tide us over when some boss or some bank  takes away our job.  And health care when we are sick.

That notion is rooted, thanks be to God, in our ancient religious traditions.  But over and over, it’s up for grabs.

And I do mean “grabs” –-  grabs of the merely wealthy to be super-wealthy, grabs of the super-wealthy to invest hundreds of millions in campaign ads and lobbying,  to grab still more power…

Even this decision treated some neighbors as not quite worthy of the same respect and loving care as others. This one gave the states a way out of their Medicaid obligations  — to the very very poor. No surprise. If somebody’s gonna be left out, who else?

It’s also true that this Supreme Court has done some terrible damage — that ironically misnamed decision “Citizens United,” worst of all.  And yet I’m tickled that this time Chief Justice Roberts did what his appointer, President “W,”  would not have wanted. The history of Justices whose lives turn out to have a tiny taste of freedom tucked away —  it’s delicious.

So there is still more work to do.  In the New Declaration of Independence from Corporate Domination we sent yesterday in honor of July 4, we mention Medicare for All.  That’s still the fully decent answer.

But for now, take a deep breath, grab your sweethearts and dance a dance of joy.

In the Passover Seder, there is a really strange song. It says, “If we had reached the Red Sea but it had not split, Dayenu! – good enough! If we had reached Sinai but there had been no Revelation, Dayenu! – good enough!”

At one level, this makes no sense. At another, it makes EVERY sense. If we want to transform the world, then we must celebrate each step on the journey, even if it’s only half a step. We know there must be another step; the song has many verses. But if we refuse to celebrate, we will burn out before we can take another step.

Today, right now, rejoice. Tonight, tomorrow, on the FOURTH itself, begin to plan the steps we still must take.

Enjoy the fireworks. They are celebrating one small step of Independence from the Corporate King George.

And — fly the Flag of Freedom. It’s right here.

Blessings of justice and joy —  Arthur