TRUMP AND SCALIA: MEETING ON COMMON GROUNDS
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT A BLOWHARD CANDIDATE AND A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WHEN THEY SEEM TO SHARE A COMMON PHILOSOPHY?
Well all righty then. Aren’t we all having a blast? It’s been a rather astounding week hasn’t it? First we had The Donald entertaining us with his proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the country until “we figure out what’s going on,” a rather startling pronouncement that essentially shreds virtually every American tradition, value and virtue we ever held sacred, and then yesterday we had that paragon of liberalism, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, telling us that Black folks simply aren’t prepared for higher education at the University of Texas. Not that they are too stupid for Yale, Princeton, Harvard or even Cal Poly, mind you, but the University of Texas no less. Oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas were heard earlier this week. But it’s not the first time Abigail Fisher has filed suit against UT nor the first time that the case’s financial backer, Edward Blum, has sued the university. Apparently Mr. Blum has a massive hard on when it comes to affirmative action. Or maybe it’s just UT.
Here’s what conservative Justice Scalia had to say about affirmative action in the hearing oral arguments in the Fisher case:
“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they're being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”
Now one could characterize Scalia’s comment as racist, which it is, or as simply a comment that doesn’t comport with reality, leaving me to wonder just how far removed Scalia is from the reality that is daily life in the United States of America. Scalia might have forgotten that Dr. Ben Carson, until very recently second only to uber-patriot Donald Trump in the Republican race for the Presidency, actually attended both Yale University and the University of Michigan. (So much for Scalia’s “they” don’t come from schools like the University of Texas as if UT is some sort of pinnacle of higher educational attainment.) I don’t mean to dis the University of Texas but it’s not Yale, Harvard, Princeton or even Brown University. Damn, what a blatantly ignorant comment by someone we assume is a learned, rational and considered Supreme Court Justice.
The problem I have with both Trump’s and Scalia’s dumb-ass commentary, is that it’s embarrassing. I keep thinking, “What the hell do European countries think of us – to say nothing of other nations around the globe - with all this bigoted rhetoric bouncing around in the atmosphere in what used to be the America I grew up in?” Sure, I cut my young teeth on street protests in the 1960’s and 1970’s against the War in Vietnam, demonstrating for the Civil Rights Movement, for the Environmental Movement and for Women’s Rights so I am genetically predisposed, I suppose, to the liberal side of whatever political equation you might want to cite. But I have to ask, what the fuck was Scalia thinking with his narrow-minded foray into the realm of ignorant and bigoted rhetoric in the Fisher case? Scalia, a Ronald Reagan appointee to the Supreme Court, is an avowed conservative and his votes on case after case have only cemented his rock solid ultra conservatism at the Supreme Court but there is something very wrong about his take on why Black Americans should stick to lesser schools.
Me? I say this is all abject Bullshit.
It’s no mystery that the right wing media –
Fox News, Brietbart, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, The New York Post – have both demonized liberal politics and lent a dark patina to liberalism over the past three decades, with absolutely no pushback from what one would think was the liberal media. In reality, the so-called liberal media has remained basically silent in the face of the onslaught of conservative propaganda and misinformation. Tell me, can you recall a single liberal media outlet that vigorously countered the “Obama is not an American” or “Obama is a secret Muslim” or “Obama is the most criminal President in American history” all of which are still standard memes on conservative media. No, you haven’t. And until the past few months there have been no outpourings - as weak as they might be - to discredit the commonplace right wing memes regarding Obama.
Look, there’s no great mystery about how it is that an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court could so malign Black people and twist the goals of affirmative action or that The Donald could proclaim that Muslim’s need to be subjected to distinctly un-American scrutiny and rounded up and sent to Nazi death camps, (or whatever he said.) But what I find so egregious is the wholesale departure from the fundamental precepts of what I thought America stood for. Look, I am a liberal, I believe in the fundamental precepts of liberalism so I cannot countenance Scalia’s take on affirmative action much less Trump’s populist bigotry. To me, these remarks are simply beyond the pale of intelligent thought and reasoned consideration and reveal a profound real world ignorance.
Sure, Trump is a politician and one must take this into account when parsing the nonsense he mouths. But a Supreme Court Justice? Come on. That’s just waaaay too much. Yes, we have made progress on race and yes, things are a hell of a lot better for Black folk than they used to be. But travel around the country and you will discover that discrimination is alive and well, even flourishing in some parts of America.
Just ask Donald Trump. Or his supporters.