Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Katie Couric this about her opinion of Colin Kaepernick’s protest:
“I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. It’s dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do. I wouldn’t lock up a person for doing it.”
It is very difficult to accept or believe that since Ginsburg is even aware of Kaepernick, she hadn’t heard of his recent explanation of his protest:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag that oppresses black people and people of color.”
“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
But even if she hadn’t heard, what Liberal judge would even think this way, especially after all this nation has gone through since videos of police killings of innocent Black men, women, and even children, became a fixture in our daily news? What does that say about the neoliberal establishment Supreme Court our Senate may soon install? In recent years, Justice Ginsburg has been hailed as the standard in liberal, feminist jurisprudence. Yet, Ginsburg just made statements that denote a penchant for the kind of authoritarianism that frowns upon a particular exercise of free speech. She is derisive of symbolic support for the struggle of an emergent movement for civil rights.
The use of authoritarian language such as “arrogant,” doesn’t befit a liberal. Calling a Black man dumb for the manner in which he chooses to express anger and despair over the way his own country treats its own, is racially-fraught. As citizens, we are supposed to pledge our allegiance to the flag. But what is a citizen to do when that allegiance isn’t reciprocated? Justice Ginsburg didn’t say. The language Ginsberg used is racially-insensitive. As one of this nation’s more learned citizens, Ginsberg should have known the racial connotations of calling a Black man arrogant in this context.
But the disappointment with Ginsberg takes on a whole new dimension and urgency as we learned of her revelation on the same day more leaked emails were published, in which more evidence of establishment Democrats’ opposition to the goals of Black Lives Matter. The New York Times reports:
“In January, Donna Brazile, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, passed on an email from Mr. Sanders’s African-American outreach team about how it was planning to host a Twitter-related event.”
The referenced Twitter-related event was a part of the Sanders campaign effort to gain support among young African Americans in the aftermath of the Netroots intervention by Black Lives Matter activists.
We learned in a previous leak, just two weeks ago, that former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, sent out an email ordering House Democrats not support the policy positions of Black Lives Matter. The Huffington Post reported:
““If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists,” the memo reads. “Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.”
“Listen to their concerns,” it continues. “Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions.”
The memo includes advice on what, exactly, to say to Black Lives Matter activists. It recommends avoiding phrases like “all lives matter” and warns not to bring up “black on black crime,” since the “response will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists.””
Over the weekend, The Intercept’s Zaid Jilani reported that during the primary, the Clinton campaign responded to Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein’s communications with campaign manager Robbie Mook, urging the campaign to take a particular tack in response to Senator Sanders and Black Lives Matter:
“HACKED EMAILS SHOW that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a longtime ally of Hillary Clinton and a major fundraiser for her 2016 campaign, urged her campaign team to silence rival Bernie Sanders’s message against police shootings of African-Americans. He suggested countering it with “the Sandy Hook issue” — a reference to Sanders’s opposition to lawsuits against gun manufacturers.”
Hillary Clinton did begin to use the Sandy Hook tack in Democratic debates starting in March:
Was this as a result of Harvey Weinstein’s influence? We may never find out.
The polarization of our nation’s politics has moved both parties’ establishments to the right. The Notorious RBG, in recent years, has been presented as the liberal gold standard in jurisprudence. At a time when the new movement for civil rights rises in opposition to the police and carceral state, we come to find that this gold standard has the same finish white feminism has always had: it becomes dull when it comes to applying justice to minorities.
At a time of deep crisis of leadership in America, this is particularly disheartening as it is becoming more evident, with each leak of hacked emails and statements such as Ginsburg’s that Liberalism isn’t necessarily aligned with social justice. Even before the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party can claim full victory, it is clear that absent a concerted effort to make elected officials accountable both before as well as after the November election, the single biggest consequences of the failure of Senator Sanders’ political revolution will translate into a neoliberal Supreme Court that does not reflect what seemed to be the culmination of this past year of activism during the Democratic primary and its resultant platforms for racial justice. With the progressive movement largely cut out, we may well end up with new justices who agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
What George Monbiot writes about the UK’s own experience with neoliberalism, though in an economic context, applies to the U.S., as well:
“What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.”
I would submit that though enough of a coherent and genuine alternative socio-economic model was offered in Senator Bernie Sanders’ platform, his movement was crushed by the powerful forces colluding against it, both from within the Democratic party and the mainstream media. This election from hell has this nation on a conductor-less freight train that is moving backwards and gaining speed.