Steve Sack gets the lead-off today because he nailed the target amid a forest of lukewarm rainbows.
It’s all well and good to draw a rainbow flag or show the Supreme Court building or the nation or whatever swathed in rainbows, but Sack makes two critical points:
First, by using Justice hugging that rainbow flag, he emphasizes the 6-3 count of the decision and the fact that it was a decision, not simply a confirmation.
Second, by riffing on Dear Leader’s goofy, infatuated flag-hugging smile, Sack emphasizes the fact that the Court’s decision flies in the face of Trump’s kissing up to the forces of intolerance.
This is a major cause of hope for the LGBT community, but it should be a good sign for everyone, because, beyond that particular cause, it shows an independence of spirit on the Court that suggests perhaps Balance of Powers is not yet dead.
For a deeper analysis of the decision, check out SCOTUSblog, where Tennessee’s chief deputy attorney general notes that the Justices relied on examining the language of the law itself:
Open the code, read the statute, rule. Absent linguistic ambiguity or evidence that the meaning of terms in the statute have changed over time, statutory interpretation is purely a matter of parsing the statute and analyzing its semantics and grammar. Where statutory interpretation is concerned … a judge should effectively set aside his or her law school education and retreat to the lessons of high school English class.
In an age of warring values, it’s nice to see someone putting their own views aside and simply examining the facts.
Facts being, as Matt Wuerker notes in this cartoon and the short, incisive National Press Club interview that goes with it, too often absent from the debate these days.
Wuerker calls for tolerance of opposing viewpoints and decries “Twitter mobs out to hunt down the heretics and burn them at the stake,” longing for a time when we could debate across ideological lines.
A type of debate that forms this
Juxtaposition of the Day
At the core of the Twitter mobs is a kind of iconoclastic fad, and I use “iconoclastic” in its pure historic context, that of smashing statues and images.
Both cartoons raise the issue of who possesses the moral purity to cast the first stone, but Jesus must have been preaching to a particularly self-aware mob, because, in today’s atmosphere, an invitation for the sinless to cast the first stone would result in a hailstorm.
My knowledge of Philadelphia is a little sketchy and my first response to Wilkinson’s cartoon was to wonder what in the hell the Vikings had done to merit being torn down.
Turns out the statue had become a gathering spot for white supremacists, which is incredibly stupid, but so are they. Fair enough.
And I only learned a few days ago, when it was torn down, that Philly had erected a statue of Frank Rizzo, who made Mayor Daley look like Fred Rogers, and my other surprise was learning that he was actually out of office when the MOVE building was bombed, because I always assumed he gave the order.
But Columbus, as noted the other day, I get, which leaves us with William Penn, who, it turns out, did own slaves. Or enslaved people. Whoever.
As this piece suggests, it’s a complicated story, particularly since Quakers were at the forefront of the abolition movement. But, obviously, not all of them.
And it gets more complicated as you ponder the connection between enslaved people and indentured people, which some white supremacy jackasses tried to exploit a few years ago.
But, while indentured servants were frequently ill-treated, there’s no comparison between paying for your passage by agreeing to spending a few years as an exploited worker and being kidnapped and sold into permanent, chattal servitude.
However, while we use careful language to describe the victims of the peculiar institution, we don’t seem to feel any need to be careful in describing those at the other end of the chain.
Dividing everyone into Black Hats and White Hats may have been a good technique for distinguishing them in the days of muddy cinema but — racial color implications aside — real people in the real past were very rarely all evil or all good.
Lincoln didn’t really say “If you look for the evil in mankind, you will surely find it,” but he said other things that sometimes conflicted with each other because he was a real person, not just a statue.
Ditto with TR, ditto with Washington, ditto with Jefferson, and if you’re going to judge them only by their worst moments rather than in context, bear in mind that there are people currently judging George Floyd the same way.
It’s a slope as slippery as the ramps at West Point.
And it means that you can never sing “Amazing Grace” again because its composer, John Newton, was a slave trader. It’s true, he changed his position on the topic, but we don’t recognize context or change in this lynch mob.
I’m kidding about “Amazing Grace” but chocolate is a much more fraught issue, as this Antonio Rodriguez cartoon, drawn in support of World Day Against Child Labor, suggests. Most chocolate comes from places that exploit child labor.
The role of children in the coffee industry was also attacked by some of the cartoonists, and not all “Fair Trade” coffee is truly fair, but there are traders who work directly with the growers and monitor their practices from a human rights perspective.
Again, you need to do some research.
This coffee guy even sources chocolate that doesn’t come from exploitive child labor, but that’s a small percentage of the world supply.
In other words, you can’t just grab a candy bar at the grocery store and still call yourself righteous.
Look: Nobody’s perfect. Not your opponents and not you.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop caring.
Just try to do it without stones in your hands.