On this day when the two candidates to be our next president reveal so much about the men they are, Sue’s piece has a particular resonance. It’s not that we didn’t already know, but the difference between Vice President Biden’s humanity and heart when he paid his respects to John Lewis and Trump’s not even making a pro forma trip to the Rotunda, puts that contrast into stark relief.
And justice for all
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
Haven’t done any writing in weeks. In that time, the Covid-19 virus has spread rapidly across the USA and the number of deaths continues to grow in places as different as Los Angeles and tiny towns in Georgia. The ability of each area to cope with it varies as well. Hospitals are flooded with patients, but still lack adequate equipment to treat the ill and keep the staff safe. My anxiety and fear have risen in response. Trump has, finally, recommended a mask for all—as though he just heard that it might help. Though I think we all know it is because the polls show him trailing Biden.
But what has really amped my anxiety, anger and disgust is that in this moment, which for most Americans has been filled with self-examination following George Floyd’s murder, and a deep desire to make equal justice for all a priority, this heartless President has sent federal troops into our cities (I should say Democratic-led cities) to quash peaceful protests. He says it is to protect the federal buildings, but, in actuality, it is to goad the peaceful protestors and eviscerate the First Amendment.
Common decency and respect for humanity do not emanate from this President. His actions have exacerbated the situation. The violence has increased. Mothers and vets have stood between the protestors and the feds to try to quell the senseless tear gassing, clubbing and rubber bullets. Yes, there has been some violence and damage from a small number of people, and they need to be held accountable, but the vast majority have been peacefully calling for social justice and will not be dissuaded by a few guns and Trump. There has been a sea change. One cannot stop the tsunami of justice.
Sports teams are speaking out, kneeling and asking for right action. The comics in the newspaper are showing their support. Corporate America is making an effort. All of it is way late and a dollar short, as my mom would have said, but it is, at least, the right direction. In the sixties, I thought that the civil rights legislation would right the wrongs that should have occurred in response to the Emancipation Proclamation. Saying the right thing and doing the right thing are not the same. As a country, we have too often taken two steps forward and one back. Trump’s presidency has put us in reverse on civil rights, on health care, on the environment, and on trade.
I will continue to do whatever is necessary toward the fulfillment of our Constitution’s promise of freedom of speech and justice for all. It is my fervent prayer that those who share my anguish will vote in November and that they in turn will encourage everyone they know to vote to bring change to our country.