Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What We Do

A reassuring aspect of the death of our self-proclaimed punditry is the rise of our internet voice. Something that Chicago Dyke and I celebrated over the Bliss days in Michigan was the new world of reality based bloggers that's been born. There couldn't have been this promising administration without it, plus, we wouldn't have the spirited growth of us libruls except for our rousing community.

For those who aren't familiar with it, the Blissfest that I've just come back from is a music and camping event near Levering, Michigan - and is a healthy trek from everywhere. For us in the extreme south, it was planned from about February on that we wanted to get out of town to escape the heat, as well as have the fine time we always enjoy when we get together. While we talk online just about daily, not everyone has gotten the great treat of meeting up - so we do that when we can.

While it's an intellectual boost to talk with our reality-based group, it's also very good to know that we have a strength to counter the wingnuts that are so threatened by that reality. It shows up in the hearings on Justice-to-be Sotomayor's hearings. Today's ranting from the right grows ever more desperate, and more radical. We need to be the voice of reason, because the right is still fighting to beat down the country's decency.

The sound and the fury at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings signify almost nothing. Yet they still tell us almost everything we need to know about race and politics in the age of Obama. No matter how much drama Senate Republicans wish to concoct, it is practically a foregone conclusion that Sotomayor will win confirmation and thus become the first Supreme Court justice of Hispanic heritage, and only the third woman to serve on the nation's highest court. So as a matter of Supreme Court politics, the incendiary arguments of Sotomayor's Republican opponents amount to gruel spooned out to the party's base, shrunken and demoralized after repeated electoral losses and scandals. Unless Sotomayor suffers a "complete meltdown," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted, she will be confirmed. The price, though, is barely coded race baiting that has been part of the assault on Sotomayor since her nomination was announced. And it dominates the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. The opening statement by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the panel -- whose own bid for a federal judgeship in the 1980s was turned down because of his track record against African-American voting rights -- was a masterwork of this ancient art.

The senator pre-emptively declared that he would not vote for a judge who uses the "empathy standard" in deciding cases -- a reference to the sensitivity toward average people that President Obama said he looked for in nominees, and which has been transformed by the political right into code for favoring blacks or other ethnic minorities over whites. Sessions seemed to predict nothing short of the collapse of American law as we know it if Sotomayor is confirmed: "Down one path is the traditional American legal system, so admired around the world, where judges impartially apply the law to the facts without regard to their own personal views," Sessions declared. "This is the compassionate system because it is the fair system." Undeterred by his gross historical error -- had every court in American history applied the law in this manner, schools would still be legally segregated, a woman's right to earn a living and obtain credit would still be denied, and so on -- Sessions went on to attack even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In an unusual broadside against a sitting justice, he accused Ginsburg of being "one of the most activist judges in history" even though a glancing look at her record shows she has been part of an almost powerless, left-of-center bloc on the court that included three men, two of them appointed by Republican presidents.

The need to overthrow rational thought and behavior typifies the right ever more definitively, an overthrow we're needed to fend off. We need to be here. Thanks to all of you who are here for me, and for all reality-based bloggers.

If you can do it, I hope you will get together. And if I can be there, I would like to be. We're growing and we're putting the world back together.

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Blogger AnnPW said...

I'm in for the long haul, that's for sure! Sadly, though, we're losing one of the good ones: Hilzoy announced today that she is retiring from blogging. I'll really miss her posts.

I'd love to meet you one day, Ruth. If you're ever in the San Antonio/Austin area, give me a little advance notice and maybe we could work something out.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Funny you should ask! I'm going to the ACLU August 1 annual meeting, will stay with WarOnWarOff while there. Wanna go?

11:27 AM  
Blogger AnnPW said...

Will that be in Austin? Either way, I'm certain we can work something out. Can you email me?

11:32 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Yes, done.

5:24 AM  

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