Thirty years ago, on December 26, 1991, the headline of the New York Times read: “Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Resigns; U.S. Recognizes Republics’ Independence.” On December 25, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned, marking the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR.
Here's my Christmas letter to Chief Justice Roberts and a similar one to Justice Sotomayor. Enjoy!
The Honorable Chief Justice John G. Roberts
The Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20543
Dear Chief Justice Roberts,
On this Christmas Day 2021, I feel the most important thing I can do is write to you and Justice Sotomayor on my concerns with the loss of democracy in many states and the United States Supreme Court's role in dismantling our republican form of government. Texas, the state I live in, is now an autocracy under minority rule and is blatantly and with audacity taking away my Constitutional rights.
First, I'd like to commend you for your courage and fortitude in speaking up on the Solemn Mockery now hanging over the Supreme Court. I also commend Justice Sotomayor for her statement on the stench permeating the current state of the Supreme Court.
Three points I'd like to call to your attention:
1. Rulings of the ilk of Citizens United which says money is free speech and corporations have the same rights as people are basically legalized bribery of elected representatives. Ninety-five percent of the time they now vote with their donors ignoring the wishes of the People which has made the United States into an oligarchic kleptocracy, no longer a democratic republic.
2. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 stating that pre-clearance was no longer needed has led to extreme partisan discriminatory gerrymandering and voter suppression to assure the minority rulers stay in power assuring autocratic rule for decades to come.
3. The recent rulings by the Supreme Court on the Texas anti-abortion vigilante injustice law seem to be based on anticipating the overturn of the Roe v. Wade precedence and totally ignoring the existing Constitutional Rights of women. In my opinion, that means the Supreme Court is in Contempt of the Constitution.
While I'm not a lawyer, I am a concerned citizen who carries a copy of the U.S. Constitution with me at all times and refers to it frequently. I'm finding so many of the questions and arguments being made in recent hearings fallacious.
1. I want to hear the answers to Justice Sotomayor's fine and relevant questions about why the rights of a potential person, a fetus, is given total priority over the rights of an existing person, the pregnant woman, no matter what the risk is to her. No exceptions. My sister was a Type 1 diabetic and giving birth put her life in a precarious situation. She chose to have two sons but at great risk to her life and the life of the babies. Saying she has no choice and the government decides in a situation like this is simply cruel and inhumane. Justice Barrett's contention that is no problem to carry a fetus to term and then you can just throw away your parental responsibility by dumping the baby at the nearest fire station makes me sick. For me, Roe v. Wade strikes a fair and just balance protecting both the woman and the developing fetus.
2. I bristle when Justice Gorsuch points out the word "abortion" isn't in the Constitution and therefore the Supreme Court should just be silent about abortion. Neither is the word "woman"! So that means women have no rights under the Constitution at all?
The Guarantee Cause seems to me the relevant clause here -- that a Republican form of government (by the People or their freely elected representatives) is guaranteed in every state by the United States Constitution.
3. I bristle at the vigilante injustice Texas is invoking to get around the Constitution. That means the rich bounty hunters get to bankrupt people who can't afford to defend themselves whether they are innocent or not. This isn't Justice; it's anarchy. All rights are now at risk across the United States.
4. I believe that two of the last three Justices joining the Court are illegitimate because of then Majority Leader McConnell's contempt of the Constitution and due process and the third is unqualified. Justice Gorsuch and Justice Barrett should not be on the Court after those shenanigans. Justice Kavanaugh would have had his nomination pulled if he had been a woman blubbering in the hearings like he did. I also feel, Justice Thomas and Justice Kavanaugh should be recused from any ruling on women's rights even if justice has not yet been served on the credible claims of sexual harassment.
In conclusion, I find the Supreme Court of the United States in Contempt of the Constitution of the United States for being an anti-democratic, anti -republican force leading toward the imminent demise of the experiment with democracy. I keep thinking about women scorned and how the country will erupt when the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
That's the legacy of the current Supreme Court - your legacy! I so hope you can turn it around to the Supreme Court who saves our American democratic republic. In addition, it may be notorious for being the first Court to take away rights rather than expand them.
Please stay strong and use a lot of air freshener! I admire you greatly.
Respectfully but emphatically,
We, the People, all of us this time!
In Texas, where a virus has reproductive rights and a woman doesn't!
White supremacists, Movement Conservatives, oligarchs, fascists, trumpist Republicans have all utilized othering to exploit the divisions in service of their rise to power. We do well to heed the wisdom of recently passed Desmond Tutu:
"When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”
And for our work ahead, says Tutu:
"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
This is a MasterClass in How we got here. I wish I could see it broadcast on every station in every channel around the world for the next 24 hours.
Biden is making a lot of powerful people uncomfortable...it’s so overdue and under appreciated.
Thanks, Dr. Richardson.
Gorbachev said Friday that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, "They grew arrogant and self-confident. They declared victory in the Cold War."
He wasn't parroting Putin when he said that. Many Russians involved in the Cold War have made that observation since it ended.
Georgi Arbatov, the USSR's leading "Americanist" and a face of the USSR on American TV in the 80s because he was fluent in English, observed on December 26, 1991: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you. We are going to deprive you of an enemy.” He went on to say: “It’s historical, it’s human, you have to have an enemy. So much was built out of this role of the enemy. Your foreign policy, quite a bit of your economy, even your feelings about your country. To have a really good empire, you have to have a really evil empire. I cannot imagine that we will play this game again, and without us you cannot play it either.”
"Winning" the Cold War is a major reason why we are falling apart now. It's something I'm going to write about tomorrow at TAFM.
Sallust, the first major historian of the Roman Republic, witnessed the Republic’s collapse into civil war. He said that the reason for internal discord was that Rome had defeated its adversary Carthage. As long as Hannibal and his elephants stalked the Italian peninsula, Roman citizens put their differences aside. But after Rome destroyed Carthage in 146 BCE, Romans turned on each other. “When the minds of the people were relieved of that dread, wantonness and arrogance naturally arose.” As a result, “the peace for which they had longed in time of adversity, after they had gained it proved to be more cruel and bitter than adversity itself. The community was split into two parties, and between these the state was torn to pieces.”
Macchiavelli observed in "The Prince": “The cause of the disunion of republics is usually idleness and peace. The cause of union is fear and war.”
“Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Resigns; U.S. Recognizes Republics’ Independence.”
Yes, the real tragedy of the narrative of the 1980's is that Reagan "won" the cold war.
Nothing, I mean, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Gorbachev, having watched his country drift ever further into poverty and having watched in horror as the Soviet Chernobyl nuclear facility turned thousands of acres of land into radioactive waste, killed an entire town, while a cloud of radioactivity threatened the world, DECIDED the cold war was over.
Reagan just happened to be President when a truly great man came into power in the Soviet Union. Gorbachev.
Subsequently, Republicans have always referred to Reagan's irresponsible and gross military spending as the reason for the end of the cold war.
That is a lie told for more mind control of the masses.
Reagan's military spending, in particular the $1 Trillion dollar (1987 dollars) "Star Wars" spending, produced nothing that helped end the cold war, in fact, produced nothing at all.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was and remains one of the greatest men of all time.
Reagan, like many of the managers I have worked with, just took credit when something good happened that he had nothing at all to do with and did not even see coming.
Standard operating procedure in Reagan's culture.
HCR has brilliantly stitched together a thread cementing the 1990s “Movement Conservatives” to the present day Republican Party, both of which have subscribed to an alternate reality and to tribal inclinations wholly rooted in greed and an unrestrained will to power. Though hardly unexpected, I, nonetheless, was struck by how, both then and now, the Party has persisted in employing the same fear tactics of accusing its adversaries of “bringing ‘socialism’ to America.”
Regrettably, unlike several of our European counterparts which, for decades, have appeared duly able to differentiate between some version of “Democratic Socialism” that merely calls for a more equitable distribution of a Nation’s wealth and “Socialism” that advocates for government control and ownership of the means of production, Americans largely are susceptible to Republicans conflating the two to serve their own interests. I would hope no one would consider it hyperbolic to identify HCR’s post-Christmas history lesson as an urgent plea to unwitting fellow citizens to revisit the likes of the prescient James Madison, who foresaw that “a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”
As a young adult, I experienced the deregulation that Reagan brought us, paying a whopping 13% interest on my first mortgage. As a retired school principal, now working part-time as a banker, I have been watching the new laws regarding money laundering with great interest. This might be a game changer. If successful in rounding up those “contributors” to illegal accounts, this could be Biden’s legacy for our country.
Did anybody else see Kathryn Grody call out HCR as someone everyone should be listening to, when she was on Jonathan Capehart this morning, and her husband Mandy Patinkin nodding a vigorous "yes"??
In healthcare & elsewhere big problems have their root in systems issues. You show us that so clearly and eloquently in your essay today. POTUS Biden seems to recognize this as well. The usual reporting of the President’s focus on corruption hasn’t really effectively reported /analyzed the ‘why’ the anticorruption executive action is needed and the ‘how’ it will be accomplished. But you have. Thank you for helping me be a bit less ignorant.
I hope that I am not the only person to realize that describing a political opponent as the enemy in speeches and the press undermines our democracy. The OPPONENT is not the enemy but an adversary. The opponent labeled an enemy feeds the division in our country.
I hope the good people of our country would help correct this narrative.
Heather please help send this message using your pros.
Thanks so much for connecting the dots once again. How these deep pockets of laundered money affect public policy and put a blight on democracy is a story we do not read about even in our respectable press. But what's really encouraging is that the eternally underestimated Joe Biden is on to it and trying to do something about it. Add yet another accomplishment of this administration that deserves far greater recognition.
Thank goodness for you, Heather, for your knowledge and insights! The connections you have made tonight make so much sense to someone like me who can still recall the demise of the USSR. Mind you, not having the power of memory -- such as in the case of Cawthorn's youth -- cannot, nay, must not serve as a pretext for throwing our country into disarray and to the brink of de-democratisation.
Your voice and the power of your pen allow us to see truths and links as we work our way through living history. Thank you for this privilege!
Without a common foe to unite us, we have turned on one another. Even threats like climate change and Covid aren’t enough to bring us together.
We are at a very vulnerable place right now, under the ether of a roaring stock market. But look under the sheets, and there’s a very sick America. Income inequality has created a burgeoning underclass, public health and education are woefully underfunded. The wealthy have seized the opportunity to tilt the political tables to ensure they can control our democracy from a minority position.
Dr. Richardson, when I read your book, “How the South Won the Civil War”, you opened my eyes to what we see playing out today. Did you have any idea that it would happen so quickly?
How did we get the Corporate Transparency Act under Trump? Pelosi is brilliant, it had to be Pelosi, right...?
And I remember that Trump vetoed it but congress overrode the veto. Hehehe. 🙂
This strikes me as a brilliant analysis, just as it does other readers. The hubris of the winner is a constant theme in history. We did not handle the fall of the wall very well. The increasing arrogance of American political attitudes has been demoralizing to endure. The correction the Biden administration has tried to effect with considerable success has been nothing short of miraculous considering the tenor of congressional debate and news ops. There is a lot of room for hope.