I hate to be a downer here, but the attack on our justice system is a five-alarm fire, and I think some people need reminding that not everything can be fixed with the next swing of the political pendulum.
Relevant reading: This Mother Jones article, “How Donald Trump is Remaking the Courts in His Own Image” (which I actually discovered after I had written most of this cartoon, but it makes a perfect companion piece).
Also: this piece on the the court-packing scheme currently being floated by the founder and board chair of the Federalist Society, which guides Trump’s radical judicial picks. They aren’t shy about stating their objective: “undoing the judicial legacy of President Barack Obama.”
What can we do? I don’t think we give up hope, but we need a better understanding of presidential elections. We get so bogged down in the petty details of individual personalities, when we’re really voting for a vast sea of public servants, with massive consequences that extend far into the future. (For the record, I’ve been making this point since before 2016.)
Also, the judiciary exists as a vague abstraction for most people — even the word “judiciary” is dry — so the theft of the courts doesn’t exactly burn up social media as much as, say, a story about a powerful media figure whipping out his johnson in professional settings. Not that that’s not important! But like taxes, the law lacks interesting visuals, so we tend to dismiss it as “boring.” I tried to bring it down to earth here a bit with the Trump heads.
The mass arrests at the Trump inauguration protests (and at other protests around the country) are a breathtaking abuse of power that should leave every American appalled, no matter what their political leanings.
For more on the latest efforts to criminalize protest, read this op-ed column by a woman who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and has spent the last year fighting felony charges. This is also chilling. Did I mention the police were doing body cavity searches that left a photojournalist feeling as though he’d been raped?
I still remember being horrified by the indiscriminate roundups at the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, when hundreds of people were trapped and unlawfully detained by the NYPD. A decade later, the city settled a lawsuit for $18 million.
The “us vs. them” clash-of-civilizations worldview of Steve Bannon and other nationalist types has more in common with the ISIS worldview than with American pluralism. It’s remarkable how extremists mirror each other.
If you missed this op-ed piece written by NFL player Eric Reid, it’s worth checking out. The kneel was chosen as a respectful gesture, like a flag at half mast. Our government has literally been taken over by Nazi sympathizers, yet many people are furious at football players protesting racism.