The truth is that America so often is a terrible country. It is inhumane, as the following stories illustrate.
The first is about a Florida woman who fired a bullet into the wall of her living room in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her.
No one was hurt. She had never been arrested before. Yet a judge in Jacksonville, Fla., by law had to sentence her to 20 years in prison after a jury convicted her of “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.” (Doubtless the jury found her guilty of being black.)
Where is the outrage at such a draconian sentence? Does nothing ever disturb the notion that America was, is and always will be the greatest nation in the world?
Cretinish Florida politicians — elected by the people — passed the law. It was typical of the mandates by boobus Americanus flooding statehouses.
In the second news item, a judge wrote a moving article in the New York Times. The judge, Gustin Reichbach of New York state, is suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Chemotherapy, radiation, multiple drugs and surgery — all made his life hell. Nausea and pain constantly afflicted him. Eating and sleeping were difficult.
Just one thing helped him eat and sleep: smoking marijuana.
But his dilemma is obvious. Smoking pot is prohibited in New York, and as a judge he has sworn to uphold the law.
So in the article he urged legalization of medical marijuana, rightly declaring criminalization barbaric.
“This is not a law-and-order issue,” he wrote. “It is a medical and human rights issue. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.”
But it is not in supposedly enlightened New York.
The third story comes out of North Carolina. The state has the liberal Golden Triangle, first-rate universities in Durham (Duke), Chapel Hill (North Carolina) and Raleigh (North Carolina State).
But the rest of the state is retarded. North Carolina recently voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage. Just one Fortune 500 firm based in the state supported gay marriage.
That firm, Replacements Limited in Greensboro, paid the price for going against the grain. Letters and emails poured in from customers canceling their business.
The firm, which sells glassware, china and silver, spent $250,000 renting billboards to boost gay marriage, sold T-shirts with gay slogans and contributed money to gay-marriage causes.
Bob Page, company owner, speaks sadly of the outpouring of hatred.
“I know we have lost business,” Page says, “but my life is not about money.”
It’s about his companion, Dale Frederiksen, their adopted Vietnamese twin sons and their happy family life.
No matter. Some bigots suggest that the gay couple adopted children so they could molest them.
Courage is costly in North Carolina and bias still reigns in the South.
Blue turns red
Once solidly blue states like Wisconsin are becoming red. The recall election victory of Gov. Scott Walker proves it.
His triumph Tuesday also holds grave portents for a still further erosion of the social contract throughout the country.
Wisconsin voters ratified Walker’s right-wing agenda: destroying unions, slashing public sector wages and benefits and shredding the social safety net.
He demanded that public-sector workers be shorn of collective bargaining rights. He hacked billions from budgets for public schools and higher education.
He alienated Latinos by abolishing in-state tuition for immigrants and supporting restrictive voter ID laws.
He targeted health care, poverty programs and programs to aid children. He signed a law banning abortion coverage in health care exchanges.
He backs privatization of cleaning and food workers. He favors right-to-work laws to further inhibit unions.
Monica Davey, New York Times reporter, described Walker as “uncompromising, polarizing, headline-grabbing and austere.” His strategy: divide and conquer.
Walker’s campaign outspent his Democratic rival $31 million to $4 million. Fourteen billionaires made contributions to Walker’s, campaign, all but one from outside Wisconsin. Diane Hendricks wrote a $500,000 check to support Walker.
The Republican governor is fulfilling his vow to a billionaire contributor: he will make Wisconsin “a completely red state.”
Walker won the ideological war in Wisconsin. He now takes the fight nationally as the new darling of reaction.
Mitt Romney, certain GOP nominee, calls Walker a hero and role model. It sounds as if Romney wants Walker as a running mate.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.