What a week!
It’s not often that we get to be observers of the best and worst of humanity all within a seven day time frame, but, we surely did this week. I haven’t written much about anything that happened this week because I’ve mostly been in stunned disbelief (both good and bad), and just couldn’t piece words together in a way that I thought would do justice to any of it. I’m going to try here, though. Don’t expect anything especially profound because, frankly, I’m at a loss. Anyway, as with last week’s smashup, this post has a little bit of everything, so, just find something in it that interests you and read away!
UN-equal Justice Under Law
On Monday, millions of people were shocked to learn that the FBI would not be recommending charges against former Secretary of State and presumptive Democrat Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. I don’t really know why anyone was shocked because it came as absolutely no surprise to me. I’ve been cautioning people for months now against getting their hopes up of seeing Secretary Clinton frog-marched out of her house in handcuffs and leg irons. It was never going to happen, regardless what the FBI found. Well, maybe if they found video of her handing over the plans to our air defense systems it would have happened, but even then I’m not sure. It did not happen, and I was not surprised.
I’m not going to go into any specifics about her case because, in her words, “at this point, what difference does it make?” What I will comment on is the fact that what we have suspected for many years has now been confirmed. There are separate justice systems for the powerful elite, and for the rest of us. If I were caught with state secrets on my private email server, whether or not any intent could be found would not even be a discussion. The discussion would not be whether or to prosecute me, but it would instead be whether or not to bother with a trial, or just go ahead and place me under the jail. That is my real beef with FBI Director Comey’s decision.
Did Hillary Clinton break the law? Probably. If they had decided to prosecute her, would a jury have ever found her guilty? I doubt it. Why? Because she is in the class of people who are, whether we like it or not, “too big to fail.” (That is not a commentary on her backside.) She is part of the elite in this country who believe, with good reason, that laws simply don’t apply to them. Why do I say with good reason? Well…because it’s true. Laws don’t apply to the elite in this country. That is unfortunate and dangerous. When we have separate justice systems for different classes of people, then we pervert the very foundation upon which our nation was built.
Who is to blame? We have only ourselves to blame for this. When we continually elect the same people to serve as our representatives in government, people who have proven that their interests lie primarily in personal gain, then we cannot expect our government to remain uncorrupted. Oh, to be sure, “change” does occur. But, who does that change always seem to benefit, and who never seems to benefit from it? Just think about it, and then make your choice.
Who Needs ISIS? We’ve Got Each Other
There was an awful lot of American blood shed this week. No, not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but on our streets. First in Louisiana, then in Minnesota, two men were killed by police under what many believe to be questionable circumstances. Of course, none of us who are outside observers looking in knows for sure what happened in either case. We weren’t there. We’ve only been given the information that the news media has reported. But, regardless of the specifics in each case, they are two more wedges driven between a community of people who feel persecuted and the police who are charged with protecting and serving. Naturally, tensions are high.
Then on Thursday evening just down the road from me in Dallas, a large group of protestors demonstrated against those deaths on the streets of Downtown. According to virtually every report, the demonstration was proceeding peacefully, when suddenly shots rang out from the second level of a parking garage nearby. Twelve police officers who were at the demonstration keeping order were shot, five of them died–gunned down in cold blood. The shooter, who was eventually killed by police, told negotiators during the standoff that he was angry at white people and that he wanted to kill them, especially white police officers. The event shocked citizens of Dallas where the relationship between police and the black community, while not perfect, has not been terrible.
So, now we are left with seven deaths (at least) in seven days. Families are left to mourn their losses, all of them senseless, needless, and foolish. But, what’s more, a nation is left to mourn our loss of civility, and unity, and security. We no longer trust one another. The moment anything like these events happen, we retreat to our heavily fortified, heavily entrenched defensive positions where we make excuses for “our” side and seek only to show how “we” are in the right, and “they” are in the wrong. The United States is in the throes of a battle for its very soul, and there are few heroes to be found. The heroes calling for peace, and unity, and calm are drowned out by the clamor and rancor and war rhetoric coming from both sides.
Once again I ask the eternal question: who benefits from all of this division, and who never seems to benefit from it? There are people who profit from our anger and hatred. Why would they ever want it to stop? Just think about it, and then make your choice.
Howdy, Big Fella
We made it to Jupiter this week–I’ll bet you didn’t know that, did you? Well, we did. NASA’s Juno mission, launched in the summer of 2011 finally made it into orbit around the largest planet in our solar system. What’s the big deal, you might ask? We’ve orbited planets before. True, but Jupiter has always presented a problem. It is so large, its magnetic field and radiation belts are so powerful, that many people believed it would be impossible to ever successfully get a satellite into orbit around it. But, at about 9:30 central time on Monday, July 4, NASA confirmed that Juno was in orbit around the massive gas giant.
I watched it streamed online. It was amazing to see all of those people who had worked so hard hold their breath’s while they were waiting on the signal from the spacecraft, and then simultaneously leap for joy when they got it. It literally brought tears to my eyes. It was an example of the best that humanity has to offer at the beginning of a week that would end with the worst. So, most of us missed it because we were just too busy being right about our side.
The thing that most interested me is that, among all of those people who worked so hard, there were black folks, and white folks; there were latin folks, and Asian folks; there were Native Americans, and Indians, and Germans, and South Africans, and Swedes. There were men and women; Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, and humanists. There were straight folks, and gay folks; married folks and single folks. But, somehow, none of those things mattered. Somehow, they were all able to work together and do something that many, many people believed was impossible. And, when that signal came through, they cried together, and hugged each other, and shook hands, and hugged some more, and kissed each other, and nobody really cared what color the other people in the room were; or what god, if any, they believed in; or what gender they were; or what gender the people they loved were. They only cared that all of their hard work and effort and dedication to the mission, and to one another, had paid off.
I end, then, with this…if we’re capable of launching a spacecraft from the earth, flying it millions of miles over five years, and dropping it into a space less than fifty feet wide into orbit around a planet that is more than 11 times the diameter or earth and more than 1,300 times the volume…if we can do that without worrying about what the people around us look like, why the hell can’t we figure out a way not to slaughter each other in the streets?