Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 | 2 a.m.
It’s good to be back.
I want to thank the many leaders in our community who shared their thoughts with our readers during the month of August. It is always good to hear directly from our elected, community and civic leaders who provide each of us some food for future thought as we try to manage our daily routines.
I would be remiss if I didn’t single out Nevada’s dear friend, Sen. Harry Reid, whose perspective on the filibuster in the U.S. Senate is worth our time and attention.
This respite has also given me some time to reflect — some time to think about my country, my community and my loved ones.
In that regard, I don’t think I am any different from other Nevadans who try their best to do what is right for themselves, their country and their communities.
So, with that thought in mind, here is my first reflection:
The Supreme Court of the United States, while it is acting in the basest, politically motivated and nonjurisprudential way (in other words — as political hacks not as eminent jurists and I never thought I could ever say that) is actually doing this country a favor. While I know it cannot have been their intent, the reactionary majority of that court is forcing the 330 million Americans alive today to make a choice.
Will this nation, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” endure much longer?
There have always been what the Founding Fathers called “intense minorities” who care more about a particular issue than they do almost any other, sometimes to the point of distraction. Those people — no matter how far out on the fringes they may be — will never stop trying to press their minority positions. Whether they achieve success depends upon the majority of America, which presents its feelings on the matter at the ballot box — every two, four or six years.
We are faced with the reality that this intense minority of people — pick the topic — is having its way with America because the majority of people are either too lazy, too preoccupied or too unsuspecting of what is happening in front of their faces, to do something about it. And that threatens the United States — its ideals, its moral compass and its ownership of the title “greatest democracy in the world.”
Who would have thought, for example, that a global pandemic (that means everyone) would not have spurred this entire country to a singular, virus-defeating action? Oh, there was some action by most people, but there has also been a violent reaction based on political ideology, not on science, morality or common sense — traits once used to define 20th-century and earlier America.
The result is that COVID-19 has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated whose selfishness and moral deficits have put the entire country at risk.
And Congress — which is supposed to act in the best interests of the entire country (at least the majority of the country) — dithers. It does nothing.
Who would have thought that the massive and tragic losses of life and property due to uncontrollable wildfires in the West, unheard of and devastating extreme weather-producing floods in the East and South, and drought conditions that could and will choke not only the horses but the 40 million to 50 million people living in the Southwest, would not be addressed by a national will to fix our infrastructure deficits and do all we can to reduce the certainty of uninhabitable climate changes exacerbated by man?
And, yet, Congress dithers. It does nothing.
And who could have conceived that an angry mob, which attacked the seat of government on Jan. 6, would not have been universally condemned by those in Congress? And, instead, given a pass by elected cowards, afraid to stand up for our constitutional way of life?
Congress continues to dither. It continues to do nothing.
And who could have actually believed that the Supreme Court would eventually find a way to disenfranchise fully one half of every American living today (that would be the female of the species) by allowing a vigilante system to exist in this country where bounties on the heads of innocents are encouraged and condoned by the state — of Texas, that is?
But it has. And Congress, once again, dithers.
But there may be that proverbial silver lining lurking about. I believe that the right-wing ideologues on the high court, who have hijacked the last remaining semblance of fairness and justice in this country for ordinary Americans, while they may not have intended to do so, have given the people who believe in America as a democracy no other choice than to step up and let their voices be heard.
If we don’t like turning neighbor against neighbor — for a $10,000 bounty — just because a woman wants to control her own body without interference from government, we can do something about it. We can vote.
If we don’t like the prospect of floodwaters, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and drought destroying all that we have built — not to mention the thousands of lives that are flushed away annually as a result — we can do something about it. We can vote.
And if we don’t like the idea that a small minority of ignorant Americans can turn their backs on science, their families, their neighbors and their business communities by refusing to get vaccinated and wear masks until this pandemic is defeated, we can do something about them. We can vote.
And right now the only way to effect the change we need to keep our democracy out of the hands of a willful and selfish minority of Americans — we should call them by their name — autocrats — is to vote Democratic.
That doesn’t mean we blindly cast a ballot for the nutcases who would take this country for a leftward spin down the rabbit hole, but it does mean that those Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the simple things — like the Big Lie, the role of science in our lives, the contribution to world havoc that carbon-based fuels have created and continue to make worse, and the continued intrusion of government into the most personal parts of our lives — must be turned out of office. At every level of government.
And if there are Democrats who pose the same threats, dump them too.
The Supreme Court seems to be deferring to the will of the people through congressional action rather than do the harder work of interpreting our Constitution, which was written by sane individuals for this very time — when insanity infects the body politic.
So let’s take them up on it. Is this a democracy or ain’t it? Can we make our majority voices heard, or can’t we? Will we let a loud minority of voices overwhelm the voice of reason and common sense of the vast majority, the rest of us?
Or, conversely, by failing to act now, will we be the last generation of Americans to preside over what once was “the greatest democracy in the world?”
As always, the choice is ours.
Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun.