Opinion | Susan Knopf: No labels, justice for all
For the Record
I think it’s time we dispense with false flags of patriotism, like the Confederate flag, and we all line up under the Stars and Stripes. Can we please dispense with labels of liberal and conservative, gay and straight, pro-choice and pro-life, pro-gun and pro sensible gun control? Can we line up under one flag that has always meant “justice for all?”
Our nation’s governance is not a football game. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls himself the “grim reaper,” as he kills off any idea that doesn’t originate in his party this session. We can’t run our nation’s politics like a sports rivalry. We don’t want winners and losers. We all want to prosper. We don’t have to marginalize someone else to win. It’s not winner-takes-all.
Our president retweeted a Terence Williams tweet implicating the Clintons involvement in the apparent jailhouse suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, multimillionaire accused of multiple counts of sex trafficking and sex with minors. The president’s own counsel, Rudy Giuliani, told The New York Times, “It is best to wait for some key facts like the findings of the autopsy. Withholding judgment is the wisest course to follow.”
That didn’t stop our spin-doctor U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr from commenting he’s “appalled and frankly angry” about the “serious irregularities” of Epstein’s incarceration. Barr omits: Epstein was in federal custody, meaning Barr is ultimately responsible. He said the FBI and the inspector general are investigating. Maybe that’s all he and President Donald Trump should have said as leaders, who are supposed to lead our nation, to pursue justice for all.
Unfortunately, the president seems to think his job title is “flamethrower in chief.” He says anything to keep his base enraged and busy thinking about how great he is, rather than how his policies haven’t done a thing to relieve their economic woes, pay their bills, create better jobs with better benefits, fix health care. Build that wall!
There seems to be no question his inflammatory rhetoric is killing Americans: Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Earlier this month in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio. More than 250 dead this year in mass shootings.
For the record, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League issued an advisory for Boulder. The Denver Post reported a Boulder man was arrested for possessing child pornography. The suspect also allegedly published an online hunter’s guide in January, targeting federal agencies, mosques and synagogues, but he wasn’t charged.
The president has redirected FBI efforts away from domestic terrorism. The president’s rhetoric elevates the white supremacist when he says after the killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, there were “fine people” on both sides. He inflames the white nationalists with rhetoric about invading immigrants. He directs the arrests of hard-working immigrants, employed here for more than a decade doing difficult, dangerous work in meat processing plants. Some of the tax-paying workers claimed they were legal residents. No notice was given, and no provision was made to care for dependent children left without adult supervision. Mississippi U.S. Rep. and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson said the raid failed to follow standard procedures. He said, “That’s really not who we are as Americans.”
CNN reported that Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told WJTV, “I think that we truly have to question where the soul of our nation is at this point and time …”
And that’s the point. The Trump administration hails the sweep, considered the biggest single day roundup, with nearly 700 arrested in Mississippi. Many of us saw the images of crying children, and we felt this is not how we treat people. We don’t treat a violent criminal’s family this way. These people are at worst guilty of immigration infractions and using fake identities to get work. It’s not exactly theft, rape or murder. If law enforcement calls that criminal activity, we really need to change our laws.
David Brooks of the New York Times said, “We need an uprising of decency!” He calls for:
• Unity: We’re one people.
• Honesty: We can’t have democracy without truth.
• Pluralism: We treasure people of all races and faiths.
• Sympathy: We value those who are kind, especially to those who are suffering.
• Opportunity: We want everybody to have a fair chance in life.
We don’t need labels. We need to hold hands. We need to advocate for the weakest of our neighbors. We don’t need to pay their bills, but neither can we throw up stumbling blocks to their earnest efforts to succeed. We can fix our immigration system without throwing hard-working neighbors into detention centers. We can process people at the border with dignity.
We can fix our health care system, without partisan politics that do more to protect corporate America than our citizens. We can have sensible gun laws that protect our citizens and keep guns out of the hands of people publishing hateful manifestos online.
We can do these things together, without labels, with justice for all.
Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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