Screaming Impotently

It seems like just as I'm building up enough emotional strength to stand tall again, there is another strong kick in the emotional gut. This time, it is President Trump Commuting the sentence of Roger Stone, a man convicted of obstructing Congress into their investigation of President Trump. He completely barrels past the obvious conflict of interest. To add salt to the wound, Stone’s plea was that he was afraid that he would die of Covid-19 if he went to prison. So if you are a wealthy white man who stops our legislature from holding the President of the United States Accountable, your sentence is commuted so that you don’t have to face a pandemic in our prisons.

This against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter. Cause I’m sure that a black man facing his first offense—oh, let’s say over a confrontation with an officer that escalated–would get the same sort of sympathy if he expressed fear for his life to the judge hearing his case. Oh wait, no I’m not. I am incoherent with feelings of rage and powerlessness. How can we do this? How can we set up such a double standard, treating those who are different than us with such contempt and disregard?

And how can we collectively stand there and do nothing when there is such an obvious disregard for justice? Even if you do not value the Black Lives matter movement and understand the horror of racial injustice, there is still the problem of Trump pardoning those who were accused of protecting Trump from judicial inquiry. Ah, yes, how can we stand aside? For most of us, I think the answer is that we do not feel that we have the power to accomplish anything. I tried voting (many times in fact, although only once per election). The candidates I thought might have a chance to help things lose. We protest. We decry. But when the fundamental mechanisms to bring justice to the world are subverted, what can we do?

I was about to embark on a rant against the Senate of the US. But then I had a chilling thought: what if the individual senators feel as powerless as I do? At one level, of course they have more power than I do, just as I have more power than those less privileged. But within an organization, where you are pressured by the party, afraid of stepping out of line alone, it may not seem that way. What if even they feel like they cannot act? Then what? How do we wake up and find our collective power?

It’s not enough to fight against Trump. We need to find real compassion, real justice, and real connection. I don’t think we’ll succeed in doing that while we’re bolstered together in our own little groups, holding tight with those who agree with us, not even listening to the other sides. Sure, I’d be happier if the people in power agreed with me than I am now. But in the long run, replacing one group of frightened defensive people with another will not help. To fix the inequities, to bring real justice, we need something bigger than any one side. And I have even less of an idea how to accomplish that than I did four years ago.