Friday, July 17, 2009

Wise Latina, dumb gringos

It took guts for Lindsey Graham to acknowledge, in his opening statement, that Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court -- not because of her superior qualifications, but because he doesn't have the votes to sustain a filibuster. It took guts because he had to admit he can count to forty, and that he knows it's less than forty-one. I'm sure the Palin/Plumber wing of his party already suspects Graham of being a secret elitist intellectual.

That hurdle behind him, however, Graham and his Republican colleagues seemed to be incredulous that Judge Sotomayor was in their committee room and not home doing their laundry. They were puzzled to find that she had dissented from another judge "of Puerto Rican descent" -- don't you people all think alike? They joked about smoking crack with her. The always loathsome Tom Coburn put his special seal on the hearings with a hilarious Ricky Ricardo impersonation. (Refresh my memory -- didn't he do the Chico Marx "tootsie-frootsie ice-a cream" routine for Samuel Alito? No?) The justice-designate maintained her composure and sense of humor, never once complaining about being the victim of an attempted lynching, high-tech or otherwise. New Yorkers are tough.

Like a breeze stirring the thick summer air of the capital, a change has surely come. Forty-five years ago Martin Luther King and his fellow civil rights leaders were subjected to every hateful epithet, the most common and most absurd being "communist," but nobody ever called them racists. For racists like Rush Limbaugh and "Bitburg" Buchanan to call an opponent a racist, they must first tacitly acknowledge that racism is evil. Of course, they define racism rather narrowly, as failure to respect the privileges which should naturally accrue to white men, but still, it's a paradigm shift, or a quantum leap, or whatever ill-adapted buzzword you like. The earth moved. I've never been prouder of my screwed-up country.


Blogger Quacko said...

I was home waiting for people from a non-profit to come put in some house stuff. They never showed. BUT- while anxiously waiting and losing two precious hours of "Personal Time" from my paycheck, I listened to the hearings. The minute the abortion ramble began, I started to cringe from the persistent drone sound of white male southern accent. Yes, she done good.

10:15 AM  

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