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Fourth of July/Only for Some

Moving Away from Freedom

Nearly 250 years ago a group of men (primarily rich, white men) set for proclamation for a new idea of a nation. A nation whose legitimacy came from the consent of the governed, which would pursue liberty and justice for all as a north star. For all the many personal flaws and failings, prejudices and pettinesses of these founders, this was a profound and radical promise, and a worthy ideal to strive towards. Needless to say, the founders of the United States never came close to constructing a nation which lived up to these founding ideals, and throughout its history America's constant struggle and failing to reach its potential form the riverbed through which flows of the story of our nation. The depth of the inadequacy of America's upholding of its founding promise was perhaps most potently expressed in 1852 with Frederick Douglass’s iconic, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” speech. Some 171 years on from that speech we find its central thesis still rings true, and the struggles and contradictions identified, as yet, unresolved. This past year, we must sadly report that the United States has taken great strides Away from its promised vision, its cherished dream. In just the last year, nine unelected, life-appointed, oligarchs – who have proven themselves deeply political and financially motivated creatures – have used their undemocratic and unchecked powers to strip rights and protections away from Americans, especially the most vulnerable. They have, in turn, given powers, privileges and advantages to those who need it least, and often those who have personally made money for this robed oligarchy masquerading as an impartial high court. Not only has SCOTUS taken upon itself to strip away long-standing reproductive rights, during its most recent session, the court has gone after environmental protections under the Clean Water Act, blocked affirmative action and race conscious decision making in education, as well has denying debt relief to millions of Americans whose only crime was to become educated. These judicial activists, hypocrites of the highest order, handing down policy unchecked and unencumbered by any ethical standards or seemingly other branches of government, have helped to solidify the current new normal of unrepresentative government in the United States. Tragically, this sort of behavior will not stop with these most recent decisions. We should expect that hard fought future legislative or executive victories on behalf of the people will be overturned or undermined by this last bastion to unrepresentative, unelected power. The path to unwinding this unrepresentative tack in our government’s trajectory will likely be long and arduous, but it begins with a change in attitude and strategy. First is the recognition that the Supreme Court is indeed both a political and politically motivated body of individuals, not a divine priesthood interpreting the law. This shift is important because it allows one to realize that much like Congress and the Executive Branch, the judiciary can also be motivated by political and financial considerations. As an unelected body, the SCOTUS is largely insulated from many of the political avenues for deconstructing its power, however, recent reporting on the activities of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, to name just two justices, demonstrate how powerful economic and financial forces seem to be in shaping Supreme Court justices policies and decision-making. So this Tuesday, on the anniversary of our nation’s founding, begin the organizing fight against an unrepresentative and rogue political Supreme Court. Together we can work economically and politically to build a movement powerful enough to challenge these elite and ensure that when the people speak, and when their Representatives act on their behalf, nine petty “lords” cannot stand in the way of progress. So, join us each week in growing solidarity, if we work together, next year we can report progress towards making the 4th of July be a day truly worth celebrating! #DSOT #UPM

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