There is something gone badly wrong in the way police are taught to look at civilians these days. This is the logic of an occupying power being employed on American citizens. Ever since 9/11, when we all began to be told that we were going to have to bend a little bit, and then a little bit more, to authority or else we’d all die, the police in this country have been militarized in their tactics and in their equipment, which is bad enough, but in their attitudes and their mentality, which is far, far worse. Suspicion has bled into weaponized paranoia, especially in the case of black and brown people, especially in the case of young men who are black or brown, but this is not About Race because nothing ever is About Race. Even the potential of a threat requires a deadly response, Dick Cheney’s one-percent idea brought to American cities and towns until Salt Lake City, of all places, winds up with cops who are deadlier on the streets than drug dealers. This is how you wind up with Darren Wilson. This is how you wind up with Michael Brown, dead in the middle of the road. This is how Darren Wilson walks, tonight, for the killing of Michael Brown. This is how you end up with an American horror story.
Stephen Colbert on Charles Krauthammer, a former psychiatrist turned right-wing columnist, who promised not to try to diagnose President Obama from a distance and then turned around and called him a “narcissist.”
For the record I have forsworn my psychiatric authority because I never had any, and to be clear I am not claiming any insight or any training or any interest in human behavior, but in my layman’s opinion — as if I were raised by wolves — I just want to say that a former psychiatrist willing to give an on-air diagnosis of a stranger, while at the same time claiming he isn’t doing that, is not a narcissist. He’s just kind of a dick.
When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.
We have come such a long, long way, we have. We have elected a black man president of the United States, and forget that the political opposition has treated him like an unruly footman despite his best efforts to be a conciliator, a living witness to a country absolved. But, from a distance, that is not the conclusion the honest person can draw from what is going on in Missouri now. The honest conclusion to be drawn from what is going on in Missouri now is that we may have reached the limits of the American idea, of the American dream, of the American experiment. This country, it is fair to conclude, cannot exist without some manifestation of its fundamental racial divide. Slavery, followed by Reconstruction, followed by American apartheid, followed by the Civil Rights movement, followed by Wallace and white backlash, followed by the election of Barack Obama followed by the shooting of Trayvon Martin, followed by the acquittal of George Zimmerman, followed by the strangulation of Eric Garner — where’d he go, by the way? — and the shooting of Michael Brown. Maybe we should admit it to ourselves, we of the dwindling white majority, that the racial divide is something essential to holding our idea of the country together. It may be that we cannot unify ourselves without fashioning every 50 years or so, a new suit of clothes for old Jim Crow. White people will be a minority in this country, and very soon. Maybe the racial divide is all we have left.
Speaker John Boehner, one day after suing the president for acting on his own, telling him what to do now that the House has failed to act on its own on immigration:
There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.
WASHINGTON—In a worrying development that could have dire implications for the health of the planet, a report published Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that the number of climate change skeptics could reach catastrophic levels by the year 2020.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II, in his ruling striking down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage, rejecting the state’s contention that that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state’s long-term economic stability:
These arguments are not those of serious people.
The ruling is stayed pending appeal, but yet another ban bites the dust.
Convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza says African Americans are better off because of slavery.
Did America owe something to the slaves whose labor had been stolen? [Yes, but] that debt . . . is best discharged through memory, because the slaves are dead and their descendants are better off as a consequence of their ancestors being hauled from Africa to America.
There is not a single person in America — not Bill Kristol, not Paul Wolfowitz, not Don Rumsfeld, no pundit, not even President Bush himself — who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney.
“Stand your ground” laws, or at least the public conception of what they do, are changing the way the rest of us think about self-protection. This is, of course, exactly the world the NRA dreams of constructing: Everyone armed and paranoid that everyone else is armed. But the old canard that an armed society is a polite society is pretty much bunk. Ours is not a polite society; we are rude and hotheaded and terrified. Now we have guns to help us sort it all out.