Sun | Aug 20, 2017

What are America's true values?

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The United States of America was founded on July 4, 1776. It grew out of the need for persons to have a place of religious freedom, unfettered opportunity for self-actualisation and freedom subsequently guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of their Constitution.

This is known as the Bill of Rights, a wonderful document in conjunction with the Declaration of Independence stating that all people are created equal. The ideals are laudable, but what is the reality?

Is America more the land of racism, inequality and rabid extremism? Power grabs, Monroe Doctrine and world policeman imposing its culture by might on the rest of us?

Take a moment to reflect on the present. The Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump, leading in the polls for the last five months, is proposing that Muslims be barred, "totally and completely", from entering the USA until a plan can be formulated to deal with the radical Muslim threat. This, in a country founded on the principles of religious tolerance and freedom of association. It is now apparent that this is only for some, not for all. What are the true values of the place called America?

The country subscribes to democratic government by free and fair elections, but there is currently limited government by consensus. The extremist Tea Party, supported by Senator Ted Cruz, first-generation American born in Canada to a Cuban, is leading the extremists. Close the border, they say. Defund the women's health organisation, Planned Parenthood. Withhold funding of federal government if things don't go their way.

 

Raising curiosity

 

Cruz's faction hounds the House of Representatives speaker from his post and out of Congress. Is this a representative of the so-called tolerant society? His friendship with former JLP operative, David Panton, raises curiosity. Cruz is a Republican candidate for president of the USA. What are the true values of this place called America?

He was born in New Jersey on March 11, 1936. This 79-year-old Roman Catholic, who could have been a member of the Curia, is the longest-serving justice, currently on the Supreme Court of America.

He is alleged to be brilliant and he is quoted as recently saying, on the occasion of the full court refusing to hear another affirmative action case, "Black students would benefit from being registered at a slower-track school" instead of the University of Texas flagship campus in Austin. In what he offers as an explanation he is reported to have uttered the following, "Look, all I am saying is maybe black students would be better off at schools that are separate, but, you know, equal."

Wow! Shades of the 1954 Brown v Board of Education case. Here is that language again: separate but, you know, equal. This is coming from the man who should have some sensitivity to disparate treatment. He was the first Italian-American to sit on the US Supreme Court. He was only appointed in 1986 by Ronald Reagan, some 210 years after the founding of America. I could infer that if he, a white Italian, had to wait 210 years for his people to make it, others should know their place.

The tragedy is that Antonin Scalia has a lifetime appointment. He is 79. The Good Book speaks to 70 as an appropriate allotment of age. What are the true values of this place called America?

 

History of extremism

 

The Americans have a long history of extremism seeking the mainstream stage. In the 1950s, Joseph McCarthy, a senator from Wisconsin, put America through a dark period.

On February 9, 1950, McCarthy announced that he had a list of 205 people in the State Department who were known members of the American Communist Party. The country was just emerging from World War II and had great unease about communists. He engaged in a tawdry period of smearing and destroying lives by innuendo. This was to last to December 1954 when the Senate curtailed this witch-hunt. He died in May 1957. He was all of 49 years old.

The United States of America has embraced many propagandistic deviants. They have all the ideals written some place. Documents that contain material to inspire, but the material only comes to life through the action of persons.

The world is now having to deal with characters that, though acting in reprehensible manner, have not been brought to book and forced to curtail their action. This must lead one to question: What is the true state of America? Is Ted Cruz a true reflection of American ideals?

Antonin Scalia, with his awesome power as a Supreme Court justice, has free rein to espouse racist views and parlay them as worthy. Is Donald Trump, with the public megaphone to spew stupidity, a worthy representative?

What are the true values of the place called America?

- Ronald Mason is an attorney-at-law and Supreme Court mediator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and nationsagenda@gmail.com.