Inside the mind of J.A. Kerley

J.A. Kerley has put a couple of blogs together exclusively for Killer Reads, we’re posting the first one today with an Q&A session and second blog due at the end of the week. Kerley’s first blog explores the current rubblings in the US around the appointment of Sonia Sotomayer to the Supreme Court…

 The Sotomayor Hearings

Writing a blog entry this morning, while the US Senate holds televised confirmation hearings on nominee Sonia Sotomayor, is like whistling Brahm’s Lullaby in the front row of a U-2 concert: whistle as you might, all you’re gonna hear is Bono.

Any normal thoughts are overwhelmed by a televised parade of the halt and lame, senators all. I’m speaking anti-Sotomayor Republicans here, though the Dems have done little to distinguish themselves. Strangely enough, intelligent remarks have come from newly installed Minnesota senator, Al Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer and comic performer. One suspects Franken recognizes farce, and knows when to take another tack. Most others seem unable or unwilling to make the distinction.

Sotomayor made one improvident remark years back, telling a friendly audience that a Latina justice might render wiser judgements than a white male. For her verbal meander, Sotomayor has been dubbed racist, reverse racist(!), miltant, an activist bent on destroying the Constitution and worse, all at odds with an extensive record of judicial restraint and moderation invisible to senate Republicans.

One of the ironies is that Jeff Sessions is ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. In the mid1980’s, Sessions’ district court appointment was rejected for his dubbing a white lawyer a “traitor to his race” for representing black clients; referring to the NAACP as “Communist inspired”, calling a African-American attorney “boy,” as in, “fetch me mah shoes, boy, an’ quick, lest I give you a whuppin'”,  and other bons mot designed to garner votes from folks lacking foreheads.

In the seniority-centric Senate, one doesn’t need intelligence or integrity to lead, one only has to outlive the competition. Sessions, an actual racist, straight-facedly paints Sotomayor as potentially leading night-riding gangs of  hooded Puerto Ricans to steal apple pies from our collective window sill.

Unfazed by self-caricature, right-wing radio and television personalities assail the nominee as if she were the point lady for Armageddon. Rush Limbaugh grunts insults into his golden microphone, picking oddly at himself as though infested with lice. Pat Buchanan, who one suspects was around to take dictation from Zoroaster, hits the circuit playing the only three notes his ocarina can tweedle: Mil-i-tant.  (Still, one must grudgingly admire the brass of Buchanan’s solo schtick, pulling the 1950’s from his pocket like a picture album, proclaiming, This was when we owned Paradise, and please disregard the dark bodies hanging from the tree limbs.)

Unless Sotomayor stands in her chair and sings L’international during the hearings, she will be confirmed. The set will be struck, the cameras turned off. And the GOP senators will retreat to some hushed and exclusive DC club where, brandies and cigars in hand, they can lament their victimization at the hands of lesser tribes, such as Latina justices, black presidents, and other not-quite-Americans.

 J. A. Kerley

Rogers, Kentucky

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