By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
Republican politicians are gleeful, it seems, as the debacle in Afghanistan unfolds before our very eyes, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to cause hundreds of thousands of people to get sick and, worse, die, and as states pass laws to curtail the ability of Black people to vote in upcoming elections.
Their disrespect and disregard for the law is astounding, given the fact that they have always said that they were supporters of law and order and touted the mantra that America goes by “the rule of law.”
But what we saw during the previous administration is not only a disrespect for the law, but blatant arrogance as lawmakers ignored subpoenas issued to find out what was going on in that administration that was illegal, immoral or both.
We saw during the Jan. 6 insurrection scores of people who were themselves members of “law enforcement,” and of the military. We saw these people disregard the law and the United States Constitution as they stormed the capitol building, intent on stopping the certification of the outcome of the 2020 election – and we saw them beat police officers who were there doing their job.
Their disrespect of the law – and of police officers – was highlighted for me this week as I listened to a podcast where Cecil Rhambo, a candidate for sheriff in Los Angeles, described the reality of some police departments being populated by White gang members. I was not surprised, because I have long thought that too many police officers took those jobs in order to legally kill and harass people – including and especially Black people, but to hear this political candidate talk about it in a YouTube video was sobering.
Republicans, I am sure, are aware of this, but ignore it. Their goal is to stop the browning of America and to keep people “in their place.” But the hypocrisy is as staggering as it is troubling. White Republicans are so afraid of losing their power that they have lost their moral compass; all that matters is holding onto power, no matter what. If they have to rig and set up the infrastructure to steal elections, they are showing us that they will do it.
They slyly jump on and criticize those who say “defund the police,” meaning that Black and Brown people are tired of being criminalized, unjustly targeted, harassed and brutalized by police, but at the same time they are silent as some politicians call for the “defunding” of hospitals, public schools, colleges and universities, and private businesses that are trying to curb the spread of COVID-19 by requiring that people inside their walls wear masks.
This weekend we saw footage of a man who threatened city officials with violence if the city did not back off from requiring people to wear masks. And we all saw angry parents attack medical representatives who tried to explain the benefits of having children wear masks as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc, according to The Hill.
Not only are we seeing the blatant disrespect for the law by Republicans, but also a fair disregard for human life. The “pro-life” people are silent as unvaccinated people – including children – continue to contract COVID-19. What about their commitment to life? If they do not care about school children getting sick and dying from a virus infection that could have been mitigated by taking a vaccine, what is life to them, really?
I am surprised that these values-touting politicians have lost their tongues and voices, and that their commitment to police is so fake. Everything that they are, and everything that they stand for, has been dumped in the middle of this struggling nation. It is not clear how we get clear of this mess that we are in, but one thing is sure: The sheet has been pulled off of the imposters of justice. What we do with what we have learned and are still learning will be critical as we move forward and if this country survives the attack on democracy. I hope and pray that politicians, legislators, organizers and the media will recognize that the America we grew used to is gone and is under attack – and that they will move forward in their work accordingly.
The gated community of white supremacy and raw, corrupt power has been breached, and that is a dangerous, yet prescient reality.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.