It did not take long before the demise of Justice Antonin Scalia hit the conspiracy tableau. It appeared that a casual opinion of a law enforcement officer claiming that the Justice had a pillow on his face when he was found dead immediately spun the conspiracy tongues wagging. It was loud and wide. The word “murder” was even invoked.
It really did not come as a surprise. The American media tends to report what one did not do, or should have done, rather than what actually transpired. They are not mean-spirited; they are just following what has been America’s cautionary habit against the sly machinations of the royalty since the thirteen colonies decided to say “NEIN” to the British throne.
While living in the D.C. area in the late ’90s with a spouse who was an officer of USAID, I joined her at a social function where an officer mused that for every federal agency mandated to “do” something, another nine were created to oversight function. She exaggerated but it is true that a “can do” attitude, with all its Eisenhower optimism and JFK idealism, grates against the Potomac’s slam-dunk big “WHAT IF.”
Take Obama’s initial optimism when he came into office. It did not take long for folks off and on his party suggest what he cannot do. Of late, media reported that The Donald “viciously attacked Obama for not attending Scalia’s funeral” in response to the WH announcement that Obama skip the funeral at the Cathedral and did a private viewing instead. The rational was the security measures needed at such a high profile event; distracts the focus away from the deceased. The media painted a petty Donald and an unwise Obama.
After perusing Episcopalian Bishop Spong’s reflections on the New Reformation, the Bishop appears more preoccupied with what Christianity is NOT about than what it does. In contrast, the Muslim Reform Movement reiterated Islam’s support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948. They rejected interpretations of Islam that focused on violence, social injustice, and extremist politics. Principles of transforming communities were what they were to pursue: peace, human rights and secular governance.
The United States has yet to learn how to shake off its distrust of organized efforts and heed the Gipper’s advise: Trust but verify, most helpful in Reagan’s relationship to the USSR’s Gorbachev that eventually dismantled the Cold War symbol of the Berlin wall.
I listened to my Chinese stepson elucidate why he does not relate at the start to other people with trust. His China orientation makes him begin with distrust until proven trustworthy and that will be good enough for him in Uncle Sam’s land as well. He fits well in distrustful America!
The economic collapse of ’29 abetted this starting notion of distrust but for the American soul, it goes further in time for many of its settlers from Europe escaped from the tyranny of royal persecution. It engendered an escapist tendency of the mind that is as taken-for-granted today as the suburban Mall.
And conspiracy theories. A lot of energy is wasted on speculating what “the other” is planning to do me harm, or, divest me of my assets! In U.S. foreign policy, it never asks why we are in Korea, lording it over half of a previous Japanese colony while the other half jitters on the other side of Ponmunjum, further making the Mao uniforms across the Yalu River into Manchuria nervous. When Chiang claimed South China Sea as part of China, we did not say anything but when two years later, Mao said the same thing, we demurred and are still protesting. We use the rationale of “containment of hostile military expansionism” of China to justify our “strategic military location” in the Northern Marianas Islands, but evidently clear to protect oil interests.
OK. We will be indulgent and speculate on the “what if.”
Obama wants to spend the rest of his remaining years after the WH with the black robes of the Supreme Court. This was idle speculation until conservative Antonin Scalia called ten-four. Immediately, GOP anxiety promised to block any Obama appointment on a presidential election year. Majority Senate leader KY’s O’Connell and Texas Senator Ted Cruz promised to filibuster if the measure came to the Senate floor. OK, we got that.
Obama can do two things. He can resign from office and let Biden serve his remaining term; then appoint BHO to the Supreme Court. Legal but sly.
Or, he can spend the rest of his term making sure Hillary Clinton gets all the breaks she needs to be elected as the first female President of the Union (about time, the female, I mean), and let her appoint him after she gets sworn in.
Moderate Republican Brain Sandoval, governor of Nevada, a clearly bipartisan WH selection, took himself out of consideration. The GOP painted their vote into a corner. The second option is on. The GOP won’t need to protest an Obama appointment, and Obama is robed to the Supreme Court. That should make everyone happy, right?