One sign of a democratic and ethical society is how it protects its most vulnerable. As I have written in past articles, the U.S. often and deliberately fails its children by throwing money only at predominantly rich and white school district neighborhoods while leaving the most vulnerable children warehoused or “schooled” but not educated.
Many of our government officials show disregard to other vulnerable populations. COVID has blown open our blinders in showing that the U.S. does not care for its elderly. In many states, pushing kids back to school was a money decision, not a humanitarian one, and the brutal cost on People of Color whose families were and continue to be decimated by the pandemic only highlights one thing. The U.S. may have the best healthcare in the world, but that care is only given to the most privileged of us. But this is a nation that sings equality while denying the truth.
As pointed out in a recent conversation on NPR Radio, Jeff Bezos could give every one of his nearly 1 million workers $150,000 and would have the same wealth he did in January. You bet that such would never, ever happen. There must be a Rich Man’s Code somewhere; give money to only those that need it least. Don’t rebuild communities, and never ever pay tax. Whatever you do exploit and always exploit often.
We may see a reversal of Roe vs. Wade. Many will celebrate the sanctity of life while the SCOTUS will drop 20 million people’s insurance policies because people having a right to good healthcare is seen as a [wealthy white] privilege, not a right. So how many will die and suffer as a result? How many teen girls will we lock up for murder, while letting the boy that impregnated her go free? How many will die from botched backdoor abortions? And for the parents that “choose life,” what life will these mostly POC kids have where a zip code determines one’s fate, the cradle-to-grave prison pipeline?
I never liked abortion. I grew up white and Roman Catholic, but the key should be to reduce the need for abortions by giving all a good sex education, equal resources, with mentorship and guidance. This, however, is a punitive country, where we justify harm while condemning it; sing liberty while taking it, championing free speech, while using constant censorship to sew mouths shut.
The shenanigans we see by soulless and amoral GOP leaders and others is openly anti-democratic and anti-United States, happy to sell their nation down the river, knowingly weakening the U.S. international position against Russia and China, and fully supporting the most dangerous threat to the security of the United States, President Donald Trump. In any other context, these men would be held criminally liable for their deliberate mishandling of the pandemic and U.S. affairs, but these, you know, are honorable men. They will only be rewarded.
Our Commander-In-Chief may have said that those that stormed the beaches of Normandy were “losers” and “why would anyone do that,” only to call Rush Limbaugh, both of whom ran from the draft because of an anal boil and a bone spur, to steal his own vice president’s momentary spotlight. Both men are cowards in tough-guy clothing. Because for Trump, the U.S. is just an old hotel that needs to be demolished. It’s nothing more than that.
Now imagine another vulnerable population, the people that are incarcerated. Many of us may say, “Hey, these guys did the crime, so let them all die of COVID. Really that is a good thing.” For those of you that support that position, you may want to write a letter of thanks to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It turns out that not all politicians are vicious, self-serving gluttons unfit to manage a hot dog stand let alone a nation. Virginia Senator Joseph Morrissey spent time writing letters to wardens attempting to get men with high health risks out of prison. These men did nonviolent crimes. The wardens made excuses, noting red tape. Morrissey notes that 33 incarcerated men have died of COVID-19 since the spring. A total of over 3700 have contracted the virus. Two jails are reporting over 400 cases and ten employees have tested positive.
Senator Morrissey advocated for Askia K Asmar. He had only 15 months left of his sentence for nonviolent crimes. Mr. Asmar, the Senator wrote, had active cancer that now spread to his lungs as well as hypertension, diabetes and Hepatitis C. He was 67 years old and a Person of Color. Warden Tammy Taylor denied his release noting red tape. Mr. Asmar got infected with COVID and later died.
I often wonder why Warden Taylor is not charged with negligence and/or murder? Clearly, this is a system with no compassion and extreme and deliberate prejudice. Warden Taylor allowed cruel and unusual punishment to guide her judgment, much like the whole Commonwealth. Then we see our President repeatedly downplay how many have died and admit to misleading people.
When I think of vulnerable populations, what I see are inmates, sex offenders, those attracted to kids, the elderly, children, people of color, those with mental illness, developmentally disabled, religious minorities, non-religious minorities, and women. I think it’s wise to change the law and hold political leaders accountable for murder and crimes against humanity. U.S. officials are clearly immune to any human rights violations.
For the first time in its history, The New England Journal of Medicine took political sides in its accurate and brutal assessment of our current leaders, implying that these men and women should be held liable for the deaths of so many that they could have knowingly prevented or reduced. This would be the right thing to do.
The test of a true democracy is to be disciplined in our humane treatment of others, an example of how to treat others, even when those others disgust us or are a threat to us. What I learned is that this is a nation of lies, one that still keeps slavery alive and well. I often wonder if North Korea is really any different? Do they let their inmates die in prisons without treatment? How are our slums any different than theirs? Is a communist slum worse than a free slum? Should our homeless be proud to freeze in the U.S, not in North Korea?
Yet, I must, as harsh or one-sided as this article seems, call out the Governor of Virginia, a weak Democrat. One would think that a physician would help Asmar, that his helper sense would make him sensible, but then again, for a man that wore blackface, I guess it’s easier to dress up Black than to save a Black man.
Are we proud yet? Let us vote harmful enablers out of office and out of power. Please don’t ever let such “honorable” men lead again.
Earl Yarington is a social worker (LMSW) and an associate professor in literature, writing, and cultural studies (PhD) at Prince Georges Community College and adjunct professor at Indiana University East. He is the author of many publications under his name and under pen name Justin Forest. Earl’s focus areas are the representations of girlhood in media,, eroticism, and child pornography law, paraphilia, sex offending and criminal justice. He is especially interested in the treatment of those with sexual challenges such as minor-attraction (pedophilia, hebepedophilia) to help prevent child sexual abuse while providing humane support for individuals seeking help. His book Lolita in the Lion’s Den challenges readers to address what is so often hidden and misunderstood about minor-attraction, sex offending, and the child emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. Earl provides sex therapy under supervision for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Earl writes about sexual issues, education, and occasionally politics. His writing is based on his expertise and knowledge, and such does not represent the opinions or positions of agencies, universities, and colleges that employ him, nor that of the Baltimore Post-Examiner LLC.