Great evil 

Seeing the decisions that come from Bush’s Supreme Court, it’s hard not to despair. Lifetime appointees, these malignant jurists will be around a long, dismal while. Unlike Ann Coulter, we can’t in good conscience recommend slipping rat poison into the food of Supreme Court justices. (Or anyone else, for that matter. This respect for life is what separates liberals from conservatives.) But we can, once again, take heart from the sage words of the playwright Tony Kushner, who reminds us that surrender and indifference are not options, not for people who value their freedom.

“You are always an agent,” Kushner said, early in the Bush administration. “When you don’t act, you act. When you don’t vote, you vote. When you accept the loony logic of some of the left that there is no political value in supporting the lesser of two evils, you open the door to the greater evil. … Look at the White House. See what despair and inaction on the part of citizens produces. Act! Organize! It’s boring but do it. The world ends if you don’t.”

The Bush majority on the Court was doing its dirty work again Monday, busy as beavers and more destructive. The Court voted 5-4 against restrictions on campaign spending, which is to say it voted for the political excesses that corrupt our democratic system. Giant corporations, as well as angry and wealthy special-interest groups, were given more authority to employ deceitful political ads just before elections. Big money has its privileges, the majority said.

The justices continued to hammer at the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion — the majority despises it — by holding that taxpayers can’t challenge the Bush administration’s diversion of public funds to religious groups. The majority also took the side of developers and the administration against environmentalists hoping to protect endangered species, and it said that the First Amendment guarantee of free speech does not apply to students who differ with their elders. It was a full day’s work.

In previous weeks, the misogynistic majority had ruled against women seeking control of their own bodies — limiting women’s ability to obtain an abortion, the male justices said that abortion conflicted with their own religious views — and against women seeking to be paid as much as men for doing the same work.

This is very great evil, and the door was opened in 2000, when some chose to stay home or to vote for the madcap Ralph Nader rather than Al Gore. The Republicans stole the election in Florida, of course, but if not for Nader’s draining votes from Gore, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Nader was an agent; George Bush didn’t have a better one. Unless the loony logic of the Nader types is rejected in 2008, the evil will continue.


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