Sixteenth Deep Breath!
Yogis of the world unite and take your yoga off the mat and into the wider world!!
More than half a billion dollars was spent on fireworks in the US in 2023, probably a billion dollars worldwide. Where would this money be more useful? Couldn’t we just shut off the city lights for a night and behold the majesty of the stars?? Apparently, some cities, particularly those near forested areas, opted to do a drone display of lights rather than traditional fireworks—much less danger of fire that way.
Currently there’s a disconnect between my love for and respect for the “legacy” of American Democracy and my fear for its future. I am reading “Supermajority”, a book on the evolution of our supreme court in which radical republicans hold a six to three advantage. It’s a good read but maybe a little technical for people who did not study the law. If you have a genuine interest in how we arrived at our present situation, Michael Waldman, the author, actually makes the story of the Supreme Court’s key cases very good reading. From Marbury vs. Madison, he traces cases through Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson right up to the current term with its leaked ruling on abortion. These cases have defined the court’s role as the third pillar in our tripartite government and its separation of powers. Additionally there have been recent troubling decisions on gun rights and the second amendment, as well as a ruling on first amendment religious rights that turned out to have a fake plaintiff. That case, involving the right of a baker not to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple, therefore did not have true standing in the first place and should never have reached the Court.
This is just a short rant today about a branch of government that seems to be leading us involuntarily by our noses down a potentially dangerous path with no end in sight. Writing about it lets me blow off some steam. This is supposed to be the branch that balances states’ rights with the federal constitution, among other duties. What happened to the Chief John Roberts’ claim that what his court does is just “call the balls and strikes” on the cases coming up from the lower courts according to the rule of law and established precedent? It’s just a question.
We continue to depend on each other for reasoned debate in the public sphere. Dangerously, the forum for such discussion has become truncated into small “tweets” or news bytes that fail to do justice to the complexity of modern life and to how we are connected to each other and to our shared history. A brief recommendation here: if you do not already subscribe to American historian Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent blog “Letters from an American” I highly recommend it. Reading her historian’s take on current events is helpful. Then digging into the comments on articles in the press can be a good barometer of the larger public opinion. Doing this is often a way to have a good laugh as well, and laughter is good medicine.