Remember when Donald Trump was president, and so many of us began each day dreading the inevitable and horrific developments in the White House ?
Well, here we are again — even though Joe Biden is now president and the cruel clown show has left the corner office. June has been an absolute horror. How do we even process this much bad news?
This month of renewal has instead been one of retrograde Supreme Court rulings that undo decades of progress in this country, and of revelations about the attempted coup that make one wonder how on earth this nation can survive the chaos and decay now laid bare.
Because of Cassidy Hutchinson’s courageous testimony on Tuesday, we now know what many have long suspected: that the former president and his circle knew his mob was armed and that the thug-in-chief meant it when he said he planned to personally lead the treasonous horde into the US Capitol.
And that was just the latest in a series of shocking revelations about Trump’s role in the attempted coup. More dispiriting: the legions of Republicans still carrying his water in the wake of those revelations. They are already at work shredding Hutchinson’s display of honesty and honor.
A few blocks away, the Supreme Court has spent the last few weeks kicking the moorings out from America as we knew it. The court’s conservative majority blew two holes in the wall separating church and state, weakened Miranda rights for those placed under arrest, diminished Native American sovereignty, took yet another swipe at voting rights, and issued two decisions those who care about safety and bodily autonomy have long dreaded: They overturned Roe v. Wade and reached into states to override sane gun-safety restrictions, making it easier for those who shouldn’t have guns to get them — and freely carry them in public. And they’re not done yet.
At this writing, there are two decisions yet to come down this week: one on whether the Biden administration can end a heartless border policy that holds migrants in Mexico, and another that could gut the power of the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies to do their vital work. Given this court majority, it’s no use getting our hopes up on either count.
At moments like these, we might console ourselves with the fact that we live in Massachusetts, where humanity and common sense usually prevail. We’re seeing that when it comes to Roe, as the governor and legislators take swift action to strengthen our rights to control what happens in our own bodies.
We might not be so successful in the aftermath of the court’s decision last week striking down a gun law in New York, which is similar to one in this state giving police chiefs wide discretion to deny gun licenses to those they conclude shouldn’t have them. The discretion is used unevenly, depending on the city or town. And it’s used rarely, with more than 90 percent of those who apply for licenses receiving them, according to research out of Northeastern University. Those who are denied are generally known to the police department, even though they may not have been charged with crimes: They’ve been involved in domestic violence incidents or fights, or they exhibit instability or other behaviors that make arming them risky.
Upton Police Chief Michael Bradley said he had denied only a handful of licenses in his 14 years on the job. After the law is inevitably challenged in the wake of the court ruling, “I think there are people we will have to issue licenses to that we feel could be a threat to public safety,” said Bradley, who is head of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.
“This is going to cost lives, nationally and in Massachusetts,” said Jack McDevitt, a professor of criminal justice at Northeastern. “If more guns are out there circulating in public places ... those guns … will be used.”
Like vaccine skepticism or climate change resistance, Second Amendment absolutism has become a kind of religion for many conservatives, including those on the Supreme Court, and its noxious power is now wafting across our borders.
Things are falling apart, almost everywhere you look. And unless righteous souls mobilize to change this picture, today’s dread will become tomorrow’s ever-deepening darkness.