Sunday, May 31, 2009

Breaking News: Sonia Sotomayor Is Not A White Male.

As of the most recent estimates (2008) there are around 305 million people in the U.S., of which only about 100 million are non-Hispanic white men, and 154 million are women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

That means that only about 33% of the population of the U.S. are non-Hispanic white men. Despite that, white men have 99% of the good jobs with the big paychecks, the golden parachutes, the titles and pensions and healthcare for life, the positions that dictate not only who will live and die, but who will eat or starve, who will see a doctor and who will not, whose suffering will be caused and whose will be relieved, who will have shelter, who will have food, who will be comforted. They not only are the majority of the faces on our TV news at night, but they own the TV News, along with the newspapers, radio stations, and magazines.

White men also have a disproportionate number of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. We have had exactly Zero female Presidents of the United States, although we certainly had a good deal of hoopla about how radical and amazing and wonderful our democracy is because we allowed one female to actually run for President this last go-round. We've had Zero female Vice Presidents. We have had zero female candidates for the Presidency on either of the two major political parties, and one female Vice President candidate on the ticket for either of the two major political parties. Ever.

Which is really just another way of saying that women are excluded from equal opportunity or participation in our society. That is throughout society, in every arena, every institution.

Once in awhile, perhaps because of a lull in the news, as a thoroughly inadequate token, a woman gets nominated or suggested or considered for one of the better jobs in our society, and then all hell breaks loose. The media, the boys who work at Rupert Murdoch's Whorehouse as well as the starched shirts at the prestigious high-brow media institutions such as the New York Times, all gang up together to pummel the woman.

We immediately hear, almost in the same breath as the announcement of her name, that she is not qualified. She never is -- women are just too stupid. (Given that George W. Bush, a white male, a moron, was President, I think white men might want to stay away from that whole "inherent intelligence" argument). We hear from the media that the female candidate is lacking in the necessary experience or background. She's not tough enough. If things get stressful, or confrontational, or there's too much pressure, she'll just break down weeping. She may have a nervous breakdown if she got the job because women are so sensitive. It's really not ladylike anyway. She doesn't have the mental acuity for the position. She wouldn't like it.

Then we hear the other side. She's a bitch. She's too overtly sexual, comes on to men, shows her cleavage during the day and her skirts are too tight and too short. Or she's ugly, doesn't bother to wear mascara or make herself up, dresses too matronly, isn't stylish, isn't pretty enough for the job, she's kind of a dog. She's a lesbian, or, if she's not, then she slept with all her (male) bosses to get the job. She's nasty, she's too tough, she's a ball-buster and a man-hater. Of she loves men and she's a slut. She's biased -- against somebody, and in favor of somebody else. She can't be trusted. She's not honest and, besides, her nanny is a little suspicious. What kind of a daughter/mother/wife is she with that level of ambition. It's unseemly for a mother to want a job with this much pressure outside the home, which means she'll neglect her children, and we don't want to do anything to break up the "family values" of our nation.

Here's what we know about Sonia Sotomayor. She's not a white male. That's it.

We know very little about her career, her personal beliefs to the extent they are mirrored in her judicial decisions. We know very little about her judicial record.

But we probably know enough to make some general statements. She's from the Bronx, she went to an Ivy League college and law school, and got good grades. She was a prosecutor in New York City, which is a job for somebody with political ambitions. It is also traditionally a conservative job, for people who want to put criminals into prison. Remember the prisons, the growth industry in our country, the new "affordable housing units" for our black and Hispanic male population, the "economic opportunity zones," for those unemployed males that our society does not want out on our streets. She worked to prosecute people, undoubtedly mostly non-white males, and put them in prison. So much for Solidary Forever or El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido.

Next she went to work for a private law firm in New York. I doubt they were representing indigent third world people fighting for their rights against corporate America. More likely she worked for corporations, representing their interests. Which are almost always against the interests of the majority.

Then she became a judge. The key criteria for becoming a judge is to be exceedingly political, almost more so than for somebody who wants to be a politician. To get a judge position, you have to suck up with great enthusiasm to the party leaders in your area, fund-raise and then fund-raise some more for the party, show you are loyal to party above all else, prove you are a conservative, party-line hack willing to support whatever the party says, support whatever politicians they run. Not a lot of anarchists end up getting the party's support to become a judge, but without the party's support, there is no chance of becoming a judge. This is true for both Democrats and Republicans. Only party-loyalists and fundraisers get the positions.

Once on the bench, her record is described as somewhat mixed -- possibly more liberal on some issues, possibly more conservative on others, generally middle-of-the-road.

So we know nothing about this woman beyond a biographical sketch that establishes one thing: she is pretty much like most of the other appellate-court level judges in the country, not right-wing and not left-wing, just somewhat in the middle.

Because her record and biography is not that exciting (if it was, she wouldn't be a judge) the media has to invent things to attack. And what the media has come up with is the old tried and true "she's female and therefore unqualified," with the bonus that "she's Hispanic and a racist." Because she has publicly stated before that her background as a Hispanic (Puerto Rican) female gives her a certain perspective on life that a white male does not have, the media calls her a racist.

God, I'm already so sick of this debate. She's not exciting, she is qualified. I'm not excited nor horrified about her nomination. Let's wait and see if anything more comes out that would justify either supporting her enthusiastically or opposing her. Until and unless that happens, let's move on. We need three more women on the court after her, and that assumes Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues in her position. We should have 5 female Supreme Court Justices because our country is over 50% female. So far in our history, we've had exactly two females ever sit on the Supreme Court. So let's get on with it. Confirm Sonia Sotomayor, stop participating in this nonsensical debate about her gender and ethnicity even deserving mention -- because it's irrelevant. Let's get back to ending the war and creating jobs and prosecuting the Wall Street Criminals who are destroying our economy.

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