Updated: Apr 15
America is broken. We have a murder, captured live on camera, yet the legal system allows the alleged murderer to argue whether we should believe our eyes. We have an election system, where the losers are attempting to prevent people from participating in their Constitutional rights.
And, speaking of Constitutional rights, we have Second Amendment advocates claiming their rights are being violated because President Biden is proposing to end protections that gun manufacturers enjoy if their products are used in the commission of a felony.
Yes, America is indeed broken.
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The Derek Chauvin Trial
There is nary a person who hasn’t seen the video of George Floyd begging for his life as Derek Chauvin continued to kneel on his neck, literally squeezing the life out of him. Yet despite this overwhelming evidence, the American judicial system still allows Chauvin to mount a defense, even if the acts are blatantly indefensible.
Yes, the American judicial system is broken. Based upon English law, the burden of proof in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused is based upon the prosecution establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. While that does not mean beyond ALL doubt, it can be the mindset of a single juror that can determine the outcome of a case.
Therefore, it is the role of the defense to show, not that their client is innocent, but only to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. By giving alternative theories and sowing confusion, many presumed guilty parties have been let off by fast-talking lawyers who were able to muddle the facts.
Given the penchant for those on the right to believe conspiracy theories over facts, Chauvin could indeed be acquitted. In some misguided attempt to support “Blue Lives” over justice, a lone juror could result in a hung jury. Yes, despite overwhelming evidence, Derek Chauvin could indeed go free.
Our judicial system is broken.
The results of the 2020 elections were a mixed bag. While Donald Trump lost the White House and Republicans lost their majority in the Senate, Republicans gained ground in the House of Representatives and in a majority of state houses.
Despite these gains, Republicans are launching multiple efforts to restrict voting in future elections based upon “The Big Lie”. With Republicans in control of a a majority of state legislatures, they are seeking to gain political advantage by restricting the right to vote, primarily in minority areas were Democrats were successful in 2020.
Through gerrymandering, limiting early or mail-in ballots, voter drop box access, allowing state governments to overturn election results and even refusing to allow those who must stand in line for hours due to limited polling places from receiving water, Republicans are seeking to suppress voter participation by making it more difficult to cast ballots.
These actions are an anathema to a participatory democracy and a direct response to Donald Trump’s repeated false claims of “a stolen election”. Instead, they are a blatant attempt to rig future elections in favor of Republicans. They are also an attempt to appease Trump supporters and ensure their support in future elections.
Republicans counter that they are addressing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud while launching so-called “election integrity brigades” in predominantly minority districts. While their stated goal is to monitor areas where perceived “fraud is occurring”, they are being placed in districts that have a primarily minority population. Contrary to their stated purpose, the placement of these “poll watchers” is nothing short of voter intimidation.
Republicans also oppose efforts by the federal government to institute nationwide voter standards. The For the People Act would eliminate gerrymandering, improve election integrity, expand voter registration and address campaign finance reform. These efforts are being portrayed as overreach by the federal government over state’s rights.
And finally, Republicans are calling for a boycott of companies and organizations that are protesting their efforts at voter suppression. Coca Cola, Delta Airlines and even Major League Baseball have taken steps to counter these provisions while Republicans have threatened these businesses with political retaliation. The hypocrisy of their claims of “cancel culture” remains lost on them.
The electoral system is broken.
The Second Amendment
America. The Land of the Free. So why, if America is such a desirable destination is the United States ranked among the most dangerous countries in the world for international travelers? The answer lies in the fact that our nation ranks among the highest when it comes to gun violence. In fact, there are more guns than people in this country. Since not every American owns a gun, it is logical to assume that many Americans own multiple firearms.
When restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic began easing, there was also an increase in gun violence. In response to this, and to fulfill a campaign promise, President Biden issued an Executive Order aimed at stemming gun violence. While many gun control advocates claim these measures fall far short his campaign promises, it also demonstrates the limits of executive authority when it comes to regulating firearms.
Predictably, Republicans claim these measures violate Second Amendment protections as well as being executive overreach. However, it is a provision not in the Executive Order that is causing Republicans the most concern. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which largely protects gun manufacturers from liability has been a target of Biden since his days in the Senate. Holding gun manufacturers liable for injuries or deaths could spell the death knell for the gun industry, according to some experts.
The argument that the Second Amendment gives anyone the right to unlimited firearms has long been disputed. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger argued that the intent of the Founding Fathers in writing the amendment was not to promote the current gun culture of ammosexuals, but to ensure that a state militia would be well armed in case of invasion by a foreign power.
Of course, the gun lobby, led by the NRA, disputes this and is pointing to President Biden’s Executive Order to repeat its usual scare tactic that “Democrats are coming for your guns”.
The Second Amendment is broken.
There are so many other things that require fixing in our nation. Addressing climate change, the pandemic, infrastructure, immigration reform, financial inequities and healthcare are among the current pressing issues. And certainly the future will present more problems. It’s how we face these problems that will tell if we are to survive as a country.