The still Mississippi courtroom was suspended in a silence that can only be accompanied by prayer when Mose Wright rose from his chair. He stood slowly, as if his 64-year-old back were being unbent by something up in heavens and pointed his unshaking Black hand.
“There he is,” he said, pointing at the white man whose hate-filled eyes glowered back at back across the courtroom.
But Mose did not lower his arm. He slid his arm slightly to the right and aimed his cotton-picking, murder-identifying hand toward the lie-spewing woman whose words had killed his great-nephew. Unlike her husband, she did not look at Mose. Maybe there was something in her lap. Perhaps it was shame.
“And there she is,” Mose continued before calmly retaking his seat on the witness stand.
During the closing arguments, a defense lawyer told the all-white jury that he was “sure every last Anglo-Saxon one of you has the courage to free these men.” Before Mose took the stand on that late September 1955 afternoon, no Black man had ever testified to the guilt of a white man in the entire history of the state of Mississippi. Mose Wright, an eyewitness to the murder and abduction of his 14-year-old great-nephew, had not only pointed out the murderers in court, but he had publicly identified the woman who was responsible.
When the jury acquitted J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant after deliberating for 67 minutes, a reporter asked Carolyn Bryant how she felt after being publicly accused of causing the murder of Emmett Till. This time, she felt no need to lower her head. She looked the reporter in his eyes and replied.
“I feel fine.”
“Everyday Arizonans are focused on questions that matter most in their daily lives,” wrote Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in an op-ed for Monday’s Washington Post explaining why “we have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster.”
“Is my job secure?” Sinema continued. “Can I expand my business? Can we afford college? What about health care? When can I retire? Is my community safe? Meanwhile, much of Washington’s focus is on a Senate rule requiring 60 votes to advance most legislation.”
Wait...is this the lady who did the white Electric Slide (I think it’s called the “Achy Breaky Heart”) after voting against the minimum wage, or is this the SNL cast member? Is this the one who voted against a commission to look into the Jan. 6 insurrection or Anna from Frozen? Didn’t she vote to confirm Bill Barr as attorney general or did she curve Peter Parker? I get my white women mixed up. Kyrsten Sinema, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Bell, Kristen Wiig...You know, they all look alike.
Kyrsten Sinema is a white woman.
No, she is the perfect white woman. As the first openly bisexual senator, she represents marginalized communities but waffled on whether she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Half of her votes supported Donald Trump policies, a rate higher than any current Senate Democrat.
She has recounted her ever-changing story of how she lived in an abandoned gas station with no electricity or water even though court documents show her father paid a light bill and a water bill. According to the Washington Post, Sinema’s relatives say she fabricated the story because it “tugs at people’s heartstrings and that was what she was going for, but, you know, it’s not the truth.”
But Kyrsten Sinema is a white woman.
I assume Sinema’s op-ed was aimed at white women. Or, perhaps her Avril Lavigne-ish angst-filled open letter was addressed to white people in general because–excuse me while I switch to italics to express my fuckyouness–how the fuck would Kyrsten Lea Sinema know what the fuck Black people have to lose?
“It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold,” wrote Sinema, before explaining that bipartisanship is “the best way to achieve durable, lasting results.” Apparently, Sinema has no qualms with the filibuster being used to stymie police reform, halt civil rights legislation and embolden white supremacy in general, nor should anyone expect her to care.
When the esteemed gentlewoman from Karenzona says her “support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy” but “what is best for our democracy,” she conveniently forgets that the filibuster is the only thing standing between Black people and her democracy.
Democracy is not ours because Senator “Fuckyall” is grasping for some invisible specter of bipartisanship that the other side of the aisle has given no indication they are willing to accept or acknowledge. Still, Sinema believes this arcane tool of white supremacy must be preserved because, as she writes:
Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?
This question is less about the immediate results from any of these Democratic or Republican goals — it is the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government.
Senator Sinema is essentially asking: “Would it be good for our country to use democracy to save our democracy if they came back a few years later and tried to steal it again?” Is that supposed to be a serious question? This woman’s job is to make laws. Laws are what prevent people from doing whatever they want.
If her biggest fear is that laws can be repealed, why doesn’t she just vote against every bill? Why would she eat if she’s just going to be hungry again? Why take medicine if you might get sick again? Why breathe if you’re going to die anyway? Perhaps the only way to counter this asinine argument that could only emerge from a mind that has no clue about the history of whiteness is to ask another complexly worded question:
When has this country ever stopped attacking Black people’s voting rights? When has this country ever not tried to erase progress with “repeated radical reversals in federal policy?” When has the filibuster not been used to carry out those attacks? When have Black people not felt “uncertainty?” When was this glorious era that was devoid of division? And when the fuck did any marginalized group ever have an abundance of confidence in our government.
Oh wait, I almost forgot...
The only way Simena’s party can possibly maintain their Senate majority is if Black people have access to the polls. The only way Black people will have access to the polls is to strengthen voting rights. The only way–and this is the important part–the only way to strengthen voting rights is to alter or abolish the filibuster. It is the legislative barrier standing between Black people and democracy.
This is the biggest hole in Sinema’s incoherent logic. She assumes, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, that Republicans will play fair. Her entire bad faith argument is based on the fact that Republicans won’t use the filibuster if they regain control of the Senate. The only way a sentient human being would say such a thing is if they were lying or didn’t care.
But how could Sinema not care? It’s not like she votes with the opposition, supports their political policies or proudly expresses public displays of pleasure when she votes to further impoverish her–
Sinema’s argument is that the filibuster should exist because it has always existed...
Like Kyrsten Sinema.
She might not be a killer, but she is one of “them.”
They are the preservers of white supremacy. They are the ones who would bind our children’s hands with barbed wire and toss them in the river. Those who blindly support the system are also at fault. Those who ignore our eyewitness testimony are just as responsible for the persistence of injustice. These are the kinds of people who would look us in the eye and proudly proclaim their willingness to uphold the murderous Anglo-Saxon status quo.
...And there she is.
I’m sure she feels fine.