Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearings Were Trump’s America In A Nutshell
Time permitting; I watch quite a bit of reality television. I’m partial to the Love & Hip Hop series that VH1 and Mona Scott-Young so graciously stream into my living room on Monday nights. You’ll never find me defending the shenanigans of anybody on the show; for me, it exists as a form of mindless entertainment and doubles as a way for me to know which kind of furniture and glassware is strongest when being hurled from various distances across rooms. While I’ve yet to purchase anything I’ve seen maintain its structure after violence on the show, durability is next to Godliness. Or something.
Unfortunately, and in real life, the Senate confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated by immature imbecile – your President-Elect and mine – Donald Trump, for the position of Attorney General of the United States of America, reminded me a lot of Love & Hip Hop, or anywhere else fuckshit goes to thrive, flourish, and prosper.
I decided to watch both days’ hearings. I can’t pretend to previously have known a whole lot about Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III, despite him hailing from the state in which I attended high school. But today, it doesn’t take much to find out as much as you need to know. If you read enough articles you’ll realize that Sessions has a checkered past when it comes to race relations in his professional capacity. A lot of those attitudes and activities manifested over 30 years ago, so it’s entirely possible that those attitudes and mentality have shifted. Shit, even George Wallace, famed racist-ass governer of Alabama, who famously stated “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever” and who symbolically “Stood in the Schoolhouse Door” to protest the enrollment of Black students at the University of Alabama, eventually rolled back his racist views and apologized to African-Americans. It seems that maybe a leopard can change his spots with time. So maybe Sessions isn’t whitefolkin’ as much as he used to.
That’s not what’s at issue to me. It’s pretty clear that Sessions will be confirmed as the next Attorney General. Considering how raucous his hearings were and who testified for and against, and how, its nearly a mirror for what’s wrong with America right now.
For starters, people were actually KICKED OUT of his hearing. Some clever individuals came dressed as KKK members and had to be escorted out. Others brought signs and yelled. When you have people protesting you at confirmation hearings, coming in full garb, the powers that be should take notice.
Consider who typically was in favor of and who was against. There was an entire panel of Black people, with three individuals clearly sought out to give personal praise to Jeff Sessions and might very well be the only Black people who feel this way in America. One individual, a staffer to Sessions, praised him as making his staff look good and seemingly prepared his remarks RIGHT before testifying. The argument about knowing the heart of the man versus what you think about the man was driven home a few times.
And I think that’s pure shit. Senator Cory Booker, famously breaking decorum and testifying against a sitting colleague, and Rep. John Lewis, both spoke about race and how Sessions nomination was effectively a slap in the face towards positive race relations. The panel before that one featured the white head of the Fraternal Order of Police (clearly on Sessions side) and an odd Black man with a bad mustache (among others) who basically called the Congressional Black Caucus full of shit, BUT also featured Amita Swadhin, a Indian-American sexual assault victim who was absolutely troubled by both Trump’s statements about grabbing women by the *CENSORED* and Sessions dismissal of said statements as both NOT sexual assault OR a big deal.
And to make that even more fucked up, the hearings caused one Alabama Congressman, Mo Brooks, to state this:
“It’s really about political power and racial division and what I refer to, on occasion, as the ‘war on whites,’
Well, that’s not loaded language. At all. And Mo, there’s no damn war on whites.
No white people want to be called racist. What you saw on Tuesday, specifically, was a bunch of old, rich white men who probably hold similar views being offended for Jeff Sessions and coming to the defense of their friend and colleague. To them, it’s impossible that any of his rhetoric, action, or record could be in any way damaging to minorities (or humanity), because he’s a good man and a joy to work with according to people who have never been on the barrel end of his decision making. And likely won’t be on that end of his decision making when he’s the Attorney General.
Sen. Al Franken, went so far as to basically accuse him of being the Puff Daddy of State U.S. attorneys, pointed out that on his list of 10 most important cases, several attorneys who worked the cases said that Sessions basically just put a ring on it and never substantively worked on any of those cases. Sessions basically threw his name on the beat and took the credit for producing the song. THEN went so far as to name it one of his greatest beats ever. A few times over.
Minorities and people of color have been complaining for eons about privilege and our reality, where the voices and opinions of the people most adversely affected by that privilege aren’t heard. Trump’s victory proved that beyond the shadow of a doubt. But to hold hearings for somebody who is going to be central towards the work of justice for all in the United States and to have so many people opposed who are all clearly minorities shows exactly the problem we have.
Certain White folks continue to whitefolk, and those in power and privilege don’t give a fuck about what people who don’t look like them have to say or think.
How can you confirm somebody that SO many people have very real, grave, and logical issues with? How does make sense?
One Senator went so far as to say that Sessions voted on over 6,000 pieces of legislation during his tenure and these people were focused on only a few. When those few are the ones with the furthest reaching effects and are most damaging to minorities and people of color, absolutely. It’s just a damn shame that these elected individuals in Congress aren’t smart enough to realize it. How you claim Obama created a partisan and racial divide in America and then hold a hearing where the minorities’ voices will be soundly ignored is hypocrisy of the highest order.
But, it’s hard to hear that over all the whitefolkin’.