A prematurely old man limped onto on his bench in a cold, damp courtroom this weekend listening to an equally enervated prosecutor behind him whose grotesque mole finally shown as his pandemic mask slid too far down his cheek.
The social and cultural debauchery of the last four years in America has revealed all its moles. The UK judge rejected the old prosecutors’ appeal to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, because America’s prison system is “oppressive.”
“The judge blocked the request because of concerns over Mr Assange’s mental health,” explains Kenya’s national broadcaster today.
“District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected allegations that Assange is being prosecuted for political reasons or would not receive a fair trial in the United States. But she said his precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions” of American imprisonment, according to the AP.
American prisons haven’t changed that much in the last four years, but like the old prosecutors’ moles the last four years have revealed them to the world.
Like so many things in America, incarcerating more people per capita than any other society on earth in conditions that in some states begin to rival the prisons of the Holocaust was overlooked or given a pass by much of the rest of the world. Until now.
Racism, homophobia, voter suppression, mafia-ism, corporate greed – all overlooked because … why?
Usually the refrain was the purity of our democracy. Or the innovations that arose from our extreme liberties. Or the potential to become better through hard work.
The blind-eye created a two dimensional view of the world. America was right and Zimbabwe or Cambodia or Bolivia was wrong. The “barbarians” and “dictators” strewn across the unreligious world were the cause of the world’s poverty and ignorance.
America’s generosity and compassion and empathy would prevail.
But the masks have slipped off America’s grand lies. The moles, one by one, are being revealed:
“Fifty million Americans live on incomes below the federal poverty level, including one in every four children,” the respected organization Oxfam recently headlined to its donors.
That’s right. A call to donate to America.
South Africa’s Global Advisors reminded its readers this weekend of the serious political coup and civil war in Oklahoma in 1923:
“Nearly a century later, the media are reporting that Donald Trump’s continuing and ongoing threats to a peaceful transition of power are unprecedented in American history,” the publication continues. “But Americans don’t have to look overseas for antecedents of political coups. They can look at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 1923.”
The KKK staged a coup that led to actual war, with the governor surrounding the capital with barbed wire. National guard and Klansmen fired machine guns at each other. The Klan nearly won. The Governor promised to pardon every soldier who killed a Klansman “on or off duty.”
Inhumane prisons. Poverty. Coups. Racism.
Who would have imagined that America’s closest ally, Britain, would deny extradition to a man who put so many Americans at risk? Who would have imagined that that ally would not question the wrongs done but rather, that America had no humane prison to hold the accused?
Democracy? Electoral College? Voting Restrictions? “Certification” challenges up the whazoo? Congressional Certification? Who knows what else my vote, my choice, has to be filtered through.
The moles were clothed over, suppressed by artists and wiped out by Photoshop for my entire life time. Trump has ripped off the coverings, revealed the faults, displayed the antiquities or maybe even mistakes of our aged constitution.
Now if given the chance will we do anything about it?