No Pity for the Kitty (Part 2 of 3)


“Honored to escort Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Capitol for meetings with members of the Senate. We hope and trust that the Senate will give a strong vote confirming Judge Kavanaugh as the newest justice to the Supreme Court.” — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence via Twitter, 10 July 2018. (Credit: Office of the Vice President)

Don’t. Ever. Pity. The Very Rich.

Save your pity, if you have any to spare, for the poor and helpless.

Upon listening to the accusations of Professor Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, clown Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee exploded in howls of outrage and crocodile tears. How could anyone question Kavanaugh’s character and soil his good name? How unfair that his family suffered! The clown Democratic members of the Committee were bamboozled with the promise of an FBI investigation of Kavanaugh—a sham process that served only to provide political cover for senators (namely Flake and Collins) who masqueraded as undecided until the day of the final vote. The decision was never in question: Kavanaugh’s passage to the Supreme Court was only delayed, never imperiled by Blasey Ford’s allegations.

“Every left/right political clash,” wrote Antonio García Martínez, “devolves into a re-enactment of Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and the Spanish Civil War. The left consumes itself in infighting and ideological purity tests, and the right, united behind flag and church, marches right through them.”[1]


Devils pouring gold coins from hat into woman’s apron and boy’s hat, 1870. (Credit: Buffalo : Warren, Johnson & Co. Designers, Engravers and Printers)

The myth of “a treasure bringing evil to the people who find it” is a landmark of our cultural heritage.[2] From the Golden Calf of the Children of Israel, to the end of the Beowulf saga, to Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung, to John Huston’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the moral of the story is that ill-gained treasure brings calamity upon those who seize it. The Faustus legend adds a bargain and a demonic touch to the story: in exchange for riches, wealth and power until death, a person hands over his/her soul to the devil (usually reluctantly) for all eternity at the final hour.

We have a long history of Bargains with the Devil in the United States. It is practically a national pastime, for the Devil has claimed the country as a favorite dwelling. When Daniel Webster defended Jabez Stone for the ironclad contract his client had signed with the Devil (Mr. Scratch), the following dialogue ensued:

[Webster]: Mr. Stone is an American citizen, and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince….

[Scratch]: And who calls me a foreigner?… When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on her deck. Am I not in your books and stories and beliefs, from the first settlements on? Am I not spoken of, still, in every church in New England?[3]

And in every case, as any Puerto Rican jíbaro can tell you, “what belongs to the devil turns to salt and water.”


“Satan, Don’t Get Thee Behind Me!” – Any Thing to get Possession. Political cartoon from 1872. (Credit: Cornell University Collection of Political Americana, Cornell University Library)

Fair enough. But when Blasey Ford is ignored and Kavanaugh passes on to the Supreme Court, should I spend any amount of vital energy—as Republicans have wished—commiserating with him, being outraged for him, or worrying about the fate of his family? No Republican Judiciary Committee member offered Blasey Ford the decency of a direct exchange of words.

I will reserve my empathy—there is only a limited amount of it, after all—for the Spanish American children that Trump and his allies, partisans and enablers (Kavanaugh included) have imprisoned in cages as if they were dangerous animals, without a care or prayer.

I wish no harm, but will waste no tears on the anxieties of his (what was the word used by Orrin Hatch to describe Blasey Ford? ah yes!) “pleasing” wife, or concern myself with the welfare of his daughters or his girls’ basketball team. I would rather grieve for the sorrows of mothers of young black men assassinated in our streets. If I were to do anything at all, I would attend to hungry children without health care, look out for the plight of the homeless, address the despair of military veterans, and attend the undeveloped potential of poor children in America.

What harm has been done to a man ensconced in the US Supreme Court? One who would have returned to a lifetime appointment in Federal Court had he not been confirmed by the US Senate?

As always, our prescient guide is Bernard Shaw, who wrote in his Preface to Major Barbara, “If there is to be no punishment there can be no forgiveness.” [4]


(to be continued)

1024px-Treasure_of_the_Sierra_Madre_(film)_1948_-_photo_gallery1 (1)

Treasure of Sierra Madre (film) – 1948 Movie still. (Credit: Warner Brothers Studios)

[1] Tweet on 10/12/2018.

[2] Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), 51.

[3] Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster in The United States in Literature (Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foreman and Co., 1968), 497.

[4] Bernard Shaw, “Preface” to Major Barbara (New York: Penguin Books, 1981), 48.

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