Archive for category Sonia Sotomayor
I suspect many of you have read this already, it seems to be everywhere, but Fox “News” in an attempt to become even less relevant, is still allowing Glenn Beck to open his mouth.
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I recently saw a documentary about the Last Jews of Libya. Told through the story of a single family – the Roumani family – and their experiences both in Libya and after leaving the nation. The facts are simple enough – at the end of World War Two, Libya had a Shephardic Jewish community of some 36,000 people that dated back some 2500 years. The Jewish community of Libya was located primarily in Benghazi and Tripoli.
Seeing the photos and images of the Jewish community from before they were chased out, I was struck by comfortable modernity of their community and identity. I found myself reflecting on the paradoxical gifts of the Jewish diaspora. Throughout the last two millenia, Jews were forced to live simultaneously in but not of, much of western civilization. The result was a uniquely vital culture, one sustained by self-awareness of the history, of one’s separateness but also one’s ongoing membership in a centuries old way of being in the world. Judaism embraces a deep sense of faith, of humanism and intellectual restlessness, of inquiry and passion, yet rooted in identity that is at times painfully separate from place. Throughout the film, the family members reflect on the sense of knowing that the place in which you were born and raised is not in fact the place you can call home. Members of the Roumani family immigrated to the US in the 1960s and have built a life here. The film concluded with the celebration at a synagogue of the family’s newest member – a wondrously diverse celebration.
What, you may wonder, does that have to do with Sonia Sotomayor? Well simply this: The US is not and has never been intended to be a nation of a single race, religion, ethnicity or identity. Instead, we as a nation have always been intended to be a nation bound by Enlightenment ideals – to borrow a phrase, that all persons are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our national organization is a republic – in which the government may be elected by the majority but the rights of minorities are nevertheless intended to be protected by the government. The government’s role is not to preserve a specific set of morals or a religious tradition. The nightmare of the US is our history of racism, the great dream of the US is a thriving, peaceful, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-faith society.
When figures on the right are screaming their insane and false accusation that Sotomayor is a racist, they are missing the point. Sotomayor’s statements are common sense – who you are and what you have experienced shape your outlook. And a wise person knows that. Insane attacks on La Raza as a Latino KKK are uninformed and laughable. They are also dangerous not because they are wrong and loud, but because they poison the public debate.
I know very little about Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but we will certainly be hearing a great deal from the right-wing noise machine in the coming days. They are already calling her an “activist” judge. No surprise. Here’s just a bit of what is in the news today:
Judge Sotomayor has sat for the last 11 years on the federal appeals bench in Manhattan. As the top federal appeals court in the nation’s commercial center, the court is known in particular for its expertise in corporate and securities law. For six years before that, she was a federal district judge in New York.
In what may be her best-known ruling, Judge Sotomayor issued an injunction against major league baseball owners in April 1995, effectively ending a baseball strike of nearly eight months, the longest work stoppage in professional sports history, which had led to the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.