I have always loved and believed in the power of words. In my youth, I was amazed at the emotional response to our (so-called) “Negro” leaders. Orators like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., my friend Dick Gregory and a myriad of others spoke messages of practical importance, in their day, which now serve to benefit us in the present with enduring relevance.
Words are powerful. I often call them the weapons of the literate. An orator’s understanding of words and the ability to communicate their true, in-depth meaning to the masses has been the origin of many historical events. An ever-memorable example is Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
A word for today’s discussion which captures the “soul” of events that are current to the U.S. experience is ANTIPATHY. It is defined as (1) a strong feeling of dislike and (2) an object of aversion. Whether expressed by a disregard for the physical and/or emotional welfare of a person or thing, or reflected by an overt assault, antipathy results in a negative outcome for the intended target. For ease of explanation of description, I have always equated antipathy with the attitude of intense dislike (hatred) in concert with conduct and behavior which clearly demonstrates that disdain.
Antipathy against “The Rule of Law” is clear evidence of disdain for all of us who must live and abide by its guidance. The recent rulings of federal Judge Aileen Cannon discredit the entire judicial system and subvert confidence in subsequent judgments. Republican and Democratic legal analysts alike have characterized her rulings as favoring Trump in his classified document scandal and contradicting the principle of “no one being above the law.” Moreover, national security has been subordinated to the needs/interests of a failed president.
Some consider SCOTUS’ overturning Roe v. Wade as simply an attack on women. Others understand the decision as expressing antipathy for the privacy rights of all. The often-heard term “slippery slope” clearly describes what this decision has placed us on. We are well beyond an erosion of privacy rights and now face direct assaults upon them.
The lack of clean water in Jackson, Miss., clearly illustrates the antipathy which fuels the disparate funding resources for a majority-minority city. For years, Jackson has suffered under the specter of failing (water) infrastructure. There is no justification for a state capital or a city as large as Jackson to operate under a “boil water” order since July. Instead of addressing this problem which will only worsen with age, Jackson has been ignored while the interests of surrounding ‘white’ suburbs have been met with the use of available financial resources.
An egregious demonstration of antipathy is illustrated by the actions of two southern, Republican governors — Abbott of Texas and DeSantis of Florida. Each has decided to unceremoniously ship “undesirable” economic refugees to northern jurisdictions in what has been described as a major political stunt. Stunt or not, these actions have been taken with complete disregard for the ultimate welfare of the affected men, women and children. I can only suggest that these two Bible-thumping governors refresh their understanding of the admonition in Matthew 25:40.
Even more horrifying is the fact that these two Republican governors have expressed presidential aspirations. Like the last Republican to hold the office, they each wish to bring and infect the nation with their own brand of duplicity, disorder, disruption and antipathy. They have accepted the belief that political power and control can best be sustained in a state or country in chaos. At least for the near future, we, the people, have the ability to resist. For the remainder of our lives and for the future of our children, we must reject the hatred that will, if allowed, overwhelm us.