John Roberts, he of the supercilious drug-store cowboy smirk, has reassured Americans that this is a different country from the United States of 1965.
In those bad old days we had George Wallace and Ross Barnett and Bull Connor standing in front of universities and bridges and other public places to represent their side.
Now we have Mitch McConnell blinking in the glare and doing that lisping thing he does when he is being evasive and using the new mantra of the latter-day Wallaces: The country is different now. Count on hearing that a lot.
To quote another worthy, Clarence Thomas, now it’s done high-tech.
Now it’s done state-by-state by demanding more identification from the marginal and the mobile. Show us your papers, please. Watching the lines at the last election, gee, always in the poorer neighborhoods, was a throwback to the back of the bus. Now the Supreme Court has voiced its approval, with the chief justice saying “Our country has changed.”
In some ways, yes, it has. There were the two victories for gay rights on Wednesday. And when I turn on the television, I find prophetic voices like Melissa Harris-Perry and Joy Reid on MSNBC and two of the finest members of the House, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and John Lewis of Georgia.
Lewis said the Tuesday decision was a “dagger” in the heart of a movement. He has the right to speak of violence, after being beaten nearly to death on March 7, 1965, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The struggle has been like a flame, leaving John Lewis strong and pure, a living testimony to better selves. He looked stricken the other night. The police beat him in 1965. Now in this different country, it’s done by lawyers and election officials, state by state.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.