By Vincent L. Hall
Bill Barr, America’s top cop and Donald Trump’s faithful Saint Bernard, is a greater threat to the “American Experiment” as his boss. Everyone knows that Trump is two floors short of being out of his mind, but the more reserved and refined Barr makes Trump appear credible. But rewind the tape and listen to his bullshit comments and innuendo. He’s about as ignorant as Donald Trump. Barr just looks, sounds, and portrays a more intellectually steeped racist and power monger. This week he inferred that the economic shutdowns meant to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus were the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” in U.S. history “other than slavery.” If White folks can’t find any more heinous comparison than slavery, how can they spout “Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny within the same sentence? Slavery was the vilest and most vicious form of humanity known to mankind. In other words, Kim Jung Un ain’t got nothing on America.
An article on the CNN website puts slavery in terms that most Americans have rarely considered. She brought slavery to terms that money-grubbers like Trump should comprehend. “Isabel Wilkerson puts it in her new book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” “The institution of slavery was, for a quarter of a millennium, the conversion of human beings into currency, into machines which existed solely for the profit of their owners, to be worked as long as the owners desired, who had no rights over their bodies or loved ones.” In this system, African captives “could be mortgaged, bred, won in a bet, given as wedding presents, bequeathed to heirs, sold away from spouses or children to cover an owner’s debt or to spite a rival or to settle an estate.”
She didn’t even get to the physical, mental, and spiritual horrors that America slaves endured. America suffers from spells of amnesia and dementia, but she will never outlive the stain she put on all of humanity. Barr’s comments on the recent police killings of Black men prove that he suffers from historical Alzheimer’s. “No, I don’t think there are two justice systems. You know, I think the narrative that the police are on some, you know, epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men is simply a false narrative and also the narrative that’s based on race.” The false narrative is Barr’s recital of statements that have no basis in fact. If the statistics don’t bear out the epidemic, the camera phone and bodycam video indeed do. Too many videos capture White folks who fight with the police and live to make bail. Meanwhile, a disproportionate number of Black families are forced to make burial arrangements.
Espousing that the “lockdown” was an encumbrance to civil liberties mirror Trump’s demonization of masks. Rather than regarding science and valuing lives, Barr and Trump’s only value is political gain and the extension of White privilege. CBS News posted a counter to Barr’s lie. “Since the coronavirus first slammed the brakes on the U.S. economy in March, policymakers have tried to weigh the cost of keeping people safe. A group of economists has compared these scenarios in a working paper issued earlier this month and come down squarely on the side of the shutdown: Closing down the economy saved between 900,000 and 2.7 million U.S. lives.” Barr and Trump don’t care that the shutdown saved three million funerals, cremations, or interments. They have no respect for the descendants of four million slaves that were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Distorting history to gain the confidence of Donald Trump is a low bar, but Bill is up to that job!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and award-winning columnist.