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McConnell’s Dream of a Segregated U.S. Is Being Realized

McConnell’s Dream of a Segregated U.S. Is Being Realized

Ku Klux Klan rally

From their gilded perch, the ‘segregationist six” create an America only accessible to white, straight, wealthy Christians.

A year from now, America’s new catchphrase will be “You are not welcome.” It will be heard at colleges, storefronts, churches, restaurants, loan offices, bakeries, and Chick-fil-As, with a 21st-century spin of “access denied” on apps and websites. White, straight, wealthy Christians informing the poor, people of color, and queer, “You are not welcome.”

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s dream of a United States where colleges only admit and are only affordable to wealthy whites, businesses only serve straight Christians, and abortions are reserved for rich white women is being realized.

McConnell’s master plan to pack the court with mostly white, straight, pious religious purist jurists has paid off more than any bigot could ever imagine. McConnell watched Thomas obfuscate after the disaster of Robert Bork 30 years ago and used Thomas’s performance as an example for future nominees, and never looked back. He encouraged now-Justices Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett to stonewall on “hypotheticals” in their confirmation hearings, to defend precedent with their fingers crossed, and lie, cheat, and steal to get their seats.

And let's digress for a moment here. The so-called website designer was never approached by a gay couple. The case was brought by an extreme Christian right group -- I won't give the group the dignity of mentioning its name. The case was phony. The case was a hypothetical, and the justices who wouldn't answer questions about hypotheticals willingly ruled on one.

They also lied about precedent. They lied about not becoming “extreme legislators” from the court and about keeping their religious views to themselves. Thomas and Kavanaugh lied about their sexual harassment and dismissive treatment of women. Lying before Congress is a crime. Except for these Supreme Court justices, who are immune from being punished for any crime.

As quickly as they could, as lightning fast as Coney Barrett’s confirmation, they are tearing down precedent after precedent and leaving absolutely nothing in its place to rectify the damage these rulings are causing.

Overturning Roe has seen abortion laws become quagmires. Overturning affirmative action will leave admissions offices flailing while excluding Black people. And in the 303 Creative v. Elenis, ruling, the door is open – or in this case closed – for any business to deny the LGBTQ+ community its services or products.

The expression "Katy bar the door" has taken on an astronomical new meaning.

Anyone who is Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, or poor — or a combination of those groups — is heretofore banned from participating in American society according to the “segregationist six.” The rich and powerful are the only ones who matter. In some ways, it’s always been like this, but now it has been written into law. We are now the Segregated States of America.

In the last few days, some pundits have remarked that the court is taking us back to the 1950s, but that’s not true. This narrow-minded cast straight out of a prequel to TheHandmaid's Tale is taking us back to a time and place when women suffered mightily in silence, when queers were arrested and fired from their jobs, when Black people were severely discriminated against — and lynched.

Thomas was right 30 years ago. There is a “high-tech” lynching going on in the Segregated States, and it is Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, Gorsuch, and Roberts who are doing the lynching. They hung American equality from a tree, they collectively kicked the box out from under, and they will sit back and watch, gleefully, the noose choking America’s liberty and equality.

With affirmative action, Thomas is metaphorically standing at doorways at colleges and universities around the country, like racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace did in the 1960s, denying entry to any Black student who dares to try to enter. Thomas echoing Wallace’s separatist line, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

And taking being shut out to new heights, with the “gay website” ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out, “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.”

There was a time in America when marginalized groups were refused service. Signs hung that said "No Jews," and "No Black people." If those signs were put up today, it was cause an uproar. So will there be an uproar when signs start popping up that say "No queers"? Maybe to some, this will be a cruel — yet legal — joke.

The joke that is the premise of the affirmative action ruling is that we are all to be color-blind. That is rich coming from six justices who are more isolated from society physically and mentally than anyone else in this country. They have a severely warped perception of our society, and why wouldn’t they? Because they don’t care about our society, so much as it might include the poor, Black, and queer.

They cater to their wealthy patrons, lest they be miss out on exotic vacations, exclusive hunting trips, and extravagant bottles of wine.

The “segregationist six” only care about the white, straight, privileged, wealthy Christian conservatives whose money and manipulation put them in their exalted, isolated, lifetime seats, far and away, high and above, not within reach of what America is really all about.

How does a student write a college essay about race, as Roberts suggested, when race is off the table for consideration? This part alone explains everything you need to know about why the court scrapped precedents on affirmative action as fast as it could. Roberts puts the burden on the student, as if every Black student has a story about how they have overcome discrimination. To Roberts and his five fellow bigots, all Black people are all about “woe is me.”

And the court today validated what all the red states and extremists have been screeching as of late, that all queers are sinful, as if we cannot be queer and Christian at the same time. Only straight people’s Christianity is the right religion.

The Colorado website case could have been filed at the Vatican, and maybe the pious court did reach out to the Vatican and ask “How do you keep queers out of your pews? Reason being, we’re looking to do the same thing, albeit keep queers out of our store aisles here in the U.S.”

Gorsuch’s repugnant opinion included this zinger: “Colorado seeks to force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience.” What Gorsuch meant was that businesses should speak in ways that align with the court’s views and don’t defy its segregationist and exclusionary conscience.

Think about this, religion is mostly subjective. Jews, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Muslims and Catholics all worship in different ways. Does that mean only one is right and the rest are wrong? Is Gorsuch implying that Colorado believes in a different faith than the web designer? It makes absolutely no sense — none. Gorsuch in his opinion twists himself in knots with incoherent blabber trying to justify making it legal to discriminate against a marginalized group.

This morning I was reminded about a ridiculous story The New York Times wrote in 2017, titled “Gorsuch Not Easy to Pigeonhole on Gay Rights, Friends Say.” The farce of a story was about how Gorsuch had “gay friends.” As an aside, I hope that the "gay friends" of Gorsuch are one day turned away by a vendor and feel the sting of discrimination their "friend" has bestowed upon them.

The Times article was laughable in its simplicity, i.e., "I don’t have anything against gay people. I have a gay friend.” Which is exactly how Gorsuch and his lily-white, straight colleagues approached not only the website decision, but the affirmative action one as well — “I don’t have anything against Black people. I have a Black friend."

This backhanded slap likely rationalized their not-so-guilty consciences when making these exclusionary rulings. They must have said to themselves, “I can deny queers and Black people and the poor their rights because I have queer" — in this case, "queer" as an insult — "and Black friends and I’ll just write a check to the NAACP.”

President Biden was being kind Thursday when he said that this court isn’t normal. But that is wrong. What the court is trying to do by setting its own bigoted precedents is tell us what is — or should be — normal in American society. The justices have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiter of normal.

Sure, the court left itself some “outs” on its rulings, i.e., the website decision should only be about businesses that involve creative expression and messaging. But let’s be real and honest with ourselves, the average bigoted business owner won’t be aware of any of the small print in the ruling. To the contrary, they will be defiant about not adhering to this tiny slice of stipulation, even if they are aware of it.

Business owners who wish to deny queers will take this ruling as license to exclude queers, lawsuits be damned. And that’s what’s going to happen. The court now has closed the door on us but opened the door to a slew of litigation that will seek to justify exclusionary actions by business owners. The court, in trying to delineate, only stoked a fire of provocation.

What today’s decision did was validate not only homophobia but hate. Most people don’t dig deep into these decisions. They see the headlines, they see “doesn’t have to serve gays,” and the average person comes away with the impression that it’s OK to exclude queers. Pundits and analysts will be tripping over themselves trying to “examine” this ruling — and the other decisions. But the bottom line is this: Despite the court’s approval ratings at a record low, people generally accept that the court has the final say.

That’s where President Biden is putting his faith — that the American people, while they may see this as the court’s final decision, will move forward by doing the right thing. We can only hope — and fervently pray this happens. And in terms of the 2024 election, we might be looking back on how this week underscored the extremism of the Republican Party. Biden can say he tried with student loans, but it was conservatives who are making you pay those large sums of money. And most moderates and independents agree that you shouldn't discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.

In the meantime, how do we as a community move forward? Do we hate too? Do we prohibit straight people from entering our homes, our bars, our restaurants, our places of worship? Is that how we retaliate? Do we wear pink triangles, not in a way to let people know that they can exclude us, but in defiance to dare them to do so? What comes next for us since we are clearly in the court's crosshairs?

It looks stunningly obvious that this time next year, on the last day of June, late in the day, the court will release a ruling nullifying marriage equality. Then fictitious web designers won't even have to worry about turning away gay couples wanting to get married, because nuptials between same-sex couples will be illegal.

Similarly, do Black students or poor students not plan to study beyond high school because there’s no hope or finance structure that allows them the opportunity for a higher education? Will we be left with rich white people filling graduation seats, while Black people or the poor clean up the mess they left behind? Picking up those frivolously discarded graduation caps?

The court's not done with Black people. Watch the "segregationist six" weasel their way to ripping apart the Voting Rights Act.

How will the mess of this Supreme Court ever be rectified? In the ensuing years, will we watch more doors close for marginalized communities? Will future rulings put each of us in a separate silo, rich, white, religious, straight up here, the poor, Black people, queers down there?

Today, and for a while, we will have so much anger at Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett and Roberts — the “segregationist six.” It’s likely they will continue to divide our society in the years ahead; however, we must remember that the grand wizard of this vile segregation is Mitch McConnell, who as Senate majority leader blocked President Obama's effort to appoint a justice late in his term but allowed Donald Trump's. His torch lights the fire that is burning equality in America.

When we can’t pay off our student loans, get into a good school, or walk into a store with our same-sex partner, let’s remember that it is McConnell who is responsible for the exclamation “You’re not welcome here.”

John Casey is a senior editor at The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.