Let’s Watch Kamala Harris Slap John Cornyn Upside The Head For Five Minutes
Senate Republicans offered a piddly-ass bill that gently, but not too strongly, encouraged police departments to “revise their practices," which in a total coincidence keep resulting in dead Black folks. The police have proven no more capable of voluntarily reforming themselves than Keith Richards in the 1970s, so Senate Democrats blocked the bill today. Republicans are aghast: “But we thought you wanted meaningless reform that changes nothing but will make us look slightly less racist during an election year?"
The gentlewoman from California wasn't having it. Kamala Harris said the Senate can't pass a “police reform bill" that doesn't reasonably address the concerns of Black people, who the police are killing ... a lot. If Kamala's a cop, this was some hardcore “cop-on-cop" crime.
Kamala Harris schools John Cornyn on police reform www.youtube.com
Republicans wanted to slap South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's smiling face on their raggedy-ass bill like it's a pancake syrup, but the bill didn't even remove the "qualified immunity" that shields police from murder-related lawsuits or impose new federal restrictions on lethal force (like, please stop doing it so much). The most it could muster was a "penalty" of less free money for police departments that don't require the use of body cameras. I think cops would gladly pay you Tuesday for not incriminating themselves today.
From the Washington Post:
The [bill] withholds federal grants to state and local law enforcement agencies that don't proactively bar the practice of chokeholds. It also calls on states and localities to report to the Justice Department when so-called "no-knock warrants" are used, and it would punish those that do not do so by withholding federal funding.
Neither of those proposals would've saved the lives of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. Police departments are still free to shake down states for their Star Destroyers, and what amounts to a “fine" doesn't hold the officers accountable. I don't consider it a “victory" that one of Taylor's killers lost his job. That's the bare minimum. He should also face prosecution for murder because he murdered someone.
When John Cornyn grossly claimed that Democrats were “blocking their own lynching bill," which shows you how much he cares about the lynching bill, Harris informed him she wasn't falling for the Republicans' banana in the tailpipe.
HARRIS: I think it's important we not get distracted. We cannot pull out a specific component of this bill and leave everything else in the garbage bin. And that is the logical and practical and actual conclusion of where you are going with the suggestion that we would sacrifice issues like no-knock warrants, issues like national standard for use of force, issues like the need for independent investigations for police misconduct, issues like pattern and practice investigations with subpoena power for the United States Department of Justice ... It's like asking a mother, save one of your children and leave the others!
Cornyn asked Harris if she'd yield for a question, and Harris said, “Absolutely," but she cocked her hips as she said it, as though she was preparing to skin him alive. Never ask a Black woman a question under those circumstances. Let your curiosity remain unsatisfied.
He asked if Harris was “familiar with the rules of the Senate that allows senators to offer amendments to improve legislation." Yes, she is, asshat, and Harris reminded the Texas senator that they both serve on the Judiciary Committee, where Democrats had asked for a meaningful discussion but none occurred. Cornyn kept digging.
CORNYN: What I'm trying to fathom ... is why the senator would rather have these negotiations occur behind closed doors as opposed to here on the floor of the Senate to see broadcast on television. Don't you think that sort of interaction and debate and negotiation out in front of all 330 million Americans would be beneficial to healing our country?
If you too were having trouble figuring out what Cornyn's damned point was, he was annoyed that Democrats were blocking the bill rather than letting it pass and then offering amendments to it later. Because they should trust Mitch McConnell. Harris responded like she was talking to simple-minded kids watching "Ms. Kamala's Neighborhood."
HARRIS: Indeed. That is the beauty of the Judiciary Committee. Our meetings are public meetings.
She paused to give Cornyn a chance to recover and respond, but it was cold without his skin, so he just slunk away ... like a nerd.
Scott tried to save the useless bill with an even more useless speech about how it was an opportunity to say "not only do we hear you, not only do we see you, we are responding to your pain." I'm not into kink shaming, but I know few Black people who are into having salt poured into our police-inflicted wounds.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).