Coming up in this episode:
Plus a few other bits of fun along the way. I'm Geoffrey Blackwell, I'm taking bets on how long it will be before would-be Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions renames the Justice Department the “Not You Just Us Department,” and this is Docket #16-007 of All Too Common Law.
For those of you unaware, I started a new job in late September and now here I am, a civil rights attorney facing a government led by men who see civil rights as just another set of government regulations to be done away with. Safeguarding the separation of church and state is my job now. These rights are always at risk, but I have a feeling the violations are about to become significantly more frequent. And more egregious.
I've dedicated my career to preserving the rights of religious minorities and this buffoon wants to start registering Muslims while his Vice President-Elect thinks gay people deserve AIDS for transgressing against God or some other horseshit.
Christian nationalists have been emboldened by this rhetoric, and if you don't think the Christian extremists in this country are feeling empowered by this electoral success, I wish I lived in your pleasant little delusion.
We can't hope for the best and give them the benefit of the doubt. No. They have given us every indication that they and their supporters will use their positions of authority to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us, First Amendment be damned.
Each violation chips away at the protections that the people who came before me fought so hard to erect. And now protecting our rights my responsibility. But it's your responsibility, too.
We have to confound this emboldened Christian nationalist movement at every turn. We have to prevent religious discrimination where we can, but also call it out and try to correct it when it occurs. This is an active process and it cannot just be me. It cannot just be the civil rights attorneys. We need plaintiffs. We need people who are willing to take the risk, stand up, be named, and speak out. Because without you, all I'm doing is writing law review articles no one will bother to read. And that would be tragic. Because I want to have a busy four years.
So when a judge kicks a Muslim woman out of his courtroom for wearing a headscarf, find an attorney. When a police officer harasses a guy walking home because he's the wrong shade of brown, let us know. Tell me. Tell the ACLU, any attorney who will answer the phone. I want to have a busy four years.
When it comes right down to it, and negotiation and polite requests fail, I can only take legal action if I have a plaintiff, someone who is willing to stand up and bring a suit. You can help me and all the attorneys like me who have chosen to dedicate their lives to this cause, you can help us all have a busy four years.
It's ironic. I'm a member of one of the most distrusted, even hated, communities in this country, and yet I'm in a privileged position. My lack of belief in a god does not show on my skin. It does not inflect my voice. It does not dictate my diet. I could simply hide my beliefs. I will not. Because an infringement of any American's fundamental rights endangers all of us. It's become a cliche at this point, but this is important: if you see something, say something. Let us know any time you see discrimination or injustice, each and every one; no matter whether the disadvantaged person be an atheist, Muslim, Latino, Black, gay, trans. Even white, male, and Christian. Do not yield to the bigotry. Do not yield to the hate. Do not yield to complacency. Because I, for one, cannot wait to have a very busy four years.