We like to think that we make progress from a less fair, less just society to one that is more fair and more just. Indeed, our loudest and most powerful political faction flatters itself with the adjective “Progressive.”
But on the evidence of last week’s news we are not progressing but regressing, to something coarser, stupider, and more primitive. The phrase “banana republic” has been given a good airing this week. Yes, that’s where we’re headed. In fact, on this week’s evidence, we’re pretty much there.
The week’s greatest outrage—even more than Merrick Garland’s raid on Mar-A-Lago, because Trump can defend himself—was of course the sentencing on Monday at a federal court in Georgia of the Brunswick Three: Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, and their neighbor William Bryan. The two McMichaels were given life sentences; Bryan, who is 52 years old, was given 35 years.
What federal crimes did they commit? The Brunswick Three, who are all white, allegedly interfered with the civil rights of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery. So judged the court. They were also judged to have attempted to kidnap Arbery; and in the cases of the two McMichaels, to have carried guns during a crime of violence.