Will All the Kings’ Horses, and All the Kings’ Men Put Humpty Together Again?

Quenby Wilcox Having It All


On December 15th, the world once again woke-up to news headlines of a crazed gunman wreaking havoc on a local community, with officials classifying it "an act of terrorism." Then as is all too often the case, stories leaked out that the perpetrator was facing charges as an accessory in his wife's murder, and 40 counts of sexual assault.

How many more times does the world need to witness these violent attacks on civilian populations before governments 'wake-up and smell the coffee'? What will it take for these 'ostriches in high places' to realize that the rampant civil unrest brewing within even the most 'stable' countries of the world, is more than just "isolated acts of 'madmen' run-amuck" – and that the rampant violence within our streets is directly linked to the violence within our homes, and vice versa?

The total apathy and inaction of governments towards the violence that permeates its societies is nowhere more evident than in the recent follow-up hearing of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) (Gonzales vs. USA).  During the hearing, Carmen Lomellin, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States testified that "The Special Litigation Section [of the U.S. Department of Justice] does not have the authority to conduct a civil investigation into discriminatory conduct by law enforcement effecting an individual" – in attempts to rationalize the inaction of the US government in combating domestic violence within their borders.

What Ambassador Lomellin (and the American government) fail to understand, is that Ms. Lanahan's case is not just about the tragic events leading up to the death of her children, but rather how these events are representative of the systematic and extensive failure of law enforcement officials (and lawyers, judges, mediators, psico-social teams, etc....) in the US to effectively protect victims of domestic violence. The American government's contention and affirmation, "that their hands are tied" in controlling what happens within their borders, should be of vital concern to everyone, everywhere – and should send up warning bells to even the most reticent of 'ostriches' on Capitol Hill.

Unfortunately, the American government's total apathy towards such a damaging decision by a human rights body is only exemplary of a much bigger problem in Washington; one that has been brewing for decades.

Testimony to this 'dire state of affairs' is found in Bringing Human Rights Home: A History of Human Rights in the United States, which states that "by the end of the 1980s, the assault on domestic civil rights protections was well underway, as illustrated by political attacks on affirmative action and reproductive rights. Political leaders undermined social programs, President Ronald Reagan demonized the poor, claiming welfare recipients were primarily defrauding the system and women drove away from the welfare offices in Cadillacs. This image of the "welfare queen" created a foundation for further attacks on the rights of the poor (and women) in the years to come. From the 1990 to present day, the deterioration of legal rights for Americans continued at a vigorous pace." (Cynthia Soohoo, Catherine Albisa and Martha F. Davis).

Through-out history men (and women) have struggled against the oppression of the many, by the few.  The nationalities, races, religions, gender or sexual-orientation of these people may change over time, but the fundamental dynamics of the situation always remain the same – as do the ideological beliefs which sustain this oppression.

As Paul Gordon Lauren states in A Human Rights Lens on US History "All people are born, Locke declared, with "a title to perfect freedom and uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature equally with any other [person] or number of [persons] in the world and have by nature a power not only to preserve [their] property – that is [their] life, liberty, and estate – against the injuries and attempts of other [persons], but to judge and punish the breaches of that law in others." From this premise followed that people formed governments to preserve these rights, not to surrender them. As a consequence, governments received their powers from the governed with whom they signed a contract. Any government that acted in such a way as to violate these natural rights... therefore dissolved the contract and gave people a right to resist." (Bringing Human Rights Home)

When a government, and its courts, deny these basic, inalienable rights to over one-half of the population it governs, it loses its legitimacy; according the oppressed population the right to challenge its decisions and authority.

As stated in my blog Equality Is Only an Illusionary Fairytale, the violation of rights of women within the courts is at epic proportions, with governments turning a blind-eye to the entire mess. The refusal of the American government to take 'positive action' in rectifying the situation, legitimizes the dissent and 'rebellion' of the women who are challenging the courts and their decisions – with it high time that the American government start listening to these voices of dissent.

Unfortunately, just like in the nursery rhyme Humpty-Dumpty where "all the kings' horses and all the kings' men couldn't put Humpty together again," the damage done to the US legal system and Constitution in the past 3 decades has been so profound, that our democracy at present appears to be broken beyond repair.