I often think of a W.C. Fields short I saw in college. He’s pretending to know something about golf and teach a young lady and steps up to the ball preparing to tee off. For some ten minutes, all these little things interfere just as he’s about to hit it. As a viewer, you’re waiting for him to hit the damn ball, each minute that passes adding to your building frustration— and he never does!
Such a simple premise. When you expect an action to be completed —even something as simple as hitting a golf ball— and it never does, it is maddening. And each time it gets close and then turns away, your exasperation increases. Take ten minutes to watch this clip and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. (The whole thing is 20 minutes, but you can fast forward through the first ten or so and begin at the golf lesson):
This is the perfect metaphor for the snail-like grinding wheels of justice for the criminal acts of the Teflon ex-President. From Stormy Daniels to the Muller Report to the first impeachment to the second impeachment to the January 6thcall for insurrection to the call to Georgia to New York back taxes and yet more and yet more, why is this guy still walking around outside of a jail cell? Each time the club swings back and is about to finally hit the ball, something else impedes its completion. Not only is the guy still walking freely, but he gets to announce his return bid for the 2024 election. While thousands of black men are incarcerated for the skimpiest of offenses and dubious proofs and sentences far beyond the seriousness of their crimes, this one and his cronies evade the deserved swing of the club.
This, of course, is not an accident, but the logical outcome of our twisted history of privilege and white supremacy. And yet embedded in the system is the potential of actual justice, the thwarted laws that say out loud that all are accountable, despite the clear fact that so many are not. This is a step above “Yep. We’re allowed to do whatever we want, so no point even trying to bring us down.”
Still though, after all the hopes that the investigations would actually lead to right action deferred time and time again, it is exhausting and dispiriting. Yet still, I keep watching W.C. Fields about to hit the ball, in hopes that someday he will.