U.S. Reopens Probe Into 1955 Killing of Emmett Till

following the publication last year of “The Blood of Emmett Till,” a book that says a key figure in the case acknowledged lying about events preceding the slaying of the 14-year-old youth from Chicago.

The book, by Timothy B. Tyson, quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as acknowledging during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that Emmett grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a store in 1955.

Two white men—Ms. Donham’s then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam —were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Emmett, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren’t retried. Both are now dead.

.. Ms. Donham, who turns 84 this month, lives in Raleigh, N.C.
.. Images of his mutilated body in the casket gave witness to the depth of racial hatred in the Deep South and helped build momentum for subsequent civil rights campaigns.

.. Ms. Donham, then known as Carolyn Bryant and 21 years old at the time, testified in 1955 as a prospective defense witness in the trial of Messrs. Bryant and Milam. With jurors out of the courtroom, she said a “nigger man” she didn’t know took her by the arm.

“Just what did he say when he grabbed your hand?” defense attorney Sidney Carlton asked, according to a trial transcript released by the FBI a decade ago.

“He said, ‘How about a date, baby?’” she testified. Ms. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man “caught me at the cash register,” grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him.

“He said, ‘What’s the matter baby, can’t you take it?’” she testified. Ms. Bryant also said he told her, “You don’t need to be afraid of me,” claiming that he used an obscenity and mentioned something he had done “with white women before.”

.. In the book, Mr. Tyson wrote that Ms. Donham told him her testimony about Emmett’s accosting her wasn’t true.

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the book quotes her as saying.

Cynthia Bourgeault: The Law of Three

 the foundational principles of the Law of Three:

  1. In every new arising there are three forces involved: affirming, denying, and reconciling.
  2. The interweaving of the three produces a fourth in a new dimension.
  3. Affirming, denying, and reconciling are not fixed points or permanent essence attributes, but can and do shift and must be discerned situationally.
  4. Solutions to impasses or sticking points generally come by learning how to spot and mediate third force, which is present in every situation but generally hidden.

.. The Paschal Mystery is another example, with affirming as Jesus the human teacher of the path of love; denying as the crucifixion and the forces of hatred driving it; and reconciling as the principle of self-emptying, or kenotic love willingly engaged. The fourthnew arising revealed through this weaving is the Kingdom of Heaven, visibly manifest in the very midst of human cruelty and brokenness.

Trump’s successes are thanks to Republicans. His failures are thanks to Trump.

Vice President Pence’s obsequiousness at a recent Cabinet meeting — “Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that is truly restoring this country. . .” and on, and on — might be appropriate at a Communist Party Central Committee meeting or at a despot’s birthday party.

.. The divestment of self-respect is a qualification for employment in the Trump administration. Praising the Dear Leader in a Pence-like fashion seems to be what the Dear Leader requires — not in the way we might need dessert after dinner, but in the way an addict needs drugs.

.. President Trump divides the world into two categories: flunkies and enemies. Pence is the cringing, fawning high priest of flunkiness

.. Any Republican president from the 2016 primary field would have appointed conservative judges, continued the offensive against the Islamic State, and cut taxes and regulations. (He or she would also, in all likelihood, have succeeded at an Obamacare replacement.)

.. Trump spent the political capital of his first year — the highest it will ever be — on a few, generic GOP goals.

  • .. Trump has tried to undermine the credibility of important institutions — the courts, the FBI, intelligence agencies, the media — that check his power and expose his duplicity.
  • He has used his office (and Twitter account) to target individual Americans for harm without due process.
  • He attacks the very idea of truth in a daily torrent of despicable lies.
  • The moral authority of the presidency is in tatters.
  • He has made our common life more vulgar and brutal, and complicated the moral education of children.
  • Racists are emboldened and included in the GOP coalition.
  • He has caused a large portion of Republicans to live in an alternate reality of resentment and hatred,
  • which complicates the possibility of governing and is likely to discredit the party among the young, minorities, women and college-educated voters for decades to come.

.. Almost all of Trump’s accomplishments are the work of traditional Republican policy staffers and congressional leaders. Almost all of Trump’s failures are functions of his character. And that isn’t going to change.

Opt Out of the Lesser of Two Evils

The atheist Christopher Hitchens used to argue that religion was useful for getting good and conscientious people to do wicked things. Politics can be used in the same way. Those two candidates could only have advanced so far because American politics is so tightly wired to our fears and hatreds. Why would anyone decent support either of them — unless on some level you feared and hated the other side?

.. Asked if he could unequivocally state that he never dated a teenager when he was in his thirties, Moore replied: “It would be out of my customary behavior.”

.. I’d like to advance the political case against letting fear and hatred lead us to consistently lower our standards and lend our support to the ambitions of less and less worthy people.

.. First, there is is the argument from credibility. Every social conservative who supports Moore is increasing the cynicism of American society and justifying widespread skepticism about the sincerity of Christian belief among conservatives. People are reminded frequently that Christian conservatives once demanded that Bill Clinton resign in shame for carrying on an affair with a White House intern. Now some of those supposedly godly men, or their sons, defend Moore’s predation of teenaged girls on the grounds that even a child predator is better than a Democrat. This instrumentalism will eventually make it impossible for social conservatives to defend any of their preferred policies.

.. The country won’t give consent to pro-life laws if they have good reason to suspect their advocates are insincere. And the public will shrug at the abrogation of religious liberties if it thinks these amount to privileges for hypocrites.

.. You cannot be a good citizen of your country if your immediate political interests outrank every other good in the commonweal. And You cannot be a good citizen of your country if your immediate political interests outrank every other good in the commonweal. And citizenship requires some self-abnegnation, even some risk. Advancing a man of Roy Moore’s character to the Senate worsens public life in obvious ways.

  • He’s unethical.
  • He flouts the law.
  • And he is peculiarly holier than thou.

Telling yourself that “this is war, and in war you have to make less than ideal choices” is a great way to excuse the destruction of your charity and the lifting of restraint, with collateral damage to your integrity.

.. Choosing the lesser of two evils is a fantastic way to prepare yourself to do worse and worse evils. And following it to the end is a bitter fate indeed. The worst tragedies of recent history were driven by masses of people giving in to existential fear and hatred. There are many alive today in Central and Eastern Europe who made themselves into Fascists or Communists in order to resist or avenge the Communists and the Fascists. But the names we remember and revere are often those who carefully and bravely stood apart.