By John Kass
Now that entertainer and Obama White House star Jussie Smollett has been convicted on multiple counts of faking an anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Trump hate crime against himself, what do we hear?
We hear a predictable chorus from Woke Media World:
Let it go. Forget it. Leave it alone. Yes, he’s guilty. And that’s a good thing. But let’s never speak of Jussie again. The mention of his name vexes us. Hush. Please, just let it go.
Really? Let it go? Just forget about it?
I ask you, cui bono, who profits by not speaking of Smollett again? Who profits by pretending this didn’t happen?
The politicians who joined him in screaming about hate crimes and lynching. And media that carried Smollett’s hateful and dangerous hoax. They profit by your forgetting.
But the public doesn’t profit by letting it go. The rule of law does not profit. Confidence in our system of justice isn’t strengthened by forgetting. It is weakened by forgetting.
The high priests of grievances would rather we just let Smollett go away, because he failed in epic, Homeric fashion. And now he embarrasses them.
But not everyone is so gullible. Not everyone wants to stick their idiotic head in the sand.
One woman stood up. And with all the talk and all the voices going round and round the Jussie Smollett saga, and with some telling you to forget it and move on, and others shaking their fists at the wrong clowns in this clown show, it would be a shame if you didn’t remember her:
Retired Judge Sheila O’Brien.
Her dad was a cop. Her mother was a nurse. They raised her to not let things go. O’Brien is the one who heroically pushed for a special prosecutor in the Smollett case, incurring the wrath of the political class. And about an hour after the guilty verdict, after I was done playing talking head on TV, I called her.
“John, it’s not about me,” O’Brien said. “Twelve people did their job and upheld their oaths as jurors, as a testament to our system of justice. It was never about me. It was about our system of justice. The law demanded a special prosecutor. The court did the right thing, and a jury fulfilled their oath”
But she forced the issue. She demanded an accounting. If you care about the criminal justice system, if you don’t think politics should put its greasy thumb on the scales of justice, if you believe half the crap you see on those television courtroom dramas when some actor makes The Big Speech about Big Justice, you won’t forget.
You’ll remember her.
Naturally, there are others who desperately want to forget. It’s all been so embarrassing. Although, those who are most acutely mortified by Smollett’s conviction–at least those in media who have half their wits—have the good manners not to tell us to shut up and forget.
Instead, they ignore it and change the subject, hoping Jussie goes away and disappears. Or they pick up some other head to fix on their rattle sticks, and shake it and scream about demons to direct public anger of the tribes at safe targets.
In this, media and politicians ignoring Smollett are rather like that gluttonous little boy, ostentatiously ignoring the crumbly remains of the blueberry pie that he’d attacked just before dinner.
Forgive me, but I’d rather not shut up about Jussie right now. Instead, I think we should thank him. Because by telling and retelling his lies in court, by perjuring himself before the jury and the judge, he’s actually done America a great service.
He exposes he fetid alchemy between the dying corporate legacy media and elite Democrats who used his mewing to stoke racial division for votes. These are the high priests of the new religion, and it sanctifies victimization for profit and power.
They falsely seized on Kyle Rittenhouse as a racist (he wasn’t) and Nicholas Sandman as a racist (he wasn’t) and many others. Without stoking racial strife, how would they motivate their voters?
Are there horrible people among us who are homophobes and racists? Yes, of course. Should they be punished if they violate another’s rights? Yes, of course.
Should the politicians and media that stoked this have known better than to buy his story and regurgitate it, screaming on media platform after media platform with their hair on fire? A reasonable person might think so.
But they didn’t care if they regurgitated a lie. They wanted to use Smollett. They didn’t care if he was lying. They weren’t worried about the damage it could cause, whether his fantastic story may have sparked racial violence in Chicago and elsewhere across the country.
They had their politics to worry about. They wanted outrage. They wanted votes. So, they used him. And he used them.
And now that Smollett has been exposed as a liar by a jury in Chicago, they’d much rather we move on, before we can explore this destructive alchemy of the media/political elite and the damage it has done.
I know who wants to leave Jussie alone and let it all go:
Look at the glowing, smiling women in the image at the top of this column. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Vice President Kamala Harris in happier times. The photo comes from a gushing Foxx tweet about her BFF, Harris.
After the Smollett story broke, when Chicago police detectives were pulling his story apart, from the tuna sandwich to the fake, silky noose Smollett wore like a scarf, Foxx was communicating privately with former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen about Smollett. Michelle was a fan of Jussie and Tchen was a fan. If you’ve seen the old White House video of his crooning performance, they were quite excited.
Foxx said she’d recused herself from the case. Only, she didn’t. Her office said she had only talked about recusal in the “rhetorical sense.” I remember when a Foxx aide told me those words. And I thought then, as now, that those were weasel words for a for a lie.
As if by magic, Foxx bathed Jussie in the waters of the Chicago Way, dropping 16 Grand Jury counts against him, and in the process, destroyed what was left of her reputation. But in doing so, she pronounced him clean of hate crime fakery. And now she’s trying to gaslight people.
“The jury has spoken,” said a Foxx’s statement after the verdict. “While the case has garnered a lot of attention, we hope as a county we can move forward. At the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, we will continue to focus on the important work of this office, prioritizing and prosecuting crime.”
This is patently ridiculous coming from Foxx, one of rogue, woke prosecutors across the country. Chicago is Ground Zero in the woke prosecutor phenomenon, which is becoming a serious problem for Democrats because—strange as this may seem–voters don’t like becoming victims of violent crime.
Foxx has by her policies encouraged those smash-and-grab orgies we see on the news. As a social justice warrior, she drops cases rather than prosecute, according to media reports. By not prosecuting, by being permissive, by forgetting what her role is in the justice system, she undermines the law, and encourages a mob rule.
Worse, Chicago has become all but lawless. And lawlessness invites vigilantism which is illegal, and outside the law, and that makes everything worse. Only the insane would want to see such chaos. Or, perhaps, revolutionaries.
What was she thinking when she dropped the Grand Jury counts against Smollett? Did she think she could skate away and become Senator Foxx, and hang out with Kamala, and learn to giggle?
When the Smollett story broke in Kamala Harris stopped cackling for a bit and told America that Jussie was a victim of a modern-day lynching.
They were joined by President Joe Biden and others who used it to weaponize the black vote and to cast Republicans as hateful.
So, pardon me, but I’m not going to shut up about it. They owe all Americans—including the real victims of real hate crimes—an apology for forging this fantasy.
There were other great big political and media clowns in the Jussie Smollett clown show.
Included in the pantheon of prominent clowns is ABC’s Robin Roberts, highly paid media personality who poses as a reporter. She uncritically carried Smollett’s hateful water in a treacly interview, let him go on and on without challenging him once, and afterward she whispered, “Beautiful, Jessie. Beautiful.”
And CNN’s Van Jones idiotically compared the actor to Jackie Robinson when the story broke, saying Jussie was an icon rudely treated by the deplorables, insisting in a breathless voice that Smollett was “Jackie Robinson against homophobia.”
That ABC and CNN still call themselves news networks is testimony to the arrogance of their news executives and the stupidity of their audience.
There are others who deserve recognition too, chief among them is Foxx’s patron, Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. Let’s not forget Toni.
Toni Taxwinkle is one of those who’d just love it if we all shut up and never mentioned Smollett’s name again.
Foxx is her former chief of staff. Toni reached down from her mountain of power and made Kim the state’s attorney.
After Foxx dropped the charges, and the nasty stuff hit the fan, there were calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Foxx and the Smollett case.
Retired Judge Sheila O’Brien could see that something was terribly wrong. She stood up in Judge Michael Toomin’s court and demanded a special prosecutor. And Judge Toomin granted her petition. Toomin knew Foxx was favored by Preckwinkle. But cared more about the law and the public’s confidence in the judicial system than Boss Toni’s feelings.
Boss Toni was angry and began a campaign of intimidation to convince Democratic Party warlords under her power to bounce Toomin from their slate and the court. She wanted him gone.
Anything “progressive” in that, Toni?
Happily, my principled colleagues on the editorial board of “the paper” where I worked for years fought back on Toomin’s behalf. And Preckwinkle failed in her bid for revenge. Now she seethes.
Toomin selected Dan Webb as special prosecutor. He’s an able litigator, one of the best trial attorneys in the country, but I’m not a big Webb fan.
Yes, he prosecuted Smollett and got the conviction. Fine. OK. Give the man a cigar. Or a soda.
But to me he represents the Republican half of the bi-partisan Illinois Combine that has ruled this city and state, and with the Democrats, pushed it into fiscal quicksand, the party of Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and Big Bill Cellini and all the Combine boys and girls.
Webb is their guy, their ultimate inside man. I see him in the role of “cleaner,” like a character played by Harvey Keitel in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Smollett goes down, but Foxx, cleansed, gets to walk. Preckwinkle issues sighs of relief.
Now if we just listen to those telling us not to talk about Smollett, maybe they can get through this. I don’t want to be the skunk at Kim’s party, but I won’t help push Smollett into the Chicago memory hole.
On Thursday evening, after the jury convicted Smollett, Webb declined to talk about Foxx. And that’s too bad.
She’s not been charged with any crime, and though I’m not a lawyer, I don’t think she should be allowed to walk away. I believe Foxx should be disbarred or recalled for misconduct over what she did in the Smollett case, lying about “recusing” herself, whispering with Tina Tchen, her thumbs on the scales of justice to do what exactly?
Satisfy her political ambitions?
There won’t be a recall. Toni won’t allow such a measure to pass the County Board.
And still, after all this, she was endorsed for re-election by Preckwinkle and all the top Democrats, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Dick “The Unctuous One” Durbin and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. And Foxx had that George Soros campaign cash that local media aren’t supposed to talk about.
When they speak of justice now, do their words become like ashes in their mouths?
I know, I know, I know. We’ve been told to forget it by experts who don’t want to talk about it or hear Jussie’s name mentioned ever again. But I can’t forget. Why?
Beyond the parochial politics of this, and the infection of the people’s sense of justice, Smollett illustrates something else. The case illustrates much of what is wrong about our cultural high priests, in national politics and corporate legacy media. They engage in the catechism of sanctification of victimhood for the sake of power.
Brendan O’Neill writes about this brilliantly, in Spiked, in “Jussie Smollett and the Coveting of Victimhood.”
“The speed with which claims of racial victimisation are transformed into stop-the-press news about America and the West more broadly being shitty racist hellholes helps to explain why these hoaxes keep happening,” O’Neill writes.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between the woke elites’ insatiable yearning for proof of America’s rottenness and the fact that some people falsely claim to have been victimised and attacked. The credulous, breathless reporting of every allegation of hate crime as irrefutable evidence that white supremacy is still rampant acts as an invitation to the hate-crime hoaxers, to the identitarian chancers. The knowledge that they will be instantly believed, instantly accorded the pity of the clerisy, instantly inaugurated into that holy sect that has directly experienced the violence of supremacist ideologies, of the lingering colonialist brutalism of Western society, is unquestionably an enticement to fabrication.
“It is contemporary society’s sanctification of victimhood, especially the victimhood of racial suffering, that tempts some to forge horrors and hardships.”
Thank you Mr. O’Neill.
Forging fake hate crimes isn’t something to forget or let go. And Smollett isn’t the only fake hate crime hoaxer who’s been exposed. There are real hate crimes, and real rapes, and those who are proven by a jury to have made false allegations about racial hate crimes and other assaults soil the true suffering of real victims. They make everything cheap. Even pain.
Hoaxers can’t be forgiven, just because they’re in some protected racial or gender class. Smollett requires some real jail time, if only to remind others that fantastic manipulation is dangerous to society, that innocents could have been badly hurt or worse if racial conflict broke out as a result, and that there is a cost.
But what of Foxx, Preckwinkle, their court jester, Chief Cook County Judge Tim Evans and the rest of them? They’re Chicago pols. They don’t believe in fairy tales.
“They should be ashamed of themselves. Foxx ought to be ashamed of herself,” said Judge O’Brien. “The city burns, people can’t go out at night because of the tsunami of violent crime on the street. And she gives Smollett a pass?
“And she and Preckwinkle went after Judge Toomin, saying he shouldn’t be supported for retention. Foxx, Toni Preckwinkle, the chief judge, they should all be ashamed. And you can quote me on that.”
There are many who’d rather we all move on, and not speak of Jussie Smollett again. But Sheila O’Brien isn’t one of them.
And I don’t think you’re one of them, either.
Because there is a true cost in forgetting, from the sanctification of victimhood to the clumsy political thumbs on the scales of justice and the weaponizing of racial politics for the sake of power at the polls.
And you know who pays the cost. You pay.
They’ll walk. They always walk. This is the Chicago Way, whether the street is dominated by pink Irish guys in pin-striped suits, or black women with progressive cred and leftist Social Justice Warriors protecting their flanks.
They walk. But you won’t walk. You pay, as do all the rest of us.
‘Lest we forget.
(Copyright 2021 John Kass)