Peter 'Fish' Case: Manafort sentence reeks of white, straight, male privilege


All I ask is for a small sign that our justice system is fair, that within that system we are truly judging crimes and misdemeanors as opposed to skin color and ethnic backgrounds. I only bring it up because Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months behind bars. I only bring it up because Robert Mueller's requested prison term for the crimes he (Manafort) committed was to be 19 to 24 years. I only bring it up because black people caught with marijuana are serving stiffer sentences and are by in large better citizens and for sure better Americans. But meanwhile the noise from the right of a witch hunt grows louder and more disconnected than it has ever been.

The downfall of the Old Boys network will happen; it won't last forever, at least not in the open like it has been. It will and must fall by the wayside much like open air Klan meetings did, but right now it appears to be alive and well. I truly believe that the Old Boys network is why Paul Manafort is serving just under four years. Granted he's facing more sentencing and I guess we'll need to wait and see what happens. But for now, the judge, T.S. Ellis, proved once and for all that if you're in a position of power you can simply do whatever you want and all you have to do is ride out the initial downfall and move on. T.S. Ellis was quoted as saying, "You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud, what you're really interested in is Trump." In all fairness that wasn't said during his sentencing, but it was said and basically means, he made up his mind a long time ago.

A few weeks ago, I told a group of people, "I'm a white, straight male living in America, I don't have any problems." If I were gay, I would have problems, I would be judged and treated differently. I would be put in a position to need to explain myself, over and over. If I were of a darker skin tone, again, I would likely need to not speak my mind in certain situations; I likely would be afraid to be pulled over. Those are problems. Yet, when you sentence a white straight male that has messed with our electoral process, the very democracy in which our country was built, and you only get 47 months handed down by another white straight male Yeah, it smells bad, really bad.

Meanwhile young black men are behind bars for a longer amount of time for far lesser crimes. You really have to ask what the hell is going on here? We've become this society of "rules don't matter," only opinion matters. That said, this column for all of you who think I'm some reporter or journalist, is merely built on my opinion. Complete transparency, I really feel that I'm correct in everything that I write, but I'm always open to a face to face debate and you can try and change my mind. I actually did this a while back with someone that hated me; we walked away agreeing to do it again sometime. So, opinions matter as long as you're willing to listen to them all. However, when law is being decided by opinion and bigotry, then it has gone beyond discussion and becomes an out and out act of dare I say, hate.

So one white guy sentences another white guy, likely because another white guy told him to, so his slice of white privilege could become larger. Because after all, he with the most power when he dies is dead! That's the part I guess I don't get: in the end we all die, and it happens pretty fast when you think about it. Living in harmony would certainly be an easier way to go about it. But for now, this white guy will keep trying to put his good foot forward and, who knows, maybe I can change a mind or two along the way or maybe I won't. But at least when I die, I'll know the difference between right and wrong.

Peter "Fish" Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.



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