By Thomas Sheffield

Last week, we heard US Senators, Judge Kavanaugh and the president refer to the confirmation of the Supreme Court proceedings as a sham.  It is a shame that these wealthy well to do, powerful, white men feel as if investigating sexual assault is a sham.  I have a wife and daughters and don’t take sexual assault lightly.   I would argue, minorities and the poor can  truly identify a sham.  We live with everyday “shams”.  We deal with a higher percentage of our monthly incomes on basic living needs, live in polluted environments  and lack a livable wage.  

The criminal justice system may be considered a sham. Why are minorities are being profiled, arrested and jailed at a higher rate than the majority?  Bail is set at a higher dollar amount and  conviction rates or jail time being set higher and longer than those in the majority.  The black arrest rate is 115 percent higher than for whites. 

A sham is how the EPA, which is supposed to protect our soil, air and water have reduced or cancelled rules of protection.  The poor black and white neighborhoods are susceptible to illness because of their environment. The water in cities like Flint MI, is still not safe to drink.  Water in many of our schools is not safe.    Factories near our homes are emitting toxic fumes which have cause asthma rates for the young to increase.  Illness from environmental pollution is causing healthcare costs to rise.  All of this is a sham.

A sham is the livable wage.  Many companies are only paying employees $10-15 per hour.  According to, the median U.S. rent its $1440.  If you make $15 per hour this means you make around $2400 per month before taxes.  If you take taxes and health care cost out, you will be lucky to bring $1900 home.  We take rent away from this, you have $460 left.  That is enough to pay for a month’s child care.  How are you supposed to live? This is a sham.

Forgive me if I do not feel sorry for Judge Kavanaugh.  Forgive me for not being empathetic when he says his life for he and his family have been ruined.  Forgive me if I don’t feel sorry for him feeling as if he is the victim of a sham.  For me and people like me, it is just another Thursday.  We all have problems and feel life is unfair.  The poor, the elderly, the very young and non whites are just grateful to live another day because there is hope.  There is hope to vote those who support progressive change into office this year. The deadline for voter registration in Tennessee is October 9.  Please register and help someone else register to vote!!!  

If these things inspire you, and you want to do more or learn more, please feel free to contact me or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff.