In the interest of full disclosure, I want to say right at the top that I am a resident of South Carolina and therefore a constituent of Lindsey Graham. At the dawn of the Trump presidency, I thought that Senator Graham was going to be a voice of reason and pragmatism in the Senate to deflect some of the craziness of the Trump administration. As a matter of fact, I wrote a letter to Senator Graham commending him for one of his early stances to Trump's lunacy. I figured that if he was going to go against his party, he needed a little encouragement from the left. At that time, Graham and Senator McCain were the voices of reason in the Republican party.
I, like millions of others watched yesterday's Senate hearing featuring Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, 2018's version of Clash of the Titans. As an aside, I miss the days of only three networks when an event like yesterday was televised on all three and the American people as a whole were almost forced to watch our government at work. Getting back to the main event, this is not a column about how much I believed Dr. Ford's account of the event in question and about how evasive and belligerent I found Mr. Kavanaugh. This is a column about a larger issue. During a morning recess, Senator Graham was caught in the corridors of the senate building and went into a scathing rebuke of the Democrats about playing politics with a supreme court seat. Really? Then during Mr. Kavanaugh's performance (I would say testimony but I think performance is the right word) Senator Graham came unglued and went on a diatribe about how political this process has become and about how appalled he was to see the Democrats pulling dirty tricks to derail this "fine man" from becoming a Supreme Court justice. At this point, I have lost all respect for Senator Graham.
Do you not remember, sir, how your very own party played politics with the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia? Let me refresh your memory. His name was Merrick Garland and instead of playing the game and voting him down, which you could have done, but would have had some explaining to do, you just flat refused to even give him a hearing. Talk about playing politics! If you want to wave your finger at anyone, good sir, wave it at your leader Mitch McConnell who is nothing more than a brazenly partisan political hack. If I ever hear the word statesman applied in the neighborhood of Mitch McConnell, I think I will do something better left unsaid. When history is written, I firmly believe it will point to Mitch McConnell as the beginning of the end of civil discourse in American politics. The sight of the man on television truly makes me physically ill. But I digress. Senator Graham, what your party did to Merrick Garland is inexcusable and because of the tactics used, you have no right whatsoever to criticize Democrats in their opposition to Brett Kavanaugh. If the Democrats wanted to play politics with a supreme court nomination, they would have done it with Neil Gorsuch's nomination. They didn't because Democrats took the high road and took what was dealt them. What you and other Republicans fail to realize is that Brett Kavanaugh is a wholly despicable person who has no business being on the highest court in the land. It's not just that he is an arch conservative, there are others; it's not just that he is the poster boy for white privilege, there are others; the only reason the President nominated Kavanaugh and is fighting so hard for him is his views on executive privilege. Kavanaugh's elevation to the high court puts in place the linchpin for Donald Trump to escape the reckoning that is fast approaching and allows him the ability to complete the task of co-opting our system of government.
I have no doubt that Brett Kavanaugh will be approved by the judiciary committee but I hope and pray that in a party of old white men, one of them will grow a pair of balls and vote against Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. The stakes are too high to take that chance.
Conservative philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote in 1811 that "every nation gets the government it deserves". I think about that quote and I wonder what we did to deserve this shit show. I think about it a bit longer and I realize that instead of a cataclysmic shift, it has been happening for decades. It began with our dependence on mass media. It happened as a result of an education system unable or unwilling to educate the populace on the role of government. It happened because of the nature of human beings. Those individuals with money, power and influence are loathe to relinquish it and their ability to manipulate the system is indeed possible in a "free" society. The most precious right that we possess is our right to vote and through that, the right to determine the direction this country takes. All too often, however, that right is squandered by the very segment of the population that could benefit most from its exercise. Far too many people in this country just don't vote.
I realize that there are many reasons why people don't vote. They see it as a cumbersome futile process and over the years, apathy has set in on the electorate. If more Americans grew up or lived under totalitarian or dictatorial systems of government, they would cherish the rights they have and would surly vote whenever they had the opportunity.
For months now, the concept of a "blue wave" in the mid term elections has been a popular talking point on the political landscape. It is true that the party occupying the White House usually loses seats in Congress in the midterms. Since 1934, only three times has the President's party won seats during a mid term election; 1934 during Roosevelt's first term, 1998 in Clinton's second term and 2002 in George W. Bush's first term. The mid terms in many ways are a barometer of the President's performance in office as it is the first national election since a President's inauguration. With all this in mind, the mid term elections of 2018 will be a watershed event. On average, the President's party loses somewhere around 38 seats in Congress so keep that in mind. Anything less than that and I think it would be fair to say that Trump was vindicated and liberals everywhere just need to shut up and take it for the next two years. If the election however plays out like this writer suspects, the Democrats will have a majority in both houses of Congress but less than a super majority.
All signs point to such an event, as Trump is perhaps the most unpopular President since 1900, if not ever. The problem, however is the fact that in most midterm elections only hard core and more conservative voters turn out to cast their ballots. If the social unrest and public anxiety this President has engendered in our society turns to civic responsibility, this election will indeed be the most important election in my lifetime and will be a sight to see.