Kavanaugh and Common Ground

The recently concluded U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh have ignited the passions of all Americans. Seldom in our nation’s history have political sides been so fiercely divided. Democrats strongly believe Kavanaugh didn’t belong on the nation’s highest court. They strongly believe he is guilty of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl 37 years ago when he was 17 years old. Many have called him a rapist. Many believe his angry response to these charges disqualifies him because he demonstrated a temperament and a political bias that is inappropriate for serving as a judge let alone a Justice. Many believe he would over turn Roe vs Wade, the 45 year old Supreme Court ruling that legalized virtually all abortions throughout the land, and because of this he is unqualified for the Court. These are Democrat’s beliefs. And it makes no difference how wrong YOU think these beliefs are. It’s clear Democrats are immovable in these beliefs. Polls show no other demographic is the determining factor in whether a person finds Kavanaugh qualified or not. Not age, race, sexual orientation, income, geographic location. Nothing but your political affiliation determines whether you think Kavanaugh is guilty of the cruel charges against him. If you vote Democrat you believe his confirmation to be a travesty.

Republicans believe Kavanaugh was wronged and smeared with lies and exaggerations in a calculated character assassination designed to derail his Supreme Court nomination. They point to the fact that no charge against him is any newer or fresher than 35 years ago. Republicans point to accuser’s inability to produce evidence or corroborating witnesses. They point to Kavanaugh’s lifetime of service in government and in community service and his wonderful family. They believe him to be a good man.

As this is written we are 3 days from his confirmation being solidified and the storm has not quelled yet. Democratic politicians even talk of opening investigations into the recent claims that date back 30+ years and of impeaching the Justice. Samuel Chase, an original signatory of the Declaration of Independence is the only Supreme Court Justice to ever be impeached. The U.S. House voted for impeachment in 1805. The Senate acquitted the Associate Justice that same year.

It’s hard to fathom where we go from here. Division is so firm right now. But this Republican hopes to invoke the words of three Democrats in this writing in the hopes of beginning a mending of this country. Few things politically have upset me to the degree this matter has and while I think it would be easy to point fingers at the Left for their tactics in the Kavanaugh case, there is no getting around the fact that the Left is firm in its belief. So continuing to try and change their mind amounts to pounding ones head against brick. They would say the same of the Right.

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy said: “So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

It was in the context of world peace. But’s its cry for togetherness applies very much to today.

It was during his 1961 inaugural address that Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” 

In 1988 defeated Democratic Presidential candidate Jesse Jackson addressed the Democratic National Convention in a stem winding speech where he repeatedly invoked the phrase “Common Ground”. “Common Ground! That is the challenge to our party tonight. Left wing. Right wing. Progress will come not through boundless liberalism nor static conservatism, but at the critical mass of mutual survival. It takes two wings to fly. The Bible teaches that when lions and the lambs can lie down together and none will be afraid, there will be peace in the valley. Common ground. American is not a blanket, woven from one thread, one color, one cloth. “

And in 2004 a State Senator from Illinois spoke at the Democratic National Convention about Red states and Blue states:

Three Democrats. One theme. We are all bound together and we all can achieve more when we work together.

Togetherness and love for one another is the only answer. It’s important for everyone of us to learn disagreement is not hate. Agreement is not love. Love is love. And we need a lot more of it.

So where can Americans find common ground:

Do we all want health for ourselves and especially our children?

Do we all want our politics free from corruption and graft.

Do we all want reduced crime in all forms?

Do we all want peace in the world and to remain free of war?

Do we all want safe, dependable roads and bridges?

Do we all want police forces that keep us safe and that don’t abuse their power?

Do we all want opportunity to pursue happiness as we define it?

Do we all want clean air and water?

Do we all want to eliminate the threat of global terrorism?

Yes is the answer to all these questions. And there are so many more that given time and some help I could list.

I’ve said many times, you and I are being manipulated. Sometimes its obvious and often it is more subtle. But both sides do it. Republicans and Democrats make crises out of whole clothe in order to incite the passions of their followers for the purpose of gaining money and votes. Be aware of this, sensitive to it, and reject it when you see it.

The American people have it within our own powers to end the hate and move forward happily toward a brighter future. Through volunteerism, charitable donations, and voting for political candidates who reject rank manipulation, corruption and graft we can put into power more honorable men and women. We’re capable. 17 years ago in the wake of 9-11 who would have ever thought a black man with a Muslim father and name would be a two term President of the United States? Two year ago who successfully predicted a vain, loud, egomaniac TV personality and businessman would be elected to the same office?

To get to the point where we can foster the type of political leaders we need to stop calling names and presuming each others motives. As pointed out above, we all want pretty much the same things. We all can share common ground on nearly all issues. We just need to better figure how to get there. Founding father Benjamin Franklin was renowned for his wisdom and ability to find compromise. He also said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” 

LET’S GET STARTED.

10-23-73 The Genesis of Today’s Supreme Court Nomination Fight

With news yesterday (July 9, 2018) that President Donald Trump had nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court all hell broke loose.

Democrats held rallies outside the Supreme Court building and elsewhere in the country decrying the choice and vowing to give it “the fight of our lives” to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Senator Richard Durbin even said on one of the Sunday TV News talk shows that sitting Senators ought to be willing to sacrifice their re-election in this year’s mid-terms in order to stop another Republican President’s nomination to the highest court in the land.

All this tumult might have some wondering, why is it like this? And, has it always been this way? There is no question the political divide in this country is wide and virulent. Democrats HATE President Trump and everything he says and does. And by extension they hate Republicans and all that they stand for. Many Republicans hate Democrats…but mostly, I think, they feel sorry for them. And I have to admit many Conservatives just think of Liberal Democrats as stupid. Prior to Trump the President Democrats loved to hate the most was Richard Nixon, whose responsible for today’s mess.

However, while we’ve always had political divides in this country and at times they’ve been extreme…just see the 60s…both the 18 and 19…60s…the process of nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice used to be done rather quietly and respectfully. It changed because of what happened on October 20, 1973. 

For those not old enough, educated enough, or interested enough, October 20, 1973 is an historic date and one of the darkest days (nights) in United States history. It would become known as “The Saturday Night Massacre”That was the night that our Constitutional Government was walking on the edge of a sword and nearly collapsed. It was the night President Richard Nixon tried to save his ass from impeachment and possible criminal prosecution by having Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox fired for continuing to look into Watergate.

So, you ask, what does Watergate and the Saturday Night Massacre have to do with today’s Cat and Dog fight over a Supreme Court nomination. It changed everything and established an excuse for the political retribution that continues to this day.

You see, Nixon knew he was guilty as hell of covering up his association with the Watergate burglars and for 1 year had been slowly squeezed into a position where that guilt would inevitably be revealed. He knew Cox was a no-nonsense investigator who eventually would find out Nixon’s culpability. So Nixon did what he thought he could get away with. He ordered Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused. And quit on the spot. Not deterred, Nixon then asked the Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to do the dirty deed. Ruckelshaus, likewise, refused and resigned.

With the top two administrators of the Department of Justice now defying the President and out of jobs…the third person on the tree of authority in the DOJ was the Solicitor General. At that time that person was Robert H. Bork. Bork felt it was within the President’s authority to fire Cox. So he carried out Nixon’s order and gave Cox the ax. It was also rumored that Nixon promised Bork a Supreme Court nomination if he would carry out his order.

Well, as history tells us Nixon resigned from office the following August and that rumored Supreme Court nomination for Bork never came. That is…it never came from Nixon. Fast forward 14 years to July 1987. President Ronald Reagan tabs Bork for the high court. That’s when all hell broke loose for the first time…in a Supreme Court nomination fight…that is.

Democrats had a looooong memory. Like an elephant (as opposed to a jack-ass) they remember that Bork was the one who executed Nixon’s order to try to end the Watergate investigation. They hated Nixon. And for Bork to acquiesce to Nixon’s order made Bork public enemy number 1. Add to that the rumor that Bork was promised a Supreme Court nomination and Democrats were all fired up to stop him.

It mattered not that Bork was thought to have an extraordinary legal mind, and before and since the Saturday Night Massacre had established an overwhelmingly credible resume. This was about political retribution. Bork lost his confirmation in the Democrat controlled Senate 42-58. And in so doing a precedent was set. Through political vendettas, scorched earth, character assassination and political pressure Supreme Court nominees of a President could be stopped by the opposing party.

Democrats tried it again 4 years later when George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas. The Anita Hill sexual harassment charges dominating the process. But Thomas’ 52-48 confirmation vote was the closest in over 100 years. And the vote was strictly along party lines. Though it is worth noting that 11 Democrats voted in favor of confirmation. Only 2 Republicans voted against.

113 men and woman have sat on the Supreme Court. Only 12 have been nominated and rejected by the Senate. None since Bork. Others have been nominated and then withdrawn…in some cases due to a presumed Senate rejection. But none created the political fire that Bork created or established the precedent we all suffer through today.

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