November 2, 2018
Washington, DC, has been called a swamp by many people, but it has now descended into sewer status and its smell is spreading throughout the world. Take for examples the horrendous personal conduct of the president, the Republican hypocrisy on the making of the rising deficit, the complete politicization of our immigration policy, and the disgraceful Kavanaugh hearings last month.
In our capital, it seems that loyalty to the principles of our Constitution and to all Americans comes second to loyalty to political parties. The villains in establishing this attitude are Donald Trump and 78-year-old Mitch McConnell, the GOP’s majority leader in the US Senate who can trace his ancestry back to County Down in Northern Ireland. His demeanor is reminiscent of the hardest of hardline Unionist Bowler hat, Orange Sash marchers in that small artificial province.
Make no mistake: The Kavanaugh/Ford hearings were run according to McConnell’s rules. Two octogenarians, Sen. Chuck Grassley and his Democratic colleague, Diane Feinstein, did as they were told.
The contrast between the calm, deliberate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the crying, moaning Judge Kavanaugh was stark. His challenging of Sen. Amy Klobuchar when she asked him about his drinking - “Did you ever black out, Senator” - would have disqualified him in any job interview. And watching him frantically exclaiming “I am innocent” caused serious doubts about his mental control. Are we proud to have such a man on our Supreme Court?
McConnell claims that he always following Senate rules but when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the high court, McConnell refused to even consider his nomination as mandated by the Constitution. The amorality is self-evident. McConnell has vowed as recently as last month to move to repeal Social Security. The Yahoo right and the red-neck sheriffs seem to be in charge. Where are the likes of Senators Leverett Saltonstall and Henry Cabot Lodge?
At the Kavanaugh hearings, the Republicans hired a woman prosecutor from Arizona to question Dr. Ford because it would look bad to have the men-only Republican contingent on the Judiciary panel do the interrogation. But they fired her three quarters of the way into the hearing when they became nervous that she was getting Kavanaugh close to admitting to too much. The questions were concluded before the complete answer was given.
Then a screaming, snarling Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina went on a multi-minute tirade against the Democrats on the committee, condemning them for cooking up Dr. Ford’s testimony. Graham seemed more blinded by his loyalty to the Republican Party than open to searching for the truth.
This type of fact fixing is a trademark of the Trump presidency. It has caused many to question the impetus behind the trumping up of the so-called danger from the much-heralded migrant caravan in Mexico. The president makes note of it in every speech. To have such a march so close to the midterm elections is quite a coincidence, one that the CIA should be very skeptical of. Was it arranged and financed by Trump operatives? We may never know, but it just didn’t happen by itself. Roiling up the unsettling immigration issue is a favorite Republican fear tactic.
For all that, there is plenty of blame to go around. Where are the influential Democratic voices challenging this obvious amorality? We are two years before the next presidential elections, and except for a few well-tarnished names, there is no cadre of nationally known and respected nominees speaking out against the Trumpian disgraces.
When Lindsey Graham pointed at the Democratic members of the judiciary committee and accused them of creating a sham hearing, not one Democrat spoke up. He was allowed to scream, yell, and snarl without any response. Tyranny is only successful when its words and deeds go unanswered.
Republicans wave the American flag, pledge allegiance to the Constitution, and praise the US military, but behind the scenes they do everything they can to suppress voting opportunities. Look at what is going on in Georgia, where something like 50,000 voter registrations are being delayed; in Iowa, where new regulations were enacted to make it much more difficult to vote; and in Texas, where redistricting has stifled minority votes.
On Tues., Nov. 6 we have the opportunity to vote and exercise our freedom to choose better leaders. We owe it to each other to go to the polls before the smell from the Washington sewer suffocates us.