Sunday, July 3, 2005

Please...Not ANOTHER War...!

I just know you all are waiting with baited breath for me to weigh in about the Sandra Day O’Connor resignation…

The accepted liberal viewpoint is that we need to be completely up in arms, now that Mr. Bush is finally going to get his opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Oh my God, it’s going to ruin the balance of power on the Court, throw us kicking and screaming into the sanctimonious hands of the religious right, reverse decisions on everything from Roe vs. Wade to capital punishment to affirmative action, and the country is going to go to hell in a handbasket.

Doesn’t that just make you tired? It does me. I’m at an age where I am learning that things are rarely as bad (or as good) as the hype would have one believe. What I see unfolding here is an interesting combination of media feeding frenzy, reactionary convulsions, and dire predictions of gloom and doom. All designed, basically, to jerk the chains of the American people.

Let’s try to look at this situation objectively (if there IS such a concept in 21st century American politics…) What is the best case scenario? That Mr. Bush will have an epiphany about the solemn duties and responsibilities of his office, and about the legacy he might leave our nation, and put forth an appropriately experienced nominee that even the Democrats could stomach, after a certain amount of requisite grumbling and belching? Okay…that is a little far-fetched. But, who knows? Since he seems to believe he has an inside track with the Almighty, maybe God will bid him to aim toward the high road and show some respect for the Court and the Constitution that mandated it, and name someone who might actually be fit for the job. It seems that, up ‘til now, his habit of choosing obviously unfit nominees for prominent promotions has been his way of showing contempt for certain institutions---for instance, the United Nations. We hope that he harbors no such disdain for the Supreme Court. As he cautions the Congress (read, "Democrats") to follow "a dignified process of confirmation… characterized by fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote," can we hope that he has enough respect for the dignity and fairness of the process to put forth a nominee who is really worthy of serving on the highest court in the land? One that might unite rather than further divide the factions in our government (Oh, please, Mr. Uniter-Not-Divider?)

And what is the worst-case scenario? That our President will remain true to form and nominate a completely objectionable, unqualified and overtly controversial candidate for the position? What a surprise that would be! In that case, the surprise, the magnanimous gesture, the triumphant coup d’etat, would be for the opposition to handle whatever nominee Mr. Bush pitches, with grace, respect, and aplomb. Yes, Senate Democrats, go ahead and voice your objections to whatever candidate the President advances. You may even give him/her a sound rebuke or two. But do so forcefully, decisively, and quickly. Then bow to the majority and get on with seeing to the issues that really matter to the American people. The health care/insurance/prescription drug crisis. The hideous budget deficit. Environmental issues and global warming. How to fix the mess we have made in Iraq.

I don’t want to call the O’Connor retirement a tempest in a teacup. It is surely more like a possible Hurricane Andrew or Magnitude 5 tornado. But disasters are best handled with calm, well-mapped contingency plans. We have a pretty good idea of where the President might go with this nomination. The trick is not to react by going off on a tangent of panic and hype. Even though the media undoubtedly promise to be--in fact, already are--standing by with tanker trucks full of gasoline to pour onto the fire (After A Brief Shock, Advocates on All Sides Quickly Mobilize—New York Times, 7/02/05), would someone (please, God) bring a voice of maturity and reason to this potential quagmire/bonfire? Would that reasonable voice not serve the American people infinitely better than a war on yet another (futile) front?

14 comments:

  1. Hmmm...the voice of maturity and reason in politics.  An interesting concept.

    Unfortuntately, I'm sure it's a small voice...nearly impossible to hear over the screaming chaos that goes with this type of "event".  

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent job, Lisa.  We can always hope, but it's getting harder and harder.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think we're already past that.  A bunch of right-wing organizations have already gotten together to let the president know that Alberto Gonzalez, an early favorite, is not right-wing enough to suit them.  The left is already mobilizing with cautionary tales about the death of Roe v. Wade.  I don't think we're going to get much reason and moderation here.  I think this is going to make John Bolton's nomination look like a cakewalk.
    But one can always hope, right?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now don't be trying to talk some sense into me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Most of the people nominated to the court seem to grow into the job. Hopefully the president will realize that there are conservatives and conservatives and that the ultra right wing can be dispensed with. Their lack of respect for the separation of powers and apparent ignorance of the founders intent insulating the court is what is really scary. Actually, the ultra conservative and the ultra liberal seem to converge on this.

    The folks that wrote the constituition were knew exactly what they were doing when they set up one branch of government that was not subject to the back and forth pressures of popular elections. Even the senate was not subject to popular vote until the late 1800's.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It makes me tired too - and a bit scared. Sadly, good judgement, common sense or what the country wants/needs doesn't seem to be of any care or concern to Bush either. ~ Lori

    ReplyDelete
  7. lightyears2venusJuly 3, 2005 at 9:14 PM

    Yes, I was waiting!  So much to chew on here.  I thought I, too, was tired/scared/discouraged re: the partisan bickering, but when I read "bow to the majority", lightbulb!  I realized I kinda relish it.  You know, debate as the foundation of democracy and all that.  Do not go gently, rage, etc.  SC justices serve for life and could not be unseated by the next liberal or moderate president (as I think the UN ambassador could be).  They can have enormous impact on those issues that really matter and for a long time.  I don't often quote George Will (Wash. Post), but his recent review of McCullough's 1776 has a few statements I (not he) think are applicable to this situation: "You think today's red state/blue state antagonism is unprecedented?"  He gives a good example from 1776, and could have gone on and on from our history. In other words, we'll survive this.  "...McCullough's two themes in '1776' are that things could have turned out differently (i.e., the Revolution) and that individuals of character can change the destinies of nations."  I hope the Sen. Dems voice objections (yes, maturely, reasonably--as you aptly said in the PBS post earlier--the Dems sometimes suck at this), but not bow if warranted.  Respectfully, I say Keep the War Going.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bush is Satan!  

    ReplyDelete
  9. I suppose someone will suggest OPRAH as a possible replacement.  Well, she might want to remain in her capacity of SECOND LADY!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's all going to boil down to the abortion issue.  Bush will get his "pro-life" justice, and I doubt the Democrats will be able to do anything about it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. well, it will definately be interesting to see how this turns out.....

    ReplyDelete
  12. I really enjoy hearing  your calm reasonable voice in the wilderness
    Marti

    ReplyDelete
  13. This political astutness (astuness???)  ooh hell, this political savy is the only aera that we truly are not alike in.  I BARELY know the difference between pappa Bush and baby Bush much less have the ability to follow all the ins and outs of a Sumpreme Court appointment.

    I admire you in this and am slightly jealous.  Now where's my American Government book from that college class I failed.      


    xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  14. From your fingers to God's eyes....

    What I really wish is that we had more politicians who were as reasonable as you are and less that are as stupid as Bush is....

    :;:sigh::::

    ReplyDelete