The Kavanaugh Battle – America’s Civil War (#74)
Some of these truths are self-evident. America has always been divided, coming together only briefly to confront external enemies, the recent standout moments being the Second World War when it was attacked by Japan, and the aftermath of 9/11 when it was attacked by Islamic extremists, mostly from Saudi Arabia. Except for such times, America has always been divided along racial, religious, cultural, ideological, and economic lines, much like most countries.
Where America differed was in its relative raw newness as an independent nation, compared to older more rigidified countries, which allowed it to grow to being a vibrant multi-cultural, multi-racial country that thrived on its differences and marshaled its human and natural resources to become the most powerful country in the World, economically, militarily and culturally; a beacon to the World, of freedom through unity (the United part in the U.S.A.), strength and prosperity through equality, diversity, and democracy.
But perhaps times have been too good for too long, because while its many differences are still there, it’s politically divided ideology along a ‘Two Party’ system has come to dominate the American psyche, and it is tearing America apart, with its current President acting as a splitting wedge driving the deepening political and social tear.
These past days, it was all dramatically encapsulated in Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Brett Kavanaugh was picked for the Supreme Court by Trump for his overtly conservative views that matched those of the current right-of-right Republican Party which Trump needs, to have his unorthodox abusive personal and political way.
But perhaps more importantly, Brett Kavanaugh’s legal opinion that a Special Counsel “should never be appointed to prosecute the president (because a sitting President should never be subject to criminal indictment until he leaves office or is removed by impeachment proceedings)”, suited Trump to a tee, as he is being currently investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Since the very start of the investigation, Trump has been desperate to nullify the Special Counsel Investigation immediately, but he has been frustrated by his inability to do so with an uncooperative Justice Department. Having a Judge like Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, which with his appointment, for life, would become a solid Right-Wing Conservative Court, would go a long way to give Trump real comfort in knowing someone other than just the Republican Party has his legal back in the fight to come, with the Mueller Report.
Additionally, apart from being an overt Conservative, some of Brett Kavanaugh’s views and opinions, particularly concerning the right of women to choose, and his antipathy to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case affirming the Constitutional right for women to access abortions, set off alarm bells among the Democrats and the majority of American women, while the Republicans salivated at the idea of somehow neutralizing the hated case, if not entirely reversing it.
Of course what gave the Republicans and Trump comfort gave heart-burn to the Democrat lawmakers, and the liberal public (the majority). So from the very day of his nomination the battle lines were drawn between Trump and the Republicans, and the Democrats and the majority of the American women. The ensuing fight has been highly partisan and incredibly bitter.
Trump and the Republicans were determined to ram Brett Kavanaugh through to the Supreme Court, regardless of the Democrats concerns, as they held the majority in the Senate Judiciary Committee which vetted and approved the nominee, and there was a lot at stake. To have an aggressively far right conservative Judge on a predominately conservative Supreme Court, after his appointment, was just too good to mess with. All they needed was for ALL the Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee to vote in the affirmative.
The preliminary indicators were positive for the Republicans. It seemed that on the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court all the Republican Senators were in agreement, while all the Democrats (in the minority) were vehemently opposed, but simply outnumbered. The Senate Hearings for the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh promised to be contentious but largely a foregone conclusion. Then out of Brett Kavanaugh’s distant past came a woman that threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the best laid plans of the President and his Republican henchmen. Her name was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Immediately the track of the pitched battle shifted from a purely political partisanship one, to the far older and universally waged one, of the sexual exploitation, abuse and domination of women by men. Even there, the two Parties are split, as the Democrats are far more sympathetic and supportive than the Republicans on the issue of women’s rights. The immediate reaction of the Republicans was telling as they dismissed Dr. Ford and rallied around Brett Kavanaugh.
Christine Blasey Ford was 15 years old in high school, in 1982, when according to her, a 17 year old drunken Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her at a party rather violently, which left her traumatized for the rest of her life.
In spite of the best efforts of the Republicans to blow past the ‘very late in the Hearings’ charge, which they claimed was only a ploy by the Democrats to delay the process, they were forced to schedule a day of testimonies for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to speak to the charges, primarily because of the credibility of Dr. Ford, a non-political, highly respected Professor of Psychology.
[In the meantime even more salacious accusations by two other women against Brett Kavanaugh with claims of sexual assaults and gang rapes were made public. But again, due to lack of concrete evidence provided by these women against Judge Kavanaugh, and their apparent lack of credibility, the Republicans decided to ignore them and move forward regardless.]
In spite of unanimously acknowledged, highly credible testimony of Dr. Ford and the less than sterling performance by Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican Senators decided that the lack of concrete evidence of such a distant event was not enough to derail their decision to nominate a lifelong stand-up guy, a stalwart of the legal and general community like Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
When, for the Democrats and the majority of women of America, it seemed all hope was lost and the vote was going to go through, two unknown women confronted Republican Senator Jeff Blake in an elevator and called him out for not supporting abused women, by reciting their personal traumas of sexual abuse, in a highly charged, very emotional confrontation. A visibly shaken Senator Jeff Blake walked back into the Senate Hearings - and threw the second monkey wrench into the Republican plans to ram through the nomination.
Republican Senator Jeff Blake put a caveat on his vote of approval, and made it conditional on the FBI undertaking an investigation into the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, limited in scope and time-bound to one week - one week only. With the risk of losing the vote in the Senate, President Trump had no choice but to agree to ask the FBI to investigate.
Now, what the FBI will uncover is unknown, and therefore it is not possible to guess if it will be enough to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination or not. But, during the Hearings, on the day of the testimonies, Brett Kavanaugh did not acquit himself well, nor did some of the Republican Senators, in particular Senator Lindsey Graham.
They thought that showing outrage in a highly partisan way was going to sway any waffling Republican Senators their way, and rally their home-base. It has been said that President Trump was not happy with the less-than-hyper-aggressive responses of the Republicans, and Brett Kavanaugh, against the Democrat opposition, and told them to step it up into all-out outrage, and they obliged.
In doing so, Brett Kavanaugh came out poorly. His show of righteous indignation and two fisted attack on the Democrat Senators charged – the Democrat Senators had the audacity to put him and his family through a living hell in the Hearings, because of their resentment at losing the 2016 Presidential Election, coupled with revenge for the Clintons, plus a left wing conspiracy, all designed to be a hit job on him, and that the entire process was a national disgrace!! Senator Lindsey Graham came out in a similar vein.
Their performance no doubt delighted Trump, the king of the uncouth and the crass public attacks on all opponents, but it definitely damaged Brett Kavanaugh’s image as a seasoned, highly mature, restrained, contemplative, non-political Justice of the Highest Court of the Land, an image that is required for such a nationally lofty, critically significant job.
Instead Brett Kavanaugh gave a graphic physical proof of the description of a belligerent, intemperate, reckless, angry young Brett Kavanaugh that had been described by the allegations against him, for which up to this time, there had been no proof. Well there he was on full public display - an intemperate, enraged, highly partisan, reckless Brett Kavanaugh, a highly unsuitable candidate for the Highest Court of the Land. That same image also gave sudden credence to the women’s charges that Brett Kavanaugh was a belligerent aggressive drunk.
It is not at all clear which way this nomination will go, and whether the week long FBI investigation will uncover anything concrete enough to settle matters either way. But one thing is crystal clear, regardless of the outcome of this process, America will come out of this more bitterly divided than before.
Upon either side losing, it will not temper them, but will fuel greater rage towards the opposing side, which will play out daily in a million ways.
With Trump stoking the flames of division, and the ‘us versus them’ theme that he loves to take to his beloved public rallies where he spouts misinformation with impunity, and basks in the adoration of the politically emotional but ill-informed ‘Trumpites’, he is on a five city swing now, his core base which is mostly Republicans will become inflamed by the loss, and the visceral hate for the ‘Left’ will magnify. Trump will make sure of that, to rally the troops for the critical upcoming November mid-term elections.
His literal embrace of all the most odious dictators in the World, his personal favorite of the moment is Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, a particularly brutal and murderous leader that has through his family legacy enslaved an entire people for generations, while Russia’s equally authoritarian Vladimir Putin remains his god, should be ringing a cacophony of alarm bells in the old America, leader of the free World. But Trump has silenced that alarm by consistently attacking and dismissing the concerns and warnings of the intelligence community, and the opposition.
These authoritarian practices and tendencies, the muzzling of America’s intelligence community, the vicious attacks on the free press, and the undermining of democracy itself, by the enablement of foreign powers to distort elections, which incredulously the Republican Party has been supporting by their silence and support of Trump, has created conditions in America that are not dissimilar to the bitter political and emotional divides between the Union of the North and the Confederacy of the South, at the time of the American Civil War. Incredible as it may sound, the battle of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is another vicious pitched battle of the once ‘united’ America engaged in a hateful escalating civil war. As America, the ‘Leader of the Free World’, tears itself apart, the authoritarian regimes gloat while the free World mourns.
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