There is no doubt that our country has reached true levels of insanity, and make no mistake, there have been major contributions from both sides of the political spectrum. Each week we face another battle over another subject that has two very distinct points of view. The “far left” and the “far right” see only their side in each issue, and the battles rage on. One side might occasionally win their battle, but to what avail? We are all losing the war.
Beyond this insanity, however, if we all stop and take a breath, there lies compromise and the peaceful existence that we all desire. Unfortunately, our strong beliefs on a subject often color the way it appears to us and makes opposing viewpoints seem terrifyingly radical. To Democrats, for example, the acceptance of a Supreme Court Justice who allegedly abused women, formerly spent weekends in a drunken haze, and blatantly lied under oath, is the beginning of the end of our civilized nation. As a relatively liberal minded person, my politics put me strongly on the side of removing Kavanaugh’s nomination. How, I wondered, could Republicans make excuses for this man? How could they say that what happened has no bearing on his ability as a judge?
Then I remembered the Democrats’ viewpoint (and the Rebublicans’ response) in 1998, when Bill Clinton faced impeachment for similar charges. Women accused him of sexual harassment, attempted rape and more, and the Republicans were horrified. They believed he was unfit for office and wanted him removed. Democrats saw things differently then. I remember saying that while his affair with Lewinsky was immoral and frankly disgusting, it was between the president and his wife and to impeach him was a political reach. After all, wasn’t he doing an admirable job as President?
My moral compass, like those of my fellow Democrats (and Republicans of today) was being driven by my political leanings. Bill Clinton was following an agenda I believed in, and I didn’t want anything to stand in the way of the rights I believed he was gaining for our country. I wasn’t an evil person and I certainly didn’t support the abuse of women. I knew that our President, someone who needed to be a role model to young and old alike, fell very short of those criteria. I just overlooked the bad for political expediency...and because I liked the guy.
Does that make my utter disdain for Brett Kavanaugh an exercise in hypocrisy? Maybe...just a little. I would like to say that maybe I see things more clearly now, but I am probably just kidding myself. I desperately don’t want a Supreme Court that will turn back the rights we have worked so hard to achieve, and that will always cloud my thoughts, but I will begrudgingly admit that it is difficult to be impartial when my beliefs are at stake.
So, I believe we must take heart in T.S. Elliot’s quote and together find the other side of despair. We can have strong beliefs about something without hating those who believe differently. Cutting off relationships, “unfriending” friends, and ruining family dinners will not strengthen our positions. Rather, listening to those whose ideas seem alien, realizing the commonality in our differences, and remembering that in the end we are all fighting for what we believe is right, might help us to find a compromise instead of tear ourselves apart from within the very walls (figurative) we have built to protect ourselves. Our country has lived through political rifts before, and we will live through this, but let’s make it to the other side with as few casualties as possible.
Interestingly enough, the legal thriller that I reviewed this week, Keeping Secrets by Deborah Hawkins has a subplot involving a nominee for the Supreme Court whose past gets in her way. This timely book kept me going until the end.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.