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Thoughts on the Day of Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation

The OLD Philosopher – John M. Miller


Certain events or occasions tend to rile my innards. When “my” team loses an important game (the Badgers or Packers, for example,) I feel awful. When I am in an over-the-top argument (on my part) with someone, I invariably experience a churning abdomen. Afterward it may be even worse, as I reflect on how overly-heated I became.

Since the preliminary Senate vote in favor of confirming President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and then the final vote which made it official, my internal disruptions proceeded from alimentary upset to extreme heaviness of heart. I have truly been very dispirited by this political/judicial process.

My inclination is to repeat ideas from both sides that many politicians and pundits have expressed. However, I want to write a few thoughts in a few lines that might possibly cast a few unique rays of light into a contentious episode in American history. Those who do not perceive the entire Kavanaugh confirmation procedure to be a political malignancy for both political parties do not grasp the immensity of what has transpired.

People who are as sorrowful as I should not seek any kind of revenge or retribution as a result of this democratic decision, however partisan it may have been on both sides. It was the intractability of the debate which rendered it so vengeful and retributive in the first place. To continue that noxious behavior will only make our polarity more noxious.

Always remember: This too shall pass. By no means is this the worst political crisis ever to face the USA. We have weathered every previous storm, and we will weather this one. Nonetheless, it behooves all citizens to understand that a serious rupture has afflicted the body politic, and all of us are needed to bring healing to a rancorous nation. We shall most certainly survive a very rough patch, although all of us are needed to overcome it.

By happenstance, the widening polarization of American politics became centered on this particular senatorial confirmation. It was symptomatic of the problem, but it is not the problem. This confirmation can further widen the gap, or it can cause us to realize the folly of doing politics by the methods followed throughout the past many weeks, and indeed the past several years. The Congressional leadership of both parties must to be faulted for using such intemperate language so frequently. Some Senators spoke in measured tones in the hearings, while others provoked bilious eruptions by their words.

Each side has called the other side extremist. In the long scope of American history since the adoption of the Constitution, neither Republicans nor Democrats have been truly extremist. From the presidential election of 1904 through 1932, there were Socialist Party candidates in six out of those eight elections. Socialism by almost any definition is an extreme position in American or any other nation’s politics. Since FDR, Democrats have been relatively liberal, but never socialists. The term “extremist” is used by both parties to paint the others in a bad light. From the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Republican presidents have become increasingly conservative, but neither they nor their party are extremist in any historical sense. “Extremism” is an incendiary word in politics. It is a deliberate misapplication of a deliberately pejorative term. It should be avoided.

A penny --- or less --- for my thoughts. But perhaps this will stimulate your thoughts.


John Miller is Pastor of The Chapel Without Walls on Hilton Head Island, SC. More of his writings may be viewed at www.chapelwithoutwalls.org.



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