Kavanaugh’s Hearing and the Incivility of a Conquered People

I would not say the same things about Orin Hatch that I have said about Jeff Flake, but only because I firmly believe he would fly over here and zap me, and he wouldn’t need a plane to do it. As I write, I’m listening to him talk about poor, pitiful Brett Kavanaugh and like everything else that has happened since Bernie’s beautiful campaign it makes my heart hurt.

As I said in the last post, I know that what I am going to say will make no difference in the behavior of our Congress, nor will it undo what has been done to the Supreme Court. Nor will it head off the inevitable terrors that await the human race as a result. Only Divine Providence can do that. I’m writing this because unless someone challenges the reality suggested by this hearing, and by the gloating of the committee members who controlled its course and outcome, it has the potential to destroy the sanity of the American people and the world.

When I began this conversation I assumed the Great Recession and the chaos in the Middle East would inspire contrition. I assumed policymakers would be willing to change course. Clearly I was wrong, but I didn’t fully realize just how wrong until the 2016 election. This election and its aftermath have demonstrated that what we see around us today is preferable in their minds to order and cooperation. Chaos is a choice.

We have been told that the important thing in the Kavanaugh process was civility. We have heard at least one Senator lament that it was tearing us apart. But what we actually see is that rudeness and adolescent hilarity is preferable to civility, as long as it leads them to so-called victory.

We don’t have to re-litigate the Kavanaugh hearing to test this premise. There is plenty of evidence in our elections, in both the political processes and the policies of each successive administration. But of course, the most abundant evidence is in the Supreme Court itself. Corruption in the judiciary of a great republic is the height of incivility.

Civility is not a veneer. It has deep roots, as does incivility. But the grandfatherly men who defended the honor of Brett Kavanaugh today seemed completely unaware that their actions caused this upraor.