A NECESSARY CHANGE OF SPIRIT
The spirit of Liberal America has undergone a profound transformation. Millions of American citizens in Liberal America, and in the Democratic Party, are now in a state of consciousness fundamentally different from what it was before the age of Trump.
The transformation has been one from blindness to seeing, from conflict avoidance to readiness to fight, from allowing oneself to be robbed to going all out to protect what we value.
To see the transformation:
Contrast how the Democrats are now dealing with the Kavanaugh confirmation battle with how they dealt with the Republican theft of the Supreme Court through stonewalling Merrick Garland.
Isn’t the difference in spirit striking?
Did the Democrats, back when the Republicans were stealing a crucial Supreme Court seat back in 2016, manifest any of the spirit that Corey Booker did last week, when he brazenly violated the Republicans’ rules, (the “Committee Confidential” designations whose sole purpose was to hide some ugly truths about Kavanaugh)?
Can we imagine that the Democrats back then would have made such a big stink over the ugly picture that Kavanaugh and his Republicans are presenting now?
To see how important this transformation is — one might even say, “how essential for America’s future” it is —
Consider what it would have looked like, and what might have happened, if the Democrats had fought as hard over Garland, back in 2016, as they’ve been fighting over Kavanaugh now.
STRONGER RESPONSE TO THE LESSER THREAT
This greater intensity in the battle the Democrats are bringing to today’s confirmation fight cannot be explained by the objective nature of the two situations.
By all lights, if only one of these Supreme Court confirmation battles was important enough to warrant mobilizing the fighting spirit, it would have been the stonewalling of Merrick Garland.
Not that this Kavanaugh thing isn’t a disgrace. It is. And it clearly shows how bad the Republican side is in our battle, in countless ways.
But what McConnell did in stealing President Obama’s constitutional authority to name the next Supreme Court Justice was really of much greater importance in “the battle between good and evil” in America.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, we would get a partisan warrior — moreover one who lies and lacks compassion — taking a seat on the Supreme Court.
And yes, it’s a travesty, getting this man picked by Trump apparently because he is an outlier in how far above the law he might put a President. In other words, it appears that Trump went out of his way to pick him because he will protect Trump—which is what Trump cared about with Comey, and what Trump has been castigating Sessions for not having put protection of Trump ahead of the law.
(Every Republican must recognize what a travesty this is, to have such a man elevated to the Supreme Court for these reasons. And in this way. So their hands are covered with dirt.)
Very ugly, but this travesty is one we can survive. Other schmucks have served on the Court (just consider the Dred Scott decision).
And the practical difference in terms of impact on the battle is not huge. That is, probably on only very occasional cases would Kavanaugh vote differently from how any other judge from the list of a couple of dozen supplied Trump by the Federalist Society would vote.
Those cases represent what the impact of Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be on the battle in the American power system in these times.
A much, much bigger practical difference — in terms of the outcome of the war — was at stake in whether the Republicans would get away with a unprecedented refusal to give Merrick Garland the treatment that the framers of the constitution surely has in mind when they gave the Senate the job of “advise and consent.”
Just minutes or hours after Scalia’s death was announced to the world, Mitch McConnell made the additional announcement that the Senate would refuse to consent to any nominee that President Obama might send to the Senate.
If Kavanaugh is bad, what McConnell and his Republicans did to the Garland nomination, and to Obama’s constitutional authority, was terrible — absolutely disgraceful, completely unprecedented, and unjustified– on a grand scale.
And the stakes, as we all now know, couldn’t have been higher.
Most ugly. Most consequential.
So the situation in 2016 gave us a whole lot more reason to fight than the situation now in 2018. The explanation for the change seems purely a matter of that Awakening.
“Was blind, but now I see.”
THE BEFORE, AND THE AFTER
“Was blind” summons us to look at the “before” picture in Liberal America’s “spiritual transformation.”
Back in 2016, Liberal America did not erupt with the kind of passion, and readiness for the fight, that we see now around the Kavanaugh nomination. And that the occasion clearly called for. The Democrats in the Senate complained in a mild voice. President Obama did not see it as something that warranted making an all-out fight for.
It’s different now.
Although the Republican theft of the Court didn’t put crowds in the street, the battle of the Kavanaugh nomination has now brought us women screaming in the hearing room (and getting themselves arrested) in the Senate. Meanwhile, the Democratic Senators are using strong language and every tool at their disposal to fight a very uphill fight to block Kavanaugh.
(And uphill or not, whether that effort succeeds or not, with their new fighting spirit, the Democrats are speaking powerfully to the nation, using Kavanaugh and the Republicans in the Senate for the larger battle. They are exposing to the American people the reasons why — this fall — Americans who believe in judicial integrity and in justice itself, should help make a Big Blue Wave.)
There’s a major battle going on that has long needed to be fought and won– a fight against the growing power of a force of brokenness. The Kavanaugh hearings show clearly the awakened fighting spirit on the liberal side.
Part II – appearing here tomorrow – will begin with the question, “How did this transformation from weak to strong, from reticent to bold, from pushover to able warrior come about?”