Have we no shame? Have we no fear?
Susan Collins’ well-crafted but weak-minded Senate speech crystallized the essence of our problem. She took the Republican bait of an alleged Democratic smear and shut down her own independent reputation in assessing what was really at stake in confirming Kavanaugh.
Give her credit for risking the wrath of Maine’s women in 2020 when she faces re-election. Perhaps she has had reassurances about alternative jobs from the Republican leadership. Politics is a nasty business with many currencies.
Granted, it is relatively easy to complain from the sidelines about close calls. But when basic democratic ideals and the political health of the nation are at stake, we see the true “stuff” of a politician on exhibit. Consider Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota, who probably sacrificed her reelection next month to take a principled stand. Collins flunked badly despite how she shrewdly positioned herself with her last Kavanaugh speech and 45 minutes of what she hoped would be seen as persuasive, thoughtful analysis. A careful listener could quickly tell that she was substituting a lot of words for a thoughtful summary of the big picture. We will learn soon enough whether Kavanaugh votes to overturn Roe v. Wade. This writer will be grateful to be proven wrong. But even if Collins is ultimately proven right about that issue, her shameful performance during this ordeal will leave a lasting stain on her reputation.
Some people like to think that Supreme Court Justices use some kind of mysterious formulas – like ‘the law’ – to find the truth in their marble palace.
The law, sad to say, is not any kind of formula or even language. If there is any truth to be found by the Supreme Court, it lays in the Court’s read of the minds of the American people. One of the most important issues for more than 50 years has been the rights American women have over their own bodies. If one analyzes all our founding documents – from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – it has to be clear that ‘freedom’ must include the rights of women over themselves. Yet it was not until the 1970s that Roe v. Wade finally made that clear AND the law. And to this day over 2/3rds of the American people consistently favor that view. Still, a minority of Americans disagree. And, given the distortion of political power due to small states vs. large (25 states with 16% of the overall population elect 50% of the U.S. Senate) it has become possible for a minority of the people to dictate to a substantial majority a political imperative for half our population – WOMEN.
There is something indisputably wrong with that situation. And it will have to be corrected SOON at the ballot box or it could get really out of hand.
The Republicans have piously and pompously argued it is their right politically to do what they can to reverse Roe v. Wade. It may be ‘sort of’ their right for a brief moment in history.
But in due course the undeniable right of half our population must prevail.
Let’s VOTE our way out of this mess before it gets too late!!