UNITED STATES—Politicians like President Trump and Senators McConnell and Graham don’t frighten me, even if I find their views repugnant. Knowing who your foes are is in itself a form of protection.
They present themselves exactly as they are, and so everyone knows where they stand on important moral and ethical issues. They seem to have no self-doubt, no reservations about what is the best decision to make, even though the information we have does not always reveal a stark black or white picture. Although I’m counting the days for their time in office coming to an end, I nevertheless give them credit for their open hypocrisy without a shred of embarrassment.
Not so with Senators Flake and Collins. Their pinched faces and false handwringing tore into my soul in a way that even I found excessive. They falsely presented themselves as independent thinkers who would do what is right, even in the face of certain political backlash. Seeming to be deeply affected by Dr. Ford’s testimony and then ultimately dismissing it in the end felt like a brutal betrayal. It affected me so terribly that I had to stop watching and reading all news cold turkey. I could not even bear to watch Stephen Colbert’s nightly political monologues, so decimated was I over the apparent final demise of any sense of ethical and moral decency from our government leaders. But these two were by far the most disheartening because I had mistakenly held high hopes for them standing up to principles that they themselves had earlier espoused during the Kavanaugh hearings.
When I saw Senator Flake state on television that the partisan words that Kavanaugh was spewing forth had no place on the Supreme Court, he gave us every indication that he would be a No vote. When he said he could not vote on the senate floor without an FBI investigation, we naturally assumed he meant a real investigation, led by the FBI and not the White House. When we were told it would conclude after one week, and it ended in just days, we assumed he would see that this was not what was agreed upon. When witnesses who were turned away could not give their testimony, we assumed he would call foul and not vote on the floor until the full scope of a real inquiry was completed. But instead he saw nothing suspect about the severely shackled investigation.
Senator Collins had been adamant about Al Franken’s accusers being quite credible, calling his behavior disgusting and appalling. Yet she not only did not believe what happened to Dr. Ford was all of that, she didn’t even believe Judge Kavanaugh was the perpetrator. That assessment alone was more disturbing than anything else she decided. In a He said, She said, she summarily sided with the man, without insisting on hearing other willing witnesses. And how could she even dare to support Kavanaugh after watching him in a full-throttled meltdown right before her eyes, exposing – if nothing else – an unseemly biased opinion of Clinton, democrats and anyone whom he felt was against him?
Even when Senator Flake momentarily displayed a modicum of statesmanship in requesting an FBI investigation, he then went on to let us know he would never have done so if he were running for reelection. So even before the final vote, we suspected he was only posturing, and his seemingly tortured need for more information was simply a ruse to make it appear that the Judiciary Committee would appear to be fair.
It is difficult to understand why they were so adamant about this particular judge moving on to the Supreme Court. Anyone replacing Kavanaugh would have also been a conservative who would very likely be a proponent of reversing Roe v Wade. And although half the country still would not be comfortable with his replacement, they nevertheless would have been better able to accept any nominee who presented a measured unbiased figure who was not subject to self-pitying emotional outbursts for the entire world to see.
To Flake and Collins, I wonder if in your later years, you will reflect on your votes and be proud of yourselves for your unwavering support of your own interests above those of your entire nation. You both have managed to undermine the integrity of our last bastion of pride — our nation’s highest court. Now you get to watch what you have unfurled upon a country who doesn’t yet fathom the decades-long decisions that will affect even Judge Kavanaugh’s most ardent supporters.
To those who recall Lloyd Benston’s famous line to Dan Quayle in a vice presidential debate, “Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy”, neither should either of you mistake yourselves for a true statesman. Senators, you are no John McCain.
We had naively pinned our hopes on the two of you. We mistakenly believed you were the champions of the powerless over the powerful because you stepped forward to present yourselves that way. Shame on you for deceiving us.
We understood that bucking your party would be a tremendous profile in courage because of the certain wrath and scathing denunciations that would fall upon you from the biggest and baddest in our government. But when it comes to speaking truth to power, you should have taken to heart the words of Princess Diana: You can’t comfort the afflicted without afflicting the comfortable.