Maybe you felt it or just got this sense about our nation in the past few weeks. Would you say that the Senate hearings to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court was the most involved America has been in decades? Perhaps. More importantly, what did we learn from this historic week in America? Here are a few of my gleanings from these hearings:
1. Decency- I found myself seeking out behavior that conforms to “accepted standards of morality or respectability.” This is the United States Senate, after all. I was looking for a higher standard of behavior than what I observed on either side of the issue.
2. Due Process- This foundational principle in American justice was upheld in the final outcome. We are still innocent until proven guilty. Know anyone who has been investigated by the F.B.I.? It is no walk in the park on a Sunday. Justice Brett Kavanaugh has undergone 6 of these investigations in his lifetime. At the request of the Judiciary Committee, he was investigated a 7th time. Some say the F.B.I. wasn’t thorough and wasn’t fair. That might be true of a few people at the top but is not representative of the rank and file investigators. They are the best of the best. No corroborating evidence against Justice Kavanaugh was found. That is good enough for me to declare him innocent on all charges. Due Process of law remains the standard in American justice. We are innocent until proven guilty. Americans hopefully will all be thankful for that.
3. Doxxing- Did you know what “doxxing” was before this week? Me neither. Now, I think we all know that anyone who publishes personal information about public officials with malicious intent will end up having, well, a very bad day.
4. Defense- In sports, they say that the best defense is a good offense. “Strategy” is the name of the game. Democrats and Republicans were on polar opposite sides of the issue. The “spin” employed by Senators and media alike was enough to make scholars crazy in trying to sort truth from myth. Yet, in my opinion, Republicans had a better defense than Democrats. Understand that all constitutional matters are a pull between liberty and power. If one side employs a strategy for the sole purpose of gaining power at the expense of liberty, that side will lose in this country. However, if there is a strategy that balances power and liberty, Americans will support it. It’s in our DNA.
5. Despair- It was heart-wrenching to see how many Americans contacted their senators about sexual abuse. This issue needs a separate hearing apart from the circus-like atmosphere we witnessed in the past week. Dr. Ford’s brave testimony (I believe she has been abused, just not by Justice Kavanaugh). Her courage brought to light the trauma experienced by an astounding number of our fellow citizens, both male and female.
It’s common sense citizenship to learn civics lessons and help fellow Americans as we navigate the balance of power and liberty. ??