Friday, September 28, 2018

We Need To Demand Better

He's going to be confirmed. He shouldn't be- and there's a decent argument to be made that despite his credentials, it was fucking idiotic of the Trump Administration to nominate him to begin with- but none of that matters now. He's going to be confirmed.

Now, I might be wrong about that. I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, there might be an outbreak of common sense down in Washington D.C., but I think it's all too far gone for that. And that's the really depressing thing about all of this...  if you watched the testimony yesterday, then you probably have formed you're own conclusions about the veracity of the accusations and his defense thereof- personally, I believe her and was less than impressed by him. Did he think this particular nomination was going to be a walk in the park? Did he think they were just going to line up and vote him in? Had I been in his shoes, I would have said no. I would have said HELL NO. At the end of the day, you've got a job and a family that loves you and apparently the respect of a lot of the legal community. Please don't try and sell me on the line that you're a victim of some kind.* You're a smart man who's not that old and should have known better than to accept this nomination right this second. There will be other times and other opportunities.

This seat is the end of days. It's the fifth vote to presumably overturn Roe v Wade, it's the culmination of a decades long effort by the Conservative legal establishment to shift the court- not just the Supreme Court, by the way, but a hell of a lot of other courts, to the right. And it only reinforces what I always say about Supreme Court fights: switch the parties of everyone involved and you'd still have the same level of vitriol, the same level of insanity, the same level of bitterness. If this was a President Hillary Clinton about to cement a liberal majority on the court, it would still be the end of days and it would be the exact same argument.

I watched clips here and there. I read transcripts. I didn't have the stomach to sit down and watch any of it, because a. I was home with #TeamLittle and I don't think either of them would have warmed to the notion of watching a C-SPAN stream and b. I'm still trying to come to grips with the amount of horrible bullshit that gets flung at boys and how best to make sure my sons become the best of men. I think that starts with kindness. Kindness is free and costs you nothing at any age, but it's an especially good foundation to lay at the age my kiddos are at, because on top of kindness you can build respect. Respect for yourself. Respect for other people.

In general, I shy away from a lot of Progressive thinking on masculinity, because the overall thrust of Leftism in general seems to be about bringing people down so we're all on the same level instead of raising everyone up to be better. There are a ton of unhealthy solutions being proposed by the left. All masculinity is toxic. All men are trash. You don't raise healthy boys that way and you for sure don't raise boys who respect women that way. If they get told repeatedly that their entire gender is somehow toxic or wrong (and yes, that's a broad generalization, but damn there feels like there's a lot of truth to that) then they'll internalize that get sick from the poison. I don't want that.

I also want to break away from retrograde notions of masculinity as well. Your worth should never be defined by other people. Women are not 'conquests.' When I was in high school, the overall notion was that if you didn't have a girlfriend you were some kind of loser. I internalized that (rightly or wrongly... I suspect that I'm capable of being my own worst critic at times) and it made me miserable and it took me years to realize that you have to have some kind of respect for yourself before people are going to want to even consider being in a relationship with you. If you don't like yourself, how do you expect other people to like you?

I see today that he's cleared the committee with a condition: a time limited FBI investigation. I have no idea what the FBI is going to find and I doubt it will be enough to change anyone's minds, but it'll be the fig leaf that the moderate Republicans need to pretend they actually took these allegations seriously. Unless something radically shifts in the next week or so (and it might- yesterday was crazy enough) he'll be confirmed.

Then it's just down to the fallout. Just yesterday, I saw this swing from one side to the other and back again all in the course of one day. I don't know who is going to come out ahead in this- point of fact, there's a good argument to be made that nobody 'won' yesterday.

Everything about the nomination process is so irretrievably broken after yesterday, I think it's time to get serious about the notion of ending lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Conservatives have been whining for years now about activist judges forcing them to make wedding cakes and marry gays and shit, so let's hold the Supreme Court accountable. Put the three with the longest tenure up for retention votes in 2020. The next three in 2032. Three after that in 2044. Or however you want to stagger it- I don't care. But this is broken. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, common fucking sense looking at that awful mess yesterday should have convinced you about that much at least.

I also think term limits for Congress are an idea whose time has very much arrived. I think twelve years for House and Senate should work (that's two terms for Senators and six for the House- though you could drop that back to eight years if you made the House term four years instead of two which is an idea worthy of consideration in my opinion.) Throw in a lifetime lobbying ban and a 75% surtax on all earnings over 100,000 for the first eight years after they leave office and I'll be a happy man indeed.

It's time for big picture reform to get talked about it, because yesterday was disgusting. And it'll continue to be disgusting until we demand better, not only from our government, but from ourselves.

*This is what really chaps my ass about this guy. What makes you think defiance is the right card to play here? Why can't you be contrite? Why can't you admit that you were a grade A fucking dumbass in high school as so many people are and you probably did things that you deeply regret and you wish you hadn't done. How hard is that to do? Instead he looked like a raging asshole. One who shouldn't- but probably will be- sitting on the Supreme Court.

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