I don’t know what’s going to happen in our fairly immediate future.
So I was glad to see three opinion pieces in the Times this morning which cover the full variety of my feelings, thoughts and questions about this future.
First, Charles Blow: “Liberals, This Is War.” Which begins…
Yes, Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court. Rue the day. Rend your garments.
Then, step back, view the entirety of the battle in which you are engaged, and understand that Kavanaugh is just one part of a much larger plan by conservatives to fundamentally change the American political structure so that it enshrines and protects white male power even after America’s changing demographics and mores move away from that power.
This, for them, is not simply a game about political passion and political principles. This is a game of power, pure and simple, and it’s about whether the people who have long held that power will be able to retain it.
Folks, Kavanaugh is only one soldier, albeit an important one, in a larger battle. Stop thinking you’re in a skirmish, when you’re at war.
Blow is right and is touching upon the recent history leading up to the conservative incursion on democracy, the full and chilling story of which you can read it two books by women: Democracy in Chains, by Duke Professor Nancy MacLean, and Dark Money, by Jane Mayer.
You’ll understand how penetrating MacLean’s history is if you, like me, follow a variety of “libertarian” legal scholars — well, “scholars” — who have attacked her personally without any rational justification for the venom (I’m not using that word lightly). It’s impossible to read MacLean and then read these conservative attacks on her without realizing how fearful conservatives are that she is exposing their deceit in camouflaging a plot to destroy American democracy.
An elitist minority group holds onto power by keeping its followers ignorant. When factual information challenging that power is made available to the followers, the leaders will erupt in violence or send out their surrogates to throw flames, burn things down or, at the least, make a lot of smoke.
The second opinion piece is by David Leonhardt: “Get Angry, And Get Involved.” Which begins…
If you’re not angry yet, you should be.
Let’s review: Decades ago, a businessman built a fortune thanks in large measure to financial fraud. His corrupt gains helped him become famous. He then launched a political career by repeatedly telling a racist lie, about the first black president secretly being an African.
This lie created an audience in right-wing media that made possible a presidential campaign. During that campaign, the candidate eagerly accepted — indeed, publicly sought — the illegal assistance of a foreign enemy. When national security officials raised alarm with Congress, before Election Day, leaders of the candidate’s party refused to act.
The foreign assistance appears to have been crucial to the candidate’s narrow victory. He won with only 46.1 percent of the popular vote, less than 16 losing candidates over the years had, including Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Williams Jennings Bryan and the little-remembered Horatio Seymour.
Having won, the new president filled a Supreme Court seat that his party had stolen with an unprecedented power grab. This weekend, the president finished filling a second seat, through a brutal, partisan process. During it, the president, himself an admitted sexual molester, mocked victims of abuse.
That pretty well sums up our situation, doesn’t it?
Leonhardt’s exhortation is that we must be active in the upcoming elections.
The third, and for me most interesting, is by Barry Friedman, a professor at NYU Law School: “The Coming Storm Over the Supreme Court.”
The line under the title is what particularly grabbed me: “If it swings too far to the right, expect a response.”
Was Friedman going to answer the question I was asking?
…What is going to happen the next time a clearly political SCOTUS decision re-writes the laws we in the majority accept as our country’s contemporary ethos and values?
There will be resistance, or even rebellion against an illegitimate Supreme Court.
I don’t know enough about law or government to see how this will happen. But I know it will.
I depend on experts — in this case, lawyers — to carve through my overwhelming angst with facts, information and realistic probabilities.
Barry Friedman answered my question.