By Ruth Gadebusch
Elections, by nature, are contentious with this one seemingly well on its way to record breaking. I have no scientific evidence, but it appears that the ads are nastier, started sooner and are more frequent. Worse yet, is that so many are attacking the opponent rather than touting one’s own or a proposition’s virtues.
Much of the so-called information already has been proven to be outright lies. Still, the sponsor will look directly at the camera with a straight face saying his/her own name and admit that she/he approves the message. I appreciate that the law requires such, but it is still frightening they find it so easy to lose all connection with the truth in their message. Whatever happened to shame?
I can only believe that too few of them have any merits to claim, hence are left to prevarications. Of course, some even have reason to hide their own records. Although there are many examples, I think it is safe to say that none do it better—worse?—than the incumbent of the 22nd Congressional District. Nor does anyone have more money to produce and promote these lies and possible treason. Try as I might, I can neither bear to say his name nor find a nicer description for his words and actions.
Then there is the confirmation fiasco for the newest Supreme Court justice. What a misnomer to say “justice!” In many ways, entirely too much of the procedure was focused on sexual behavior of an earlier era.
Deplorable as it may have been, many of us could have accepted—not liked—had he admitted that as a youth he had done many things he was not proud of and would not repeat; that he would not want public; that he would not want his children engaging in. But no, he only placed a figurative halo on his head and claimed pure angelic behavior all his life. Somewhat too holier than thou!
There was not one iota of responsibility and regret for any bad behavior—ever in his entire life. His supporters obviously had no interest in finding the truth. They only wanted the power he could exercise as a member of the court for years to come. So far as the party is concerned, whatever this president wants, this president gets!
It is particularly puzzling how any woman could support the man even if there was proof of innocence of the sexual accusations. No such proof was ever turned up. He does have a history, with ample proof, that he is prepared to trample on the rights of women to control our own bodies, our own health and who knows what other rights. Don’t forget his inability to control his temper.
Not to be overlooked is the President’s nomination of Eric Dreiband as assistant attorney general heading the Civil Rights Division. His record of opposing almost everything this division is designed to protect hardly bodes well for the rights of women and other significant groups from discrimination of gender identity, race, age or religion.
If that is not enough to catch your attention, take a look at Eric Blankenstein of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, just another appointee in a long line known for tromping on civil rights.
Perhaps most regrettable of all is the political climate, already bad enough, exacerbated by this brouhaha of appointees and the Senate Judiciary Committee “hearing” for the judge. It is also beyond credulity that so little has been acknowledged of the Republican denial of President Obama’s right to appoint a justice. The theft in the refusal to even hold a hearing on the nomination of Merrick Garland is nothing less than a crime, a masterful failure of integrity. How can we be surprised that this set such a climate as currently faced?
While I can’t approve of tit for tat, it should hardly be surprising had the opposition taken revenge. However, well beyond revenge were legitimate grounds for opposition to this candidate who, after all, was nominated with every intention of pouring fuel on the already burning fire of discontent. We were well in the throes of becoming a split nation with little regard for the needs of others, particularly the less fortunate.
It is a sad state of affairs for anyone who believes in democracy. It is to be fervently hoped that the senator from South Carolina so busy ranting and raving about Democratic behavior remembers his own role in denying the appointee of Obama who was actually elected president with a majority vote.
Every election matters, but few question the pivotal role of this one in setting our future. We have a president that most in the leadership of his own party thought was unprepared to assume such a position. He has largely proven them correct although they cowardly accept his behavior. Somehow, power of party is more important to them than democracy.
Actually, the phenomena of this election should have been expected. After all, the Constitution was a fantastic document for the time it was created but its efforts to balance power need some adjusting for the different circumstances of today.
Arguably, the Constitution now creates more separation than unity. I don’t believe the Electoral College, meant to give equal weight for each vote, was ever envisioned as placing someone without a majority of the votes in the most important office on the planet. Who then could have foreseen the shifting of population or the power of today’s advertising requiring such financial resources for anyone wanting to serve with or without a special agenda?
No, I am not advocating a constitutional convention that would probably take us from bad to worse in this contentious time. I do believe we can do better with at least a modicum of goodwill and respect for all in this nation.
In all the screaming and yelling of this upheaval, where are we to find a healer? As for those who voted to confirm this latest judicial nominee hoping to benefit in their own doubtful elections, I remind them that it does no good to be there if you can’t, or don’t, do the right thing. The administration seems devoid of honor, playing to the worst of human nature.
Vet the candidates carefully. Vote but make it for the best that humans have to offer. There is still a place for honor, integrity and service.
Ruth Gadebusch served as a U.S. naval officer, a trustee of the Fresno Unified School District, a vice chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and in numerous other civic endeavors.