Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let's Get on With It

As you know, if you’ve been paying attention, the election of Donald Trump as POTUS has shaken me. The noise around how to handle his nominees … give them a fair hearing or scuttle from the get-go as much as possible … left me unclear about even what I wanted to happen. Just recently I signed a No Labels petition to immediately give Donald Trump’s SCOTUS nominee a hearing.

( No Labels is an independent political group whose interest is in getting work done, getting members of the various political parties together to agree on issues to be resolved and then working to resolve them. I had heard from them well before the election and both their agenda and their tone engaged me. E-mails just before Thanksgiving included, for example, hints about how to talk to that ornery uncle/brother/cousin/sister who voted for the other guy. It said, in part ( my emphases ),

“No Labels has been fighting an uphill battle to make our political discourse more civil, more grounded in the facts and more constructive.

This effort starts with you. It starts with leading by example, not just abstractly wishing for our political leaders to be better.

So if you are talking politics this year, here is the No Labels key word: empathy. Try to really understand where the person across the table is coming from. Listen instead of just loading up the next attack while the other person is talking.

Try to understand where your aunt, uncle, dad or brother is coming from, which means never starting a sentence with the following phrase: "How could you possibly vote for...!?!" That's only going to put the person you ask on the defensive.”

Not rocket science, for sure, but good reminders about communication skills and an excellent reminder that divisiveness can start and end with me. )

Their petition letter said, among other things and paraphrasing, “this is not the time for political retribution.” The overall no-nonsense attitude I have gotten from No Labels in the past put me in touch with their good intentions and put me over the edge about what to do and even how to think regarding the nomination.

I’d seen and read other items, most of which said something like, “The Democrats need to develop some spine,” some of which said, “the court needs a 9th justice, get on with the consideration of this nominee.” My own knee-jerk reaction was with those wanting the Democrats to get a spine, but I also knew that my knee-jerk reaction was neither my best self nor a basis on which to decide. I was, and remain, concerned that giving a fair hearing will only embolden the Republicans to more dirty – though entirely lawful – tricks. My perception is they are completely shameless. I know that fear is not a good reason to decide much of anything, and the urging of No Labels put me over the top.

So … I am now squarely behind vetting Judge Gorsuch. I doubt that I want him confirmed, though I do like his notion that the role of the judiciary is other than creating new law, only interpreting the law that is in front of it.

My fervent hope, regardless of who the ultimate justice is, is that there is enough written law and Constitutional limits on Presidential power that our current President is unable to govern as he seems to have been trying to do since the inauguration. And that the judges who hear the cases are independent enough to make the appropriate decisions and have tools adequate to the task of enforcing them.
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