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Make the Supreme Court Great Again

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Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

What’s really shocked me the most about the Trump campaign is how un-American it is. In spite of his campaign motto, it is not possible to make something great while undermining the pillars the hold it in place.

As Hillary pointed out in the early debates and as Obama has addressed in several speeches, we’re a nation of laws, not men. We do not, by law, and should not, by custom, gravitate toward politicians and candidates who point to themselves as the solution rather than to their policies as the way forward. Trump points to himself as a solution because that’s all he knows: he’s a creature of the media, he’s a brand, and what he sells is himself. The claim of Trump Inc. is that if you partner with him and he lets you put his name on your project, you’ll be able to sell whatever your product is at a premium, and what he gets is a big cut of that premium.

And Donald Trump believes he can sell this same scheme to the American voter: To be clear, he’s not offering to add actual value to America, he’s offering to add perceived value based on nothing but his name. He has succeeded so far because he destroyed the Republican candidates who didn’t understand the kind of game he was playing, and he steamrolled the Republican party who also didn’t understand. He’s partially succeeded in the general election by keeping the media focus on side issues that play to his strengths, which are bluster and trumped-up rage, rather than on core issues involving policy, budget ideas and clear alternate solutions, because he has nothing to offer at that level.

Donald Trump is like the kid who pushes his way into a pickup baseball game and then insists that the rules be changed to work around his few strengths and to ignore his weaknesses: 7 strikes and you’re out.

So this is another state in a conservative movement to make government stop working; in this case, by turning it into a clown show. The first stage was loading the House of Representatives and the Senate with people who think that digging in their heels will at least slow down the forward progress of the country which is all too clearly heading in a liberal direction. The direction can’t be stopped, so the game is to make it very hard and slow to get to where we’re going.

All evidence is that mucking up the works is the goal of the conservative movement. It’s clearest in the resistance to the Obama agenda, in the existence of people like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, the repeated attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act or to stand in the way at the state level, of it having a chance to succeed. The agenda is always to obstruct and prevent progress of any liberal idea regardless of who it hurts.

The agenda is clearest and most damaging to the nation in the Senate’s refusal to consider Obama’s recommendation for the Supreme Court. By refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing, the Senate has declared that they can decide which parts of their job they choose to do. Aside from the damage that decision does to the institution of the US Senate (and again, that works to the advantage of both anti-government and anti-American adherents), it does worse damage to the court and the nation. The court is diminished by being short a voice, short a point of view and simply short-handed, and America is diminished by being yet more fractured. Every time the court hears a case that results in a tie, or when it reduces its case load because it cannot handle the load, American law will be decided at a lower level. For every major decision made at a lower court level, and simply left in place because the higher court couldn’t take part, America becomes more regionalized, more fractured and less a cohesive country that moves in a single direction and that can make claims of being, in any way, great again.

Written by Alan

October 28th, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Writing