And we wait…for Kavanagh

Judge_Brett_Michael_Kavanaugh

The cloture vote is coming, and I suspect that Kavanaugh will be confirmed sometime tomorrow.

That makes me sad for a few reasons. This is one of those days I will use this as a diary, and diaries are where people write stuff when they’re sad, so here goes.

Of course there’s the obvious reason I’m sad: that the country has elected more conservatives than liberals, and liberal policies fit better with my moral structure. This just reinforces that the conservatives won, and my ideology was rejected, or at least overlooked. That makes me sad because in debates about policy, I gravitate toward the policies that will help the most people, or protect the most vulnerable. So I’m sad when we move toward polices that help a select few more than others, especially when that select few are less in need of the help than anybody else.

But it also makes me sad because I suspect Kavanaugh will remain a partisan, and will remain a symbol of deep divide in our country. Not because he was nominated by Trump, Gorsuch doesn’t carry that torch, but because a large group of Americans will see him as a triumph of good over evil democrats trying to bring him down, while others will see him as a symbol of republicans putting winning over reason and decency.

Beyond that, I am saddened that expertise is once again being dismissed. This is becoming the norm in our nation. Cultural leaning empowers people to ignore experts in climate science. Political ideology provides cover for people to ignore experts in evolutionary biology. And now, the people who we should see as the nations experts in the legal system, law school professors, have spoken out, and are being ignored.

When we ignore the people who know what they’re talking about, we do so at our own risk. That seems foolish, and people being foolish makes me sad, for them, and for those who have to suffer their consequences.

There are others who could fill that SCOTUS seat, even now, without that stain. Others who would rule the same way as him. Others with the same general philosophy. Others who don’t bring that to the table. I’m sure Amy Barrett’s apparent love for theocracy (which may not be a fair characterization) would make my skin crawl, but when I watched her in her last confirmation hearing, I saw a bright, thoughtful, reasonable person, who I respected tremendously. She wouldn’t erase the sadness over the country swinging toward conservative policies, but it would make my sadness unidimensional, as opposed to the multidimensional sadness that I will feel if (when) Kavanaugh is confirmed.

That said, I will not feel joy if Kavanagh is not confirmed. I will feel relief.

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