Hear­ings reach a new low

Di­vided, nation will be con­quered

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION - Lynch Pen LEO LYNCH For­mer JP, Ben­ton County

Amer­ica has proven, in our at­tempt to place a new mem­ber on the Supreme Court, that we don’t need to point a fin­ger at any other coun­try and ac­cuse them of in­ter­fer­ing in our po­lit­i­cal sys­tems. If no other phrase ap­plies to our nation to­day, it is “Di­vide and Con­quer.” The prob­lem of course is, we are prov­ing to be our own “di­vider” and leave our­selves open for some one out­side to “con­quer.”

It would be truly worth­while if all Amer­i­cans could watch the process we are go­ing through in try­ing to get Pres­i­dent Trump’s nom­i­nee ap­pointed for the open­ing on the Supreme Court. The in­di­vid­ual, Brett Ka­vanaugh, may be­come the per­son who fills the void, or if he doesn’t get enough Repub­li­can sen­a­tors to sup­port him, the Democrats will suc­cess­fully de­lay fill­ing the seat. What is em­bar­rass­ing to me as an in­de­pen­dent voter who leans to­ward the Repub­li­can po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, is the man­ner in which both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties have man­aged to stoop to new lows in or­der to pro­tect their agen­das. I might add “dis­gust­ing new lows” to put it in its proper con­text.

We had not de­voted much time to the news­pa­per re­port or the tele­vi­sion cov­er­age of the cloak and dag­ger, grade school politics, un­til the Se­nate hear­ings on Thurs­day. Af­ter watch­ing the af­ter­noon ses­sion — the por­tion de­voted to Mr. Ka­vanaugh’s pre­sen­ta­tion — the fi­nal as­sess­ment at our house­hold is sim­ply that it was a me­dia circus or­ches­trated by grown men and women elected to re­spon­si­ble po­si­tions of lead­er­ship for our coun­try. All Amer­ica should watch, and cringe at how politics, power and money get in the way of our gov­ern­ing process.

Viewer cov­er­age prior to the af­ter­noon ses­sion started with the tele­vi­sion cam­eras fo­cused down long hall­ways, pro­vid­ing a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity for any­one in the area to have a fleet­ing moment (or more in most cases) for them to be seen by a wait­ing au­di­ence of tele­vi­sion view­ers. And, this is while we were wait­ing for the prin­ci­ple char­ac­ters in the drama to make their ap­pear­ance. The wait seemed end­less and the tele­vi­sion crew’s an­chors had to find some­thing to fill the time and keep the au­di­ence en­ter­tained. Peo­ple with cam­eras and/or writ­ing equip­ment, were ev­ery­where and at one point I counted at least six (6) se­cu­rity peo­ple sur­round­ing or be­ing a part of (I couldn’t be sure) a group of sen­a­tors and their staffs. What would the me­dia do if we con­ducted our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem with dig­nity and re­spect not just for drama to fill “on air” time ? We are told we should re­spect our elected lead­ers. What about the in­di­vid­ual vot­ers ? Who in our nation’s Cap­i­tal has re­spect for the vot­ers who sent these “lead­ers” to Wash­ing­ton.

Whether Mr. Ka­vanaugh is the proper per­son to fill a slot on the Supreme Court is a de­ci­sion for oth­ers to make. You and I are the vic­tims of a process we al­lowed to de­velop and it has sunk to a new low as wit­nessed by this event. The at­tacks on in­di­vid­u­als’ char­ac­ters for Dr. Ford and Mr. Ka­vanaugh was an em­bar­rass­ment to a nation which prides it­self in a history of hard work, hon­esty and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tions to our dis­agree­ments. Politics al­lowed this process to be­come a circus of the worst kind. My per­sonal view is our two-party po­lit­i­cal sys­tem is so cor­rupt it will pro­vide for the di­vid­ing of the nation, but nei­ther party will be the ul­ti­mate win­ner. We will all lose as a re­sult.

It won’t be mea­sured by un­em­ploy­ment numbers or gross na­tional prod­uct or even tar­iffs on im­ported goods. The fi­nal mea­sure will be the ef­fect it has on the next gen­er­a­tion of vot­ers who will be wary of every po­lit­i­cal can­di­date of the “other party.” Will the fear that the Se­nate Ju­di­cial Com­mit­tee is an ex­am­ple of the process we can ex­pect, af­fect fu­ture vot­ers’ turnout? Repub­li­can and Democrats alike al­lowed this process to be used to at­tack the nom­i­nee, as well as the per­son ac­cus­ing the nom­i­nee, of be­hav­ior that oc­curred when they were teenagers. I don’t know who is cor­rect, Dr. Ford or the nom­i­nee, but there is no doubt the loser is our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment and the fu­ture of faith in politics.

The circus that sur­rounded these hear­ings will not likely be for­got­ten in the elec­tions this fall, nor in sub­se­quent years when the is­sue of what con­sti­tutes ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­ior be­comes a fac­tor in who “qual­i­fies” for any po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion. How far back in one’s history will qual­ify as the lit­mus test of whether one is guilty of any be­hav­ior by ei­ther sex? This will be a test case for fe­males as well as male qual­i­fi­ca­tions in the fu­ture and as we are see­ing now, 36 years of one’s history is fair game whether true or not true. An ac­cu­sa­tion of “she said, he said” can open Pan­dora’s box of any­one’s history.

Mr. Ka­vanaugh’s daugh­ter sug­gested they pray for Dr. Ford. I cer­tainly sup­port her com­ments but maybe we need to go one step fur­ther and pray for our nation and our lead­ers who seem not to rec­og­nize their role in our nation’s fu­ture.

•••

Edi­tor’s note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning colum­nist, is a na­tive of Ben­ton County and has deep roots in north­west Arkansas. He is a re­tired in­dus­trial en­gi­neer and for­mer Jus­tice of the Peace.

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