By Barney Blakeney
I’ve been reluctant to weigh in on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination for Supreme Court Justice. As my former editor might remark, what more can be said. In reality, now that Kavanaugh’s appointment has been confirmed, there’s probably a whole lot more to be said.
As Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing played out, like most folk I hoped for the best. I didn’t really know what that was however. In the modern world of mass communications and infinite information sources, it’s hard to determine the truth about most stuff. Folks tell you their own versions of the truth. You have to get the facts and decide the truth for yourself.
In my time on this earth I’ve found that people will tell you what they want you to know – usually that’s only as much as is necessary to serve their own purposes. Nowadays, what people tell you may have nothing to do with the truth. My dear departed friend Ellis Mack, whose birthday was Columbus Day, used to say everybody’s got an agenda.
Folks will try to influence you based on their own agenda. Drawing any informed conclusions about the Kavanaugh nomination was difficult because all the talking heads had their own agendas. As the Temptations 1970 hit said, sorting out the truth in the Kavanaugh nomination indeed was a “Ball of Confusion”!
But I followed the process hoping for the best. Like most folks, I had never heard of Brett Kavanaugh – had no idea who he was or what he was about. I asked some folks I trust who know him better what they thought and they shared their perspectives. I wasn’t concerned whether the guy was a Democrat or Republican. I wanted to know whether the guy would make a good Supreme Court Justice.
Of course, I don’t think anyone should dismiss what the guy did privately seven years ago or 37 years ago. I think a person’s character matters – especially a person who will influence our nation’s judicial direction for the next 100 years! So I was disappointed at Kavanaugh’s confirmation this past weekend. Disappointed, not surprised.
Hoping for the best I figured our Senate would take a pass on this guy and look for a better candidate – someone whose character isn’t quite so much in question.
But our political leaders played the partisan politics card. The fact that the nomination was so contentious, should say to any rational well-meaning person, this guy isn’t the one. Our leaders pushed a political agenda, not necessarily one that might be in the best interest of our nation. Again, as the Temptations said, “That’s what the world is today.”
I think what must be asked at this juncture is whether we will continue to allow our leadership to make decisions that are not in our best interest. Next month we get the opportunity to start the process of changing how important decisions are made by changing who makes those decisions. The November 6 general elections are vitally important to that process.
We’ve painted ourselves in a corner. America’s political tail, our political leadership, is wagging the dog, we the people, because we’ve failed to perform due diligence in choosing that leadership. And it ain’t about Democrats versus Republicans because one is dang near just as bad as the other – especially for Black, brown and poor people.
We, the voters, have facilitated an entrenched, broken system of representation. Here in South Carolina, in 2016 92 of 124 S.C. House members virtually ran unopposed. In the S.C. Senate 38 of 46 senators were unopposed. Many of those cats retire from the legislature! They decide who runs for office because they determine the district lines and create safe seats for themselves – Democrats and Republicans!
We the people must stop looking at this thing through political or racially partisan prisms. This ain’t about Democrat/Republican, or Black/white. This is about what’s best for our local communities, our state and our nation. When SCE&G/Santee Cooper screwed up the nuclear plant construction the losers in that game was Democrats and Republicans, Blacks and whites. The losers in that game were the rest of us. In Charleston County as we grapple with the cost of the $33 million former Charleston Naval Hospital scam and the $700 million deal for construction of the I-526 completion it ain’t Democrat and Republican or Black and white.
We won’t be able to turn things around with the November 6 general election, but we can start a process of change. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. We can’t continue to do the same thing electorally and expect change. We’ve got a month to figure out who’s for us and who’s against us.
Voters should go to the polls en masse November 6 not seeking vengeance, but seeking change. And we should repeat the process in 2020 and so on until we have political leadership that works for us.
The Kavanaugh confirmation may be settled, but there’s still a lot more voters can say.