Columnist's defense of Barret nomination is fantasy
Michael Ryan, in his Kansas City Star column of Sept. 21, calls for fairness in a Supreme Court appointment. Fairness requires action that treats all equally, removed from power or bias, and tied to ethics that put justice before political gain.
Quoting Obama to justify a senatorial rubber stamp of Trump’s choice, Ryan suggests such Republican goose-stepping could shock Democrats, but neither Democrats nor the world are shocked by Trump’s power-mongering, deceit, and petty vengeance, residing not just in his Oval Office lies, documented in tens of thousands, but in the craven pretense that they are good for America while multiplying the perversity of his political capital.
Ryan praises “simple facts” and self-governance, which require multi-factorial skills, not one-dimensional convictions void of neutrality. He dismisses the insight and perceptual depth required for matters of historical weight and future outcomes, and seems intent on gutting the Constitution’s spirit of judicial balance, while calling that fairness.
In 2016, Obama brought a knife to a gunfight, offering the Republicans the moderate Merrick Garland, thus feeding himself, Garland, and the Court’s fate to a cult of political savages who wouldn’t recognize fairness if it filled their Senatorial diapers with broken glass. Their stone-walling exposed an anti-constitutional cancer and abandonment of duty to America’s future. These sins against fairness and ethics, perversions multiplied exponentially by Trump, Ryan wants to call “simple” choices.
Ryan’s fantasy of “self-governance” stumbles thrice. It ignores America’s political slavery to the hyper-wealthy in a corrupted lily gilded by Citizens United. Further, voters are separated from “self-governance” by an Electoral College whereby a minority of voters empower a president, an illogical endowment Ryan christens “well-earned.” Chapter three of his fantasy dwells in the Senate, where power, influence, and the determination of U.S. policy is shared equally by an office-holder representing five million voters with one representing 1/10 that. Ryan argues for “reason,” but his views thrive on the distortion of power.
An imperfect Constitution offers knaves the chance to banish morality from politics by wielding power without restraint. Ryan supports that perversion in his party’s hierarchy: in their 2016 rejection of Garland, and now in direct contradiction to their “reasons” then. Does this glaring hypocrisy escape Ryan’s “simple” grasp? He calls this violation of civic ethics a “function,” and the power abuses of Trump and the Senate “fair” because “the people” gave Trump power in 2016. But “the people” didn’t elect Trump; a lopsided Electoral College did, and that distortion has proven to “the people” that Trump is wholly unworthy of trust and power. The waves of disgust and distrust are measurable, palpable, and unequivocal. The Republican Senate knows it. Trump knows it. His reactionary base of medieval Bible-thumping cave-dwellers knows it. And the people’s will would stop their invidious actions today if our revered but imperfect Constitution allowed it. Hence, these anti-patriots, with Ryan’s approval, want a rush to judgment, defying the voters’ will, the deified, democratic principle these same “hobgoblins” chanted in 2016.
Ryan abandons his journalistic ethics in not broadcasting this hypocrisy, one so overwhelming as to raise public nausea from heretofore unplumbed depths. He asks: “At what point should a president not take action because the next one might see things differently?” Since should implies fairness, ethics, and morality, a president should not take action when he has so flamboyantly turned the office into the laughingstock of the developed world, dragging its standing deeper into the muck than anyone in living memory. Ignoring these facts applauds a preference for swinish gratification over social and civic ethics.
Ryan argues that Republicans should never be asked to “check their beliefs at the door.” But beliefs are not reason, not knowledge or truth, just biases toward previous choices. Evidently, the Constitution and America’s common good, to which these Republicans swore commitment, means less to them and Ryan than kowtowing to party dogma. Ryan cannot imagine why a Republican would put the Constitution before his ideology and hide-bound convictions. Self-indulgent short-term gains come before the nation’s and the society’s progress.
Ryan argued for “deliberation” vs. “rubber stamping” even as McConnell’s Republicans blindly pre-approved Trump’s unknown choice. Our First Amendment reveres the power and expected ethics of journalism, but a journalist who can’t adhere to that implied honor embodies the wisdom of the sage who said: “Better that he keeps his mouth shut and be thought an idiot, than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Lance Mason lives in Ashland.