Democrats should hold confirmation hearings and approve President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in a respectful, timely way. In other words, they ought to act in the way Republicans should have acted with President Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland. How Liberals and Progressives respond to this nomination will show whether their ongoing protests and anger are truly principled or are just aimless expressions of emotion.
Most every action Trump has taken since becoming President has been abnormal, irresponsible, immoral, incompetent, or counter-productive. He is, in my opinion entirely unfit for the office of President, and has not the moral, intellectual, nor executive substance that this office requires. Yet I am in the electoral minority. Donald J. Trump is the President now, and even if he does not treat the Presidency with the respect and dignity it deserves, the rest of us should.
All of the Opinion pieces I’ve seen so far that have argued for Democratic obstruction of the Gorsuch nomination, do so on two primary grounds: the Republican travesty of blocking Obama’s pick for the past year, and the Conservatism of Gorsuch. Both of these reasons come up short.
One of the smartest and funniest women at my church, Alyssa, has this great blog you should all follow. In it, her observations on life, cities, and spirituality are whip smart and hilarious. Several weeks ago, she put up a post asking “Is Trump America’s Lent?” She writes:
For the purposes of this argument, let’s call Lent an annual wake-up call, a reminder that we aren’t as good as we think we are….Trump’s success so far is a wake-up call in itself, like a large-scale Lent: maybe we aren’t as good as we think we are. Apparently, as a country we’re actually more racist and fearful than we thought we were just a few months ago, when people laughed at the thought of him actually standing a chance. The land of the free might just be okay with building that wall. The home of the brave is actually pretty scared of Muslims.
This is incredibly insightful, and I think it turns our national “Trump-versation” to a helpful place in the Lent season. Rather than trying to understand “the Trump voter” on a micro-individual level–a level full of misunderstanding, prejudice, and judgmentalism on all sides–we might turn our gaze inward to our nation as a whole. Looking at the bigger movements and structures of our society, we can ask the hard questions that you can’t really ask when staring another individual in the face.
Today is one of my proudest days as a case manager, as I’ve been able to assist several of my clients in voting today. Sitting down with them, helping them find their local polling place, driving to the center, walking them through the ballot and the voting machines, and then watching them vote has been amazing. I wanted to share a conversation I had today with (as we’ll call him) “Chris”. He’s grown up well-within poverty his entire life in the roughest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. He’s been in the mental health system since he was very young, with a mind full of voices and confusion.
Having neglected my favorite columnist and favorite podcast as of late, it was easy to forget. As I said in my post about almost voting for Romney, I let the Conventions sort-of sweep me up. I swore I’d never give in, but oh those sirens were such smooth-talking mistresses.
First, as I mentioned last week, the big shift for me towards Obama was Clinton’s speech at the National Convention. I thought it was amazing. But, this speech ended up being not as factually accurate as it sounded. And (speaking of how it sounded) as Dan Carlin said (as I was finally catching up with his podcast), this speech was only our generation’s introduction to the kind of politician Clinton’s always been. This was simply vintage Clinton, and I admit, I developed a little man-crush.
[Update II: I have a companion post up about why I’m not voting for Obama either.]
I’ve got to admit it. The Convention knocked me off of my game. For a brief few days, I was being wooed by the scripted politi-fest of the Republican National Convention. I ended up listening to Paul Ryan’s speech live on the radio (on NPR, no less!) after a long day at work, and for some reason, I really resonated with it.
I started thinking, “Hey, I know they are jerks, and immature, and arrogant, and reactionary, and obstructionist, but I could maybe sort of think about thinking about thinking about voting for these guys!” (Clint Eastwood notwithstanding.)
But then a few things happened. First, this 8-minute dismantling of the Republican National Convention (and the GOP generally) by Jon Stewart. Brilliant. (If these Hulu clips ever expire, you can find the clips at the Daily Show website at the alternative links below.)
Here we go again. This usually happens every four years in the summer after the major Party Conventions, and the full-blown presidential campaign is in full swing. This time, though, it’s happening about six-months early in January (I wrote about this quadrennial event back in ’08).
And so, I just wanted to give everyone a quick heads-up that my political self is rousing from his hibernation, and I tell you what–he’s more passionate and (this is new!) clear-headed about what he thinks and why.
(Attached to this post, you can see a picture of my inner “political animal”. He’s been around for a while now. Thanks, Dad.)
So expect a shift in the content of this blog. Yes, there will still be plenty of pastoral and theological musings, but you’ll also see an increasing number of political posts on this site in the coming weeks and months (hey, maybe I can try and start writing for Patrol Magazine again!).
I feel like I’m finally settling into a cohesive and articulate (and defensible) set of beliefs concerning politics-influenced-by-faith: where we’re off the mark, we’re we need to be, and how to get there. So, expect some ideological posts on that stuff, but also expect some commentary on the unfolding politics as they move forward toward November.