I wonder how many of you have been, like me, deeply disturbed by the events surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Perhaps you are on the side of Kavanaugh and you think a qualified man has been treated unfairly, or maybe you are on the side of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and believe this is a seminal #MeToo moment, not only for Ford, but for women everywhere.
Or maybe you have watched with a certain horror, as I have, as the story has been breathlessly reported, hour after hour, for weeks now.
None of this feels like the way the Republic should be functioning. It has brought out the worst in what is supposed to be the upper chamber, the more deliberative body of the Congress.
The arguments, dueling press conferences, endless talking heads and opining reminds me of a bitter divorce. When a couple, furious with each other, splits up the raw emotions, hurt and resentment are so intense that they refuse (or can’t) agree on anything.
Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats. Like a divorce, it’s hard to tell when the relationship started to go south; you only know when it is beyond repair.
Certainly it didn’t help when the Republicans blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland, prompting Democrats to settle the score with Kavanaugh, which caused Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to angrily say to the Democrats, “If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”
The dysfunction, which is modified and intensified by 24/7 news coverage, inflames the public, or maybe the senators are only reflecting their constituents’ rage, or maybe they are feeding on each other, like a perpetual motion machine of fury.
The result is each side wants more than to win; it wants to bash in the head of the other, skin the corpse and leave the remains for the buzzards and worms. That kind of victory only guarantees that when the other side gets its chance, the punishment will be even more severe.
This is what rage does. It corrodes our well-being to the point where we are not thinking rationally, but instead focusing on retribution.
I went through a divorce years ago, and fortunately, it was not nearly as acrimonious as many, even though we had to sort through the complicated and emotional issue of custody of our son.
The best piece of advice I received at the time was, “You may not be married for life, but you will divorced for life.” In other words, you have a child together so you better figure out how to get along.
We are all Americans and we have a country together, a great republic founded on divine ideals and certitude of those principles, but also on compromise and common purpose.
At the very least we have an obligation to those who have gone before us and sustained our democracy to try harder to keep our great country from ending up locked in a protracted divorce where neither side wins.