In dishonorably surrendering to toxic politics, Arizona’s senior senator has sold his soul
Note first that I am neither a Trump supporter nor sympathetic to your Republican Party that enabled him to set the tone of a presidential campaign as one of the most divisive and without doubt the sleaziest in our republic’s history.
But I am deeply dismayed that you, Mr. McCain, would be the one to provide one of the most disappointing lows in a campaign already mired in gutter disappointments. Do you actually believe in the deepest depths of your heart, your soul, that our country can be served by a Supreme Court that you have avowed will remain fractured another four years if Hillary Clinton becomes President?
I’d like to think you do not believe that. But I can’t. By calling for four more years of Republican obstructionism, I can only conclude that you have dishonorably surrendered to the divisiveness and toxic partisanship that has paralyzed our country’s highest court and, by extension, rendering it impotent in deciding judiciary matters of federal importance.
And in “selling out” to party politics at the expense of the good of our country, this time, Mr. McCain, you have indeed lost your soul.
One of my most imbedded memories of your career is from your2008 presidential campaign. At a rally in Florida, a woman told you she didn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.” You shook your head as you defended your political rival as a “good” America. I saw in your eyes and heard in your words a man who had reclaimed his honor by taking a symbolic step back from the precipice of losing his very soul to that campaign.
You earned higher respect, rightfully so, in your concession speech to the new President-elect and in your comment that our democracy works after voters have spoken. Although I have never been a registered Republican, I was somewhat puzzled and even sympathetic to you when your own state party publicly reprimanded you for not being “conservative” enough.
I disagreed with your endorsement of your party’s presidential nominee but, again, you redeemed yourself when you withdrew your support after Mr. Trump’s sick sex tape emerged. Now, however, your un-endorsement of Mr. Trump, means little if anything. In vowing to stand with your party’s colleagues to block any Supreme Court nominee during an entire Democrat administration, you have chosen gutter and poisonous partisanship that does anything but serve the interest of the public that elected you.
In the end, you and your colleagues are circumventing your constitutional requirement to convene confirmation hearings for any judicial nominee submitted by the executive branch of government. You and your colleagues are derelict in your duty to both the federal constitution and the America people.
Mr. McCain, if your intent was to put the American public “on notice” that a broken judiciary and inconsistent federal law are preferred over democracy, it might have backfired. Many of us are now more committed to pressing the importance to vote out GOP leadership in the Senate and, God granting, in Congress. It will not be enough for us simply to return majority status to Democrats: we are also working to fire enough Senate Republicans to ensure your party does not have enough members to even filibuster.
We can then hope a Democrat majority will simply change the GOP rule that allows the obstructionism your chamber has imposed on the country. Maybe then American democracy can work again and provide the leadership your party has failed to provide despite your leadership status in both the Senate and House.
You may still have a slim shot at redeeming your reputation and your legacy, Mr. McCain. In a presidential election that has burdened the country with a GOP nominee who clearly has no knowledge or respect of American political institutions or tradition, many of us fear bloodshed on and after Election Day. You may still have enough credibility outside Arizona to be a voice of calm and reason in urging peace and respect of the country’s democratic process.
I hope you weigh this as your possible redemption. But if you choose you not to do so, as is your right, know that we as an American public will push on and prove to you, our elected officials, that our democracy really does work – in spite of Republicans.
Photo: Flickr/ Gage Skidmore