Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some Of My Best Friends Aren't Democrats!

You know, President Obama could nominate Mother Theresa or Jesus Christ himself for the Supreme Court or to be a federal judge and some Republican somewhere would come from out of the woodworks and find fault with them, simply because it's this president's choice and their entire reason for living is to attack everything he does, regardless of what it is.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan pledged at her Senate confirmation hearing on Monday to show the "evenhandedness and impartiality" the Constitution demands if she is confirmed, and to offer proper deference to Congress and the laws it makes. The court must ensure that "our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals," she said before a rapt Judiciary Committee and a nationwide television audience on the opening day of her hearing. "But the court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people."

The 50 year old solicitor general and former Harvard Law School dean appeared on track for confirmation before the high court opens a new term in October, as she delivered a brief statement at the end of a day of senatorial speechmaking. Kagan stopped by the Oval Office of the White House to receive best wishes from President Barack Obama on her way to the hearing. A few moments and little more than a mile distant, she strode with a smile into the committee room and took her place at the witness table, where senatorial ritual then required her to sit for hours while lawmakers delivered prepared speeches from an elevated dais across the room.

Finally, at mid-afternoon, it was her turn. "I will listen hard, to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. I will work hard and I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance with law," she said.

Kagan faces hours of questioning, both friendly and otherwise, when the panel meets on Tuesday, a grilling that she has spent hours preparing for under the tutelage of White House advisers. Already the political fault lines are well-drawn. "I believe the fair-minded people will find her philosophy well within the legal mainstream," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the panel's chairman. "I welcome questions, but urge senators on both sides to be fair. No one should presume that this intelligent woman who has excelled during every part of her varied and distinguished career, lacks independence."

But, the committee's senior Republican signaled that Kagan can expect tough questioning. (See what I mean?) "It's not a coronation but a confirmation process," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. He said she had "less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years." And, he said her decision to bar military recruiters from Harvard Law School's career services office was in violation of the law, a legal conclusion disputed by the White House. And, the battle goes on. They would say that Jesus Christ drank too much wine if he was nominated or that Mother Theresa was too much of a pacifist. Nobody nominated for anything by President Obama could just get a free pass and be liked by all. That's just not how it works.

I know someone, a stauch Republican, who happens to be black and in my fraternity, believe it or not (which is probably the only reason I deal with the brother at all), who states that the constitution grants us all the right to question our president and hold him accountable as well as respectfully disagree with his policies and nominations. I couldn't agree with him more. He agrees with me that the "tea baggers" or "tea party" crowd (whatever) are a bunch of ignorant zombies being led by (and, this is his term) "entertainers" (Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Sean Hannity). He finds them embarrassing and he finds Ann Coulter to be mean-spirited and racist. So why does he align himself with a party that uses said "entertainers" as its standard bearer? You tell me... I'm trying to figure that one out.

I bring my friend and fraternity brother up because, while we manage to agree on some things and feel the same way about some of the same people, he still spouts the Republican Party line and sees President Obama as "close to being a socialist." He was once a Democrat, but feels as though the Democratic Party has betrayed black people and taken them for granted, which is something I can't completely dispute. He finds fault in everything this president seems to do and he is one of Elena Kagan's staunches critics. He says she is "too left-leaning."

Most of the brothers steer clear of talking politics with him. We keep our conversations mostly on the fraternity, sports, sex, and typical guy things where we find common ground. But, every once and a while, politics rears it's ugly head into the conversation and this poor guy, the lone Republican and Obama-hater in a pool of Pro-Obama, Democratic, and left-leaning brothers, gets shouted down. If you mention George Bush and HIS record, we get... "Okay, how long are you guys going to keep hanging on to that?"

Again, I bring this brother up, because he is my only avenue into the "Republican mind." He's not the only Republican I know... not even the only black one... but, he is the only one that I like otherwise, in spite of his politics. No, I take that back. I have an ex-girlfriend who "thinks" she's a Republican. If my fraternity brother and friend think so narrow-minded and one sided, I can imagine what long-time members of Congress and the Senate must be like... Poor Barack, you just can't win! Poor Elena Kagan... you just might get through this and then what?

Perhaps, we should all be like Brother Charles Williams. Brother Chuck is not a Democrat or a Republican... he holds both parties and their candidates accountable and votes for the candidate that best serves his particular interests at the time. Now, that I can certainly get behind. Oh, and he voted for Barack Obama! (Just thought I'd throw that in there.)


Arlene said...

I agree!! And note that Jesus and Mother Theresa loved "the least of these." I think that's the problem, those with the least. Some prefer to consider themselves above others and need to have someone "below" them so they can feel "superior." To be a "master" there must be a "slave." God's blessing is for the entire world. His goal is that ALL should be saved and live abundant lives. Some with a narrow vision think that blessing is interpreted only through financial wealth. That's all wrong. When the gifts of God are listed in the bible, there is no dollar amount attached. We must share the blessings of the world, not withhold them based on skin color or bank balance.

I pray for God's gifts for you and your readers: love, joy, peace, lovingkindness and self-control.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

Politics is a strange animal and for the most part it is pretty self serving no matter which side of the table you are on.

What I do hate is that people will try and malign you simply as a means to show their loyalty even if it makes absolutely no sense to do so (ie. the congressman from TX who apologized to BP). I think this is what will happen during the Senate confirmations - a bunch of speeches to state that so and so stood up for their party.

At the end of the day, if Elena Kagan holds her ground, she'll be confirmed. Hell, if Clarence "Uncle" Thomas can remain a justice, they shouldn't have a problem confirming Ms. Kagan.


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