I can’t believe I have to remind a grown man — a US Senator — of this basic fact.
I sent this letter to my Ohio Senator, Rob Portman. Apparently, he has pulled the fax numbers off his website, so I have to email it through the form — which will just generate a form-letter reply — and mail it via USPS, which will take up to two months for him to receive it. So, I’m posting it everywhere I can.
Dear Senator Portman,
When a soccer match starts at a tournament, each team knows the rules. You only get 90 minutes to score more goals than the other team, you can’t play the ball offsides and you can’t tackle the keeper with your cleats up. When the official blows the whistle three times at the end, the score is what it is. You can’t change it; you don’t get another five minutes to make a few more goals.
Sometimes you can challenge the nuances of whether or not the ball crossed the white line, whether the player was really offsides; but you do not get to change the fundamental rules of the game before, during and after you agreed to engage another team. A loss is not easy, but to accept a win by cheating is worse. It carves out your soul.
We teach our kids these things. We teach them to play by the rules as part of the bargain they strike with each other — with the sport — because it builds character and trust. It maintains order and helps each of the players grow as human beings.
When Justice Neil Gorsuch was nominated for an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America, he knew the rules. You knew the rules. The goal was 60 votes. He needs to get 60 votes to win the nomination.
We can argue his competence, the privilege of the President — all these things do not change the fundamental rule that was in force when he was nominated. In addition, changing the rules for future nominees changes the fundamental underlying trust we must have in our government to be a stable country.
Playing by the rules is a fundamental tenet for trust, that we trust you as a United States Senator to not change the rules of the game when the play is not going in your favor. The goal is not to win, but to play fair so that when you do win, it means something.
I can’t believe I have to remind a grown man of this basic fact.
cc: Senate Majority Leader McConnell via FAX (202) 224–2499