If Kavanaugh and Trump had my values
Imagine Donald Trump’s personality and biography were exactly the same, but in 2016 he made promises to dismantle the Warfare State, Surveillance State, and Police State, and seemed sincere about it.
Would I have viewed “grab her by the pussy” an admission of sexual assault, as I did at the time, or would I have dismissed it as “locker-room talk?” Would I have viewed his Twitter rants as counterproductive at best, or would I be cheering him on: “Give ’em hell!”
Imagine Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t the worst sort of institutional conservative, but instead built his career at places like the Institute for Justice and the Innocence Project, and Trump appointed him to the Supreme Court because lawyers from places like that are the only ones to trust.
Would I believe Kavanaugh’s denial of attempted rape as a teenager? Would I dismiss the charge as irrelevant to his life and career as an adult?
More importantly, would I take action to defend him? Would I publicly attack the Democrats over this?
I ask myself these questions to test where my loyalties lie: to principle, or to politicians?
How loyal would I be to someone who was best equipped to advance my values in the political arena? How flawed would they have to be, or how many scandals, would it take for me to cut bait?
I’m increasingly inclined to cut bait quickly. Nobody’s worth the trouble
Remember that these powerful people are not “sacrificing” for you. Politicians (including aspiring judges) aren’t public servants, they’re in the game because of ambition. They’re after power and fame, from which they can profit.
They suck you in by turning small things that don’t affect you into giant controversies. They get you to take to the streets, to give them your money, to scream at and insult those who see things differently.
The only thing worse than giving politicians power, is to give them your power. The power to think for yourself. The power to spend your energy and time in constructive or pleasurable activities. The power to smile and laugh with others.
The more you go to bat for them — the more you lose friends arguing over politicians — the worse off you are. You sacrifice for them; what do you get in return?
They don’t care for you. They’re not loyal to you. You are means to their ends. You’re a pawn in a game in which even when your “side” wins, you lose. You just squandered a lot of time, money, and relationships.
And in the end, your life looks pretty much the same. How different would a replacement for Kavanaugh really be? And how often do Supreme Court decisions affect you anyway?
You control nothing. You change nothing.
Nobody’s obligated to join in the political fight over Kavanaugh or anything or anyone else. Nobody becomes a better citizen for it.
If anything, controversies like this show how firm a grip politics has over one’s soul.
Let’s loosen it. Surrender your loyalties. Don’t surrender your power.