At present, our country seems separated. Justice Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment highlights all aspects of division in the United States: #MeToo, political maneuvering, biased media coverage, issues with social media and more. Many choose to scrutinize the current allegations against Kavanaugh in deciding his legitimacy to sit on the Supreme Court. This is unconditionally rational.
However, I believe that the controversy surrounding Kavanaugh’s appointment means much more than just the seating of a Supreme Court justice. Rather, the recent events of the past two weeks (and perhaps two years) have strained our democracy to the core. No matter what transpired with Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment, I fear we may have unlatched Pandora’s Box and there’s no way to secure it.
I’m not going to pretend that I know what occurred between Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford; no one except the two parties and witnesses can definitively say what happened. However, it is clear that both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford are victims of the political battlefield brought on by both the Democrats and Republicans. It’s difficult to view either party’s actions in a positive light.
Each move of the Democrats increasingly seems to be part of a political gambit. Why didn’t Senator Feinstein bring Dr. Ford’s accusations to the attention of her colleagues immediately if it was going to be “leaked” anyway? Why wait until after all the judiciary hearings to drop the accusation? Why did Dr. Ford’s lawyer at first insist she be heard in a hearing and then proclaim that there must be a full FBI investigation beforehand? It’s extremely likely that these actions are all politically motivated with intent to delay the Kavanaugh appointment. If Democrats frankly cared about Dr. Ford’s allegation and trying to find the truth, they would have brought it to the attention of the FBI and Senate Judiciary Committee weeks ago, or at the very least would have held a private, independent investigation.
Now let’s talk about Republicans: they (at least most of them) were always going to vote for Kavanaugh’s appointment. They too care little about the actual allegations. Justice Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford are simply a means to acquire political ends. Republicans are trying to direct attention to Kavanaugh’s calendar, the map of said witnesses’ homes in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and his“impeccable” record. Republicans fail to recognize the emotional attachment that many have to Dr. Ford’s case and point. They refuse to see the legitimacy of such testimonies, ostracizing those who see such as of vital importance to the #MeToo movement, and perhaps to our democracy as well. In addition to this, Republicans fail to see the problem in appointing a Supreme Court justice whose character and morals are ambiguous. However, what is most problematic is the Republicans’ promise to equally oppose the Democrats’ Supreme Court nomination when it is their time around. This behavior further divides our country.
As an eighteen-year-old, this is the type of political maneuvering I have come to know. It is the only type of politics I know. Quick Google searches can give me insight into the past: a world where Supreme Court Justices received 90+ votes from the Senate for their appointments, where partisan lines weren’t paramount, and where preserving our democracy was of utmost importance. An appointment to the Supreme Court will never again be so unanimous; it will only be a contentious affair, strictly based on partisan politics.
Division, tribalism, party over country—these are characteristics that currently define the United States. Gone are the days where we strictly sought compromise in the name of justice. In are the days where every square inch of the political battlefield will be fought and clawed for; until there is nothing left. Pandora’s box has been opened, and these controversies and partisan actions may keep it open for good.