On the morning of the first Senate floor vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, I’d like to focus on Donald Trump’s words about Al Franken in Rochester, Minnesota, last night. It stuns me how often Trump clearly states his modus operandi aloud, and we mostly dismiss Trump’s rally statements while we openly debate the events of the past week concerning Dr. Blaise-Ford and Kavanaugh.
As is his wont, Trump started his grift by giving a one-word, simple-adjective, schoolyard-appropriate hint about Franken, labelling him “wacky.” Then, Trump worked the room like a stand-up comedian, knowing everybody there knows he’s working his way to a zinger about Al Franken, by repeating the label with that Trumpian inflection, ”He was wacky!”
Then, he gives the crowd and the country the Trumpian modus operandi that has been working for the Republican Party since Trump’s victory in 2016:
“Boy, did he fold up like, uh, a wet rag, huh?” “He was gone so fast…I don’t want to mention Al Franken’s name, OK?…so I won’t mention it…He was gone…He was gone so fast!…It was like…oh, he did something…Oh-oooooh, I resign. I quit. I quit.”
Later today, when the Senate likely will vote to move Brett Kavanaugh closer to the bench of the Supreme Court of the land, the Republican Party will approve of Trump’s methodology to win-at-all-costs by denying all flaws, faults, and mistakes of the party platform and to lie for one’s own benefit and at anyone else’s expense. Never surrender to the Democrats! They’re quitters! We’re winners! Deny everything, and always be right!
I have been having numerous flashbacks to the 2016 election, when Trump’s man-versus-woman, locker-room-talk, Clinton-rapist shenanigans tore this country apart. It’s happening again, right now in 2018. I have to tell you my anxiety is ramping up because I fear a repeat of 2016, when the polls were incorrect and votes were cast by an inflamed American population.
I’d prefer not to offer my opinion at this moment on the volatile internet. These past few weeks, I’ve seen the same thing I saw in 2016 on the internet, namely vulgar trolling…bullying, masochistic, Trumpian language by vicious writers emboldened by the internet. I have read rational arguments summarily dismissed by raving commenters who crap all over decorum, civility, and honor in public discourse. There have even been a few trolls that have popped up on my blog since my return several months ago, just like they did in 2016, when I admittedly wrote with more ignorance about that election on my blog.
Then, I was writing with the notion that what I wrote might sway people to my opinions.
Today, I am writing with the fear that what I write might sway people to side with Trump and the Republicans, just out of sheer spite because…who knows? I really can’t tell you anymore why people insist on an allegiance to Trump, unless you think that being a good boss, businessman, father, husband, and President means you gotta be a racist, misogynistic asshole. If Trump’s your guy, then fine…but understand I’m not writing this essay for you, and I believe you’re probably a racist, misogynistic asshole, too.
My opinion on Kavanaugh: The judge’s own maniacal rant, in which he embraced Trump’s persona as his own, disgusted me. I think Kavanaugh took a page out of the Fox News playbook (i.e., how to appeal to the viewers…or as Trump thinks, the only Americans who matter), and he revealed his partisan beliefs when placed under enormous pressure. A Supreme Court justice shouldn’t use his family as a shield or mock minority senators after he just revealed his alliance with the majority senators. A Supreme Court Justice should comport himself with more dignity and temperament, even if his background includes an allegation of rape. No excuses.
However, before that fateful day when Dr. Blaise-Ford testified and Kavanaugh defended himself against a credible accusation of sexual assault, I had assumed Trump’s nominee would be on the Supreme Court before the mid-terms. Neil Gorsuch is a match for Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy’s rulings were mostly conservative. Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment would not really change the balance as much as people automatically assume. In fact, Kavanaugh’s appointment merely maintains the status quo of the past decade and more. So practically, I am not as invested in this Supreme Court nomination as I am in these upcoming mid-term elections.
If Democrats wanted to prevent this, then Obama and these Senators should have fought the Republicans much more forcefully about Merrick Garland….just like Al Franken should have fought harder against members of his own party, especially Kirsten Gillibrand….just like these Democratic Senators needed to stand up to Brett Kavanaugh’s bullying with more force and indignation.
These are my opinions, of course, but I lived through the 2016 election. I have also paid attention since that election. I fear the Democrats will not figure out how to bust Trump’s grift for dividing America. I fear the Democrats will hitch their wagon to the Me-Too movement, assuming it will ride them to the Promised Land on a Big, Beautiful, Blue Wave…I fear the Democrats will not fight hard enough, and we may be scratching our head for the next six years, wondering how Trump keeps successfully pulling our country towards a Trump monarchy, with his base chanting “God Bless America” the whole way….
This weekend, I can only chant, “God Help America,” until this Kavanaugh debacle rends apart my country’s spirit. These final weeks before the mid-terms, I will pray, “God Help America,” hoping Trump doesn’t brag about his Kavanaugh victory by belittling victims of rape; demeaning women in general; or attacking individual Americans who don’t deserve it…praying Trump does not continue to destroy my country’s identity to better fit his deplorable image.
Scott C. Guffey, M.A.
The Maniacal Professor