I sat in the same room with Clarence Thomas once, me, a bunch of photographers taking pictures and senators asking questions, and I remember having the same anxiety then, as I am having now, about defeat and inevitability.
And as we await what is being billed as a Senate battle royale over the latest Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, I find that I am not so bothered by the hypocrisy of it all as I am by the complacency and political apathy that got us here in the first place.
The hypocrisy is a surprise to no one. I know the body is still figuratively warm, but did anyone really think for even a nanosecond that Republicans would wait for a funeral, much less an election before ramming a new justice down our throats?
Yes, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, used the election year as an excuse for blocking then-President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from even getting a hearing in 2016, months before voters would go to the polls and elect Donald Trump
And, yes, McConnell is a hypocrite for ignoring that same twisted logic now, just weeks before Election Day.
Now, raise your hand if this is the first time you’ve ever heard the words “hypocrite” and “politician” in the same sentence.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to use every Senate rule available to derail the nomination, and defend the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, whose death on Sept. 18 set the stage for all the political maneuvering.
“Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish was that she not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Schumer said in a statement.
“Republicans are poised to not only ignore her wishes, but to replace her with someone who could tear down everything that she built. This reprehensible power grab is a cynical attack on the legitimacy of the court. I will strongly oppose this nomination.”
Schumer’s commitment to Ginsburg’s legacy is laudable, noble, even. But right now, America, we’ve got bigger fish to fry. While there is merit in fighting the fight, the same way there is virtue in authoring a blistering dissent, we cannot lose sight, even now, that there is an even bigger battle ahead.
Because the only thing worse than a bigoted, bullying, fact-challenged misogynistic, tax-dodging commander in chief getting three Supreme Court picks, is a bigoted, bullying, fact-challenged misogynistic, tax-dodging commander in chief getting four or five.
Don’t tell me it can’t happen. Don’t tell me that every vote will be counted, and that the postal system will become a standard-bearing model of efficiency.
Don’t tell me that that whole Electoral College-over-the-popular-vote thing is just a fluke that happens just once in a lifetime.
If that were true, then I’ve lived two lifetimes.
What a fool I was for thinking that Ginsburg could live forever.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Leonard Greene is a columnist and reporter for the New York Daily News.
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