October 16, 2018

The Kavanaugh Fiasco: Just Win, Baby

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (L) confers with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during a Judiciary Committee meeting to vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

I was never this cynical. If anything, I’m more of a romantic. I like to believe people, even politicians. I’ve met some amazing politicians who work very hard and have strong convictions. I know they don’t have an easy job.

So why am I totally disgusted with the political spectacle of the Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearings? For a number of reasons, but one in particular.

I feel I’m watching a UFC Championship fight. Two combatants locked in a cage ready to do whatever it takes to crush his or her opponent.

Whenever I see one of these combatants try to convince me it’s not a cage I’m seeing but a conversational salon, I roll my eyes. Who are they kidding?

Before the hearings even started, before anyone had even heard the name Christine Ford, one side had already announced that the candidate in question was evil and must be crushed by any means necessary.

In fact, you can go back a few years and note that the other side would not even allow a hearing in the first place. Why? For the same reason the latest candidate was called evil: because one must do whatever it takes to win. Nothing else matters.

The crazy thing is, I’m not saying anything new. We’ve always known that “partisan politics” is a contact sport where people fight over power. So why is it disgusting me so much all of a sudden?

Maybe because I don’t recall it ever being so viciously and shamelessly blatant. It’s possible that the stakes are seen as so high—a majority in the Supreme Court for years—that combatants have thrown every scruple and principle out the window. Except for one, of course: Win at all cost.

Our politics have descended all the way down to the UFC cage. Actually, they’re lower. At least with UFC, no one is pretending to have a conversation. They’re only there to fight. The politics of the Kavanaugh hearings is UFC without the honesty.

Behind the fancy suits and righteous blather, it’s hand-to-hand combat. Everyone knows it: Find any weapon you can, destroy whomever you must. The newest standard is now the lowest standard.

There are exceptions. There still are noble politicians who want to do the right thing and put decorum and decency ahead of winning. The problem is that their voices are drowning in the chaotic din of the arena.

Perhaps the saddest part of this whole fiasco is that I’m not sure any of this upsets the combatants.

When you’re in the cage, looking at your enemy, there is only victory, and it is priceless.