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The Ginsburg Vacancy


I wrote this with my friend and author, Kathy Aspden. If you haven’t read her books, have a look. She is a great writer.

By Kathy Aspden & Christine Merser

In a speech in August 2016 in Kentucky, McConnell would say: “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”

Thirty-two Republicans put out positive statements in 2016 to support Merrick Garland’s nomination.

When McConnell stamped the it’s not happening on it all, Democrats came out full force— with words. Schumer called it a travesty, and others said the sitting president should fill the empty seat. But as in most things, Democrats had no tool in the tool box to change what Mitch chose to do. So many words, so many referenceable quotes from 2016.

Mitch broke the law. Or if you are generous and sit on the outside of liberal views, he ignored his responsibility to run hearings and put the process in place—which is his fiduciary obligation as majority leader. And so here we are, four years later, and McConnell is saying the court seat will be filled by this sitting president. Everything he said last time no longer fits into his agenda. Yet, he has no shame, no qualms, no fear in reversing what was a bad decision then.

So now, all the Dems will reverse what they said four years ago, and the Republicans will follow the pied piper of corruption and change their tone as well. Lindsay Graham is interesting. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he actually brought up this scenario in 2018 during a forum with The Atlantic, and said, “I’ll tell you this – this may make you feel better, but I really don’t care – if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.” All lies.

But this is not the time to call our people to the streets. This election will be decided by those who are already hesitating to put their toe in our waters—fearing it might look okay, but perhaps it’s boiling after all. Law and order, as an issue, is not working well for Trump, and a full-out protest will give legs and fuel the fire. And, then there is the hypocrisy of every Democrat from 2016 changing their stand when it suits them in 2020. Do we sink to the basement level that the Republicans have renovated as the penthouse? No we do not! Not on our watch.

Let’s do this with intelligence and integrity. Let them nominate some half-qualified person. Fight it on the stage during the hearings, smartly. Ted Cruz (one of the Trump short-listers) as a Supreme? Make our day.

If we do this well, we will win this election—which takes precedence over everything else right now. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death could surely give Trump what he needs to change the course of a conversation that’s currently not working for him. Let’s kick the legs out from under his potential unrighteous fury.

Oh and later, when the senate is won and the presidency has a reasonable, capable, semi-honest working body (which we’ve come to realize is the best we can hope for in government), we can up the Supreme Court seats to eleven and wave at Mitch McConnell across the aisle.

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Gender Politics

AOC: A New Voice Inside My Head

53186874e0c62d8f8ced7457e6dd6cbfI have watched AOC’s speech around men bullying women on the floor of Congress (oh happy day!) a number of times since she delivered it. I wept the first time, became proud the second, and grew enraged during part of the second and part of the third. I’m not sure what I will feel next week when my calendar pop-up reminds me to watch it one last time.

AOC surmises that Rep. Ted Yoho spoke to her that way simply because he believed he could do so with impunity, that he believes it’s OK to speak to women that way.

I surmise that while he might have thought he could get away with it (and, in fact, might have done just that if his comment hadn’t been overheard by a member of the press), that is not why he did it.

I think he saw her, was filled with the kind of rage that doesn’t have forethought or fear of reprisal. I don’t think he thought for that split second anything other than the fact that he can’t stand that she exists, let alone that she is a sitting congresswoman. He reacted without the ability to not do so and without thought of impunity, which is what makes it a pattern in his behavior. If you can behave that way over and over again, and it works by intimating those around you, it’s a tool in your tool box that serves a purpose.

I’m not sure which is worse: The fact that childhood-learned uncontrolled behavior of men works with women, or the fact that they can do it with impunity.

Weinstein. Yoho. Epstein. Trump. Barr. Should I go on?

Here is the thing: It becomes an uncontrollable response. I assure you, Yoho has lost it with his daughters and wife as well. I know this because just as AOC is the daughter of a man who gave her an unfettered voice nurtured without fear of his reprisal, a voice that I admire and need, I am the daughter of a man like Yoho, who, when challenged or made to feel “less than” by me or someone else, responded the same way Yoho did, without restraint. They can’t control it. And they have impunity. Both things can be true.

AOC gave me so much yesterday. My dad is gone, but I will write him a letter today, with her voice inside my new voice. It’s a voice she gave me, one that she got from her father, a different voice from the one inside my head. I am a better person, a stronger person because of her speech. No one will ever intimidate me that way again.