By Jo Len Everhart, Bonners Ferry
I am a Christian, an American and a registered Republican—in that order—so my thoughts are coming from these three world-views. This is not an anti-Trump letter. I am appalled at two Republican leaders: Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham.
We Republicans, and everyone else, for that matter, need to be truth-tellers, like Republican Senator John McCain and “Honest Abe” Lincoln, who told the truth and kept their word—whatever the cost.
Did you know that—on the night of his assassination—Lincoln said that he didn’t really want to go to the theater, he would really enjoy staying home; but he had said he would go, so he went.
Senators McConnell and Graham both said that they opposed any current future president being able to make supreme court appointments late in the president’s term—therefore they blocked President Obama from nominating any nominee to SCOTUS, even when there were many, many months before the end of his term in office.
Then both of these Senators made solemn pledges on national TV, saying they would oppose any future president who tried to appoint SCOTUS judges near the end of the President’s term, saying that the voters should decide who would be President and then the new President would nominate the Justice.
That reasoning might have been justifiable—if they had stuck by their promises. But now both have gone back on their promises.
How will any voter ever believe any Republican promise if leaders McConnell and Graham are not stopped in their tracks?
There is a way to stop them, but it is difficult. All it takes is for four brave Republican Senators who believe truth-telling is important—for them to stand up regardless of the consequences—to vote “no” on any nomination of a justice to the supreme court until after the next president is inaugurated.
We grew up with the old saying of “The ends do not justify the means.” The modern equivalent is probably “The Devil is in the details.”
I think that both sayings mean “You may have a good goal or end in mind, but the means of accomplishing your goal will determine whether the outcome is good or bad.” So leaders may have a defensible goal of desiring conservative Justices—but when the means used to gain those ends are broken promises and lies—the final results are usually bad.
Two quick illustration from the history of the early Christian Church should illustrate how the saying “The ends do not justify the means” is trustworthy: the Crusades (11th-12th Centuries) and the Inquisition (13th-19th Centuries).
The goals or end results that these well-meaning Christians desired were for the purity and expansion of Christianity. That was not the problem.
The problem was the means. In the Inquisition, the means resulted in dissenters being tortured and burned at the stake for not having doctrine that was pure enough for the leaders.
In the Crusades, the means resulted in Muslims and others in Jerusalem and elsewhere being slaughtered for not welcoming Christianity. The question becomes, “Would we now be in favor of the Inquisition or the Crusades—even though both came from well-meaning goals?”
Of course not.
I think there is a way around this current, bitter, political fight. Republicans can still pursue the goal of securing a conservative Supreme Court Justice while rejecting the deceit of political maneuvering to obtain a vote now — by campaigning enthusiastically for their candidates to be elected—and then the people will vote—and then the newly-elected President will nominate a Justice.
So how do we find four brave Republican Senators who will say “No Vote on a Justice for the Supreme Court until after the inauguration?” In my somewhat cynical view of politicians, I think the best ways to influence our Senators are by:
- Writing letter and e-mails or phoning to explain the ethical questions involved
- Donating to their campaigns
- Promising to vote them out of office
At this time, I think the Senators are so busy that generic, ethical-question letters will probably end up in un-read piles, and I don’t have enough money to make a significant impact.
But promising to vote them out of office is within our rights as voters and it certainly gets their attention.
So today I am sending this message to our two United States Senators: “Today, as a truth-teller, I am pledging to vote against you in this and all future elections (including primaries) if you do not vote against confirming a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States until the incoming president is inaugurated.”
I hope others will join me in this letter-writing effort. Thank you for your thoughtful considerations on this difficult topic.