Among historians, there's a school of thought that holds that the 19th Century, in its social, political, and economic aspects, didn't end until World War I. This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of that war, and that makes it doubly heartbreaking that we are now engaged in withdrawing from the world, reversing democratic and social reforms, and abdicating our global leadership position in favor of a narrow, isolationist, xenophobic, and misogynist nationalism that promotes the interests of the wealthy and the corporate, and mirrors the status quo antebellum of the early 20th Century.
Yesterday's Senate hearings made it abundantly clear that the majority party no longer has any intention of doing so much as paying lip service to the liberal consensus that has prevailed since the end of World War II. 24 hours after testimony that riveted the nation, they are acting as if it never happened. Today, they will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite considerable evidence that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, and likely others, and after a highly volatile performance of his own when speaking to the Judiciary Committee that brought into question his suitability for the role of justice by the standards of the legal profession itself.
The GOP, having backed him, is not backing down. They will vote to confirm him today, despite the damage it's likely to do to the Republican Party in the long term. If that seems curious, consider the following:
- He will be the necessary fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- He will be the necessary fifth vote to demolish the Voting Rights Act.
- He will be the necessary fifth vote to weaken the separation of church and state.
- He will be the necessary fifth vote to overturn Obamacare.
- He will be the necessary fifth vote to stop reconsideration of Citizens United.
- He is likely to rule that Trump can pardon himself.
- He would overturn the Justice Department regulation governing special counsels like Mueller.
- He is one of them—wealthy, white, male, prep school, Ivy League.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans now oppose Kavanaugh's appointment. The Senate Republican majority will ram it through anyway on a party-line vote, because they don't care what a majority of Americans thinks—a majority of the Senate now represents only 18% of the populace, and this cannot be changed short of a constitutional amendment, which is unlikely to pass muster with a 5-4 conservative majority on the Court—which Kavanaugh will give them. We are no longer a democracy, we are an oligarchy, and we will now have two illegitimate Supreme Court justices (including Gorsuch, whose seat was stolen) to go along with the illegitimate President.
Read that list of bullet points, and consider the road we're now on. It doesn't lead to enlightenment, or human rights, or women's rights, or freedom. It leads directly back to the 19th Century.
The century that truly ended in 1914.
With a world war.