Supreme Court battle royale makes us all look bad

Plenty has been written about the increasingly lack of civility in our political processes, so we’re obviously not breaking new ground when we address this subject.

What is the real issue here, we think, is a deeper problem: the preoccupation with our own individual, selfish interests as a society that is evidenced more and more by our leaders in Washington D.C.

The belief that each of us, individually, is No. 1 tends to pre-empt personal honor and integrity – or predisposition toward any type of unforced compromise, values that were once esteemed in our society.

We’ve seen it play out, increasingly, following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, but it certainly didn’t start there. It’s been nasty, and we are certainly not the first – from the Left or the Right – to note and bemoan this.

This latest public denigration of a candidate for the nation’s highest bench has further cheapened our political process. Though Republicans held firm in the face of a withering barrage of eleventh-hour accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we don’t think they scored any points for integrity by stonewalling on the possibility of having those accusations vetted by a neutral party, like the FBI.

But the dropping a political bombshell in the form of an allegation of attempted rape 36 years ago, an accusation that even our nation’s top law enforcement agency in its right mind could be expected to prove irrefutably after that length of time, triggered a really shameful course of events.

The timing and vociferousness of the latest accusations from the Democrats was unjustifiably damaging to the integrity of the process, which in recent years has become more and more of a slugfest.

The allegation was reported to a politician and held until an opportune moment, rather than reported to the law enforcement agencies that should have been investigating.

We have processes in place for exactly this kind of allegation. An investigation into an accusation of attempted rape should not start this way.

What we’re saying is that nobody’s above reproach in this one.

Frankly, GOP leaders’ refusal to carry through with the process for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, probably did set the stage for what happened in the last few weeks.

But as Charles Hurt noted Sunday in the Washington Times, voters had already elected a majority in the Senate when Obama made that nomination, and “no single lie has been more freely uttered – or is more profoundly dishonest – than the claim that Senate Democrats had every right to kill the Kavanaugh nomination as payback for Republicans’ refusal to take up President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in the final months of his presidency.”

This isn’t the first time American politics has devolved to the level of cheap shoddiness that we’ve witnessed in these chaotic times. There was certainly polarization during the Vietnam era, and the current situation has been compared to the state of relations in Washington during the Civil War era.

It’s not just in Washington. We’ve had similar polarization for years in our Legislature in a state of sharply divided interests from an urban population majority and the residents of our vast rural geographic regions.

Since the last presidential election, we’ve all heard plenty of stories about friends and family who unfriend each other on Facebook, who won’t have anything to do with anyone – at least not on purpose, across party lines.

Thankfully, Sweet Home is generally more civil, which we appreciate, and that it isn’t the rule, but it sure seems a lot more common than it used to be.

It would require volumes to analyze the various causes for the dysfunction in our government, which threatens nearly every effort at forward progress, and the increasing preoccupation with individual selfish interests evident in our society makes us wonder if there will be any kind of turnaround any time soon.

We suggest that praying people get busy, because this is an internal problem.

Our nation needs help.