The Republic of Lies

The US Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s suitability to be a judge on the Supreme Court–a lifetime position–reinforces the perception that the United States of America is now a republic of lies. The entire government, Republicans and Democrats, is compromised; the hearings put fully on display the moral vacuum that America has devolved into. Of course, the lying begins at the apex of the pyramid, the Father of Lies, the number one creep, the president of the United States.

Lying succeeds in a worldly sense. It is used to further one’s ambitions and to shed personal responsibility. In the case of Kavanuagh, a commentator on CNN talked about the “elephant in the room”, Mark Judge, who allegedly witnessed the sexual assault on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The committee did not deign to hear Judge’s testimony. I believe the elephant in the room was more obvious than that: Kavanaugh is a liar. His handlers told him to come out on the offensive without criticizing Dr. Ford directly. He compounded the charade by portraying himself as a victim and the Senate Democrats as the victimizers. In my view, the judge was greedily ambitious, so much lusting after this hallowed appointment, that lying was his only option. How do Kavanaugh and the Republicans justify their support of Trump and Kavanugh? What is going on in their minds?

While most of them might disapprove of sexual assault, Kavanaugh’s appointment itself justifies any means used to gain that end. 1. Because he is opposed to abortion rights or “Choice”, as it is called. To them, saving unborn children is a higher good, however bad sexual assault might be.

2. Because he is opposed to indicting a president. Most Republicans in the legislature are mealy mouthed supporters of the morally bankrupt individual who has gained the respect of benighted US citizens.

3. Because he committed the offense (and no sane person can honestly believe that Dr. Ford would subject herself to public hell for no reason) while he was a young person sowing his wild oats. It’s still okay for male prep school, high school or college students to attack coeds when their sexual urges overwhelm them. “Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.” So why ruin a distinguished law career when everyone does the same thing and everyone, including the president, lies about it? And, in all fairness, everyone also knows that the majority of men of both parties who compose the Senate Judiciary Committee (and the Congress), believe the same thing. If their candidate was accused of such things, as was Bill Clinton, they would be out there defending his behavior for similar reasons.

Which brings me to the final and most important point. The Law itself is a great pretender. Laws are passed by congress, acted upon by the executive and judged by the courts–in an ideal democracy.  Government is all about law. But the law is divorced from the higher principle: the Truth. Anything goes in the name of the law: the corruption of the wealthy and the privileged and the oppression of the poor and dispossessed. Court proceedings end up with a “verdict”, which, from the Latin, means “to speak truth”. Witnesses swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”. Yes, and somehow we get wrongful convictions. At best, no witness can tell the whole truth because no witness knows the whole truth. He or she can only tell the truth to the best of her or his ability. The law, as I am saying, is a pretender. When the Truth goes begging, the institutions of a republic will die a slow death. That is now happening and will continue to happen in the USA.

I mean once Kavanaugh was sworn in to the hearing, one lie more wouldn’t matter. So he invoked his wife, children and God while insisting on his non-existent innocence.  He will sit on the higher court and make rulings over other people that will come from–no doubt–abstract and cool-headed legal principles. Not a hint of vindictiveness will there be in his rulings! He is a man of law, after all, as long as law is not confused with truth.

The law itself and legal practitioners allow for lying in the name of argumentation. The government is composed primarily of lawyers, for whom truth is relative and not absolute. No more George Washington owning up to chopping down the cherry tree (“I cannot tell a lie”). The founding myth, learned by all grade one students when I was in school, no longer carries the power of myth. Disgrace and mendacity are now displayed with pride.