On NPR today, I heard that only 14% of the American population are deeply interested or understand the current debate about certain GOP senators objective--or more accurately, the Christian Right contingent of the Republican Party--to end judicial filibusters. Regardless as to one's party affiliation, one should be appalled at such indifference in a vibrant country like the United States. We should be shocked into extreme wariness, if not action, by such inertia. Have we become so jaded by politics that we can't muster the energy to recognize and do something about a very real threat to our democracy?
I am not interested in using this blog to launch political tirades, but I will speak out where I see an attack on the principle of democracy. I believe the Christian Right intend to make this land a land of intolerance and despair. Simply put, they are dangerous. They have no use for debate, have no use for dissent, and have no use for compromise. It must be their way (which they claim is also Jesus Christ's way) and there is no room for any other view which will dilute or interfere with the attaining of their goals.
How can I be so sure they are so relentlessly dogged? Well, I am born Christian--though some evangelicals view Roman Catholics in the same light they regard Jews and Arabs--and lived all my boyhood among these people. Northern Ireland is awash in the Christian Right. It is the reason there has been no compromise in that blighted province since it came into existence. And many, many of these evangelicals have obtained their diplomas from Christian colleges in the United States. So, by all standards, they are the very same people who now seek to control the US Senate. And the Northern Irish evangelicals have refused to give Roman Catholics--their fellow Christians it should be remembered--justice, equality and the right to self-determination. Moreover, when forced by Britain to share power with the minority, they have sought every opportunity to bring down (and have brought down) the Northern Irish parliament in the hope that Britain will eventually weaken its resolve, give up, and the clock can be turned back. And they have done this secure in their belief that Jesus Christ is on their side.
My fellow Americans, these are the caliber of people you are dealing with, and it is these people who want to introduce the nuclear option under the guise that one party is blocking an up or down vote with regard to judicial appointees. The fact is that 306 appointees have been confirmed since the Bush administration took power and only a handful of extreme right-wing judges have been blocked. It is one of the duties of the opposing party to block extremist, non-mainstream judges, especially since judgships are given for life. Americans do not like extremists from either the right or the left, and the system for protecting against extremism by the minority party is in the use of the filibuster.
And let us also be clear on an additional point: after the nuclear option is won with regard to judicial appointees, it will also be sought for use in debates about appointees for other government posts. Moreover, should anyone doubt the Right's coercive, bullying tactics, bear in mind their statement today wherein they warned all moderate Republicans that they will be held accountable and will pay the price if they don't vote as they require them to vote.
[technorati: nuclear option, Christian Right, Senate, filibuster]