The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U. S. Supreme Court has ignited commentary across our society, from Fox News to the Washington Post.
My favorite conservative writer, Ross Douthat of the New York Times, is Catholic, brilliant, and meticulous in his arguments. Douthat, who feels feels society lost its equilibrium as it embraced liberal values, wrote a piece grandly titled “The Meaning of Amy Coney Barrett.”
In “Meaning…” he tries to describe what a “conservative prescription” might look like:
“…professional women across the country (and, by extension, many husbands in their dual-earner homes) whose life courses generally resemble the rest of their class, but with certain choices that seem somewhat more eccentric or askew. That means shorter dating lives and earlier marriages, four or five children instead of two or fewer, and other more traditionally coded choices — more frequent churchgoing, denser social networks, living closer to extended family, work lives designed more around home life than the reverse.”
I know families like those Douthat describes, and my love and envy for them are both deep. But there’s more to think about in Douthat’s ideal than I have thought about, though a few ideas float immediately to the surface.
First, different women want different things, and there would have to be some form of coercion — legal, social, or economic — to arrive societally at the place he describes. Telling a woman she should have five children instead of two would result in some interesting conversations, at least with the women I know.
Second, there would be an absolute irony, if not outright contradiction, for those on the right who favor individual responsibility and self direction in almost every other facet of personal, political and economic interaction to coerce — call it what you will — a particular form of behavior in a free society.
Third, Douthat’s argument is about “professional women.” The vast majority of women in today’s world find themselves without many of his “eccentric choices,” but overwhelmed by circumstances beyond their control in an internet society that does not or can not reenforce these choices (see first point).
So even if I did not disagree with Douthat’s “conservative prescription,” I am uncertain we could ever get there from here.
Democrats should not oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is not an endorsement of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s breathtaking hypocrisy in pushing Barrett’s nomination through the Senate while Trump is still president, after his reprehensible blocking of Merrick Garland’s nomination. Stripped of its ridiculous contortions, McConnell’s argument is that “Trump is president, I run the Senate, together we will do what we want with judical appointments,” and is accurate.
No, Democrats should not oppose Barrett’s path to the Supreme Court for reasons even more simple.
The first is that they will lose, and look bad in the process, right before the election. It is a given that the U.S. Supreme Court will become more conservative, whatever that means. There is nothing to be done. Why give Trumpistas ammunition and momentum as America decides on its future?,
The answer from many Democrats is that just to fight the fight is a political win, with abortion rights as the litmus test. But too many Democrats forget their primary goal is not to win over people like themselves, but to convince the “marginal middle” that Democrats best represent their interests.
Partisan grandstanding in an ugly judicial fight, followed by the inevitable loss, does not do that. Labeling someone an “originalist” and offering obscure arguments over “precedent” do not do that.
The second reason is that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is supremely (sorry) qualified to sit on the high court. Her background as a law professor, the quality of her writings, and the opinions of many of her associates show that she is a jurist of the highest calibre.
It’s almost ironic that her achievements are the sort that Democrats celebrate for women, even as Barrett’s politics are an anathema to the left leaning. Yes, she’s a “conservative.” But given Barrett’s intellect, this is an opportunity for liberals to reexamine some of their core beliefs. It’s also ironic that Barrett has suggested she might recuse in cases where her faith conflicts with her duties as a judge, frustrating conservatives hoping for an ironclad majority.
Not that long ago, the qualifications of a judicial nominee mattered more than politics to senators of both parties. This showed faith in America and in the Constitution. That timehas passed, with both Democrats and Republicans at fault through the last few decades. Hopefully, an ember of that light still glows, somewhere.
The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an opportunity, however small and overshadowed by today’s divisiveness, to set foot back on a path to unity. Judge Barrett is qualified. Democrats should not oppose her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Was the dinghy I’d left tied to the dock slowly deflating? Was it now tipped stern down, bow pointing pathetically to the sky, the precious motor drowning in salt water? Will I even be able to get out to Foxy on her buoy, and if I can, what condition will she be in?
I’d left Foxy a month ago thinking I’d be back in a couple of weeks. A friend sent a photo, but it was grainy from a distance so it might not be a big deal that I could not see the boot stripe at the stern.
On the drive back to Sisters from a car race in Portland on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a friend called to warn that “historic winds” were due Monday afternoon. Fires in the Cascades threatened to explode. As I ate my sandwich and drank my coffee from Rosie’s Mountain Cafe in Mill City, I said I’d be through the mountains long before then.
Of course, I had no clue to the devastation that would arrive within 48 hours. The loss of trees and wildlife along a highway driven so many times over 35 years that I’ve memorized the number of curves between passing zones, and the horrific destruction of Mill City, Detroit, and other wide places in the road where mill towns still struggled, are mind bending.
So are indefinite closures of highways that link my mountain town of Sisters, with its tourism-based economy, to populations centers of Portland, Salem and Eugene. Hundreds of thousands of killed trees need to be removed. Rock slides litter the highways.
What if Oregon has one of our every-decade-or-so “pineapple express” events, where snow falls right around Thanksgiving with warm rains in December? Will ODOT be able to even find the highways under the mud slides?Will the federal administration blame Oregonians for that catastrophe, too, and be slow to send financial assistance because it would bail out our mistakes in funding the PERS system?
East winds finally abated, giving those fighting the conflagrations if not a break then at least a bit of breathing room. Speaking of which, while prevailing breezes from the Pacific Ocean began to clear air in the Willamette Valley, they carried the smoke to the east side of the Cascade Range (eventually to the east coast of the U.S.) Visibility outwindows of my home dropped to 1/4 mile. The bitter stench was on everything.
Then a some rain helped, for a couple of days. I prepared to return to the boat, if for no other reason than my asthma was not liking the available atmosphere.
Then, in what might have been metaphysical intervention, a sty in my left eye delayed departure. My ophthalmologist recommended warm compresses but warned of complications with low likelihood. Within four days I was back in her office, infection spreading around my eye and down my cheek, my eye reddening, the eyelid glued closed when I woke in the morning from a concrete mix of pus and tears.
The doctor thought I should check into the hospital for an overnight intravenous drip of antibiotics. “What?! Oh hell no!” was my shocked response. Doctor was willing to see how I did on oral antibiotics for 24 hours, but I had to come back the next day, my third visit in less than a week. I followed dosage guidelines and applied warm wet compresses every couple of hours, along with an antibiotic ointment with which to fill my lower eyelid twice a day.
There was progress. The next day the doctor cleared the trip back to the boat, after asking how far away I would be from emergency care. Not that far. I went home, threw things in a bag and hit the road, late in the afternoon and two weeks later than the latest I expected to return to Foxy, aware that it would still be almost a full day before I’d be back on board.
I pulled into Anacortes at about 11 p.m., took too long to fall asleep because I was “wired and tired” from the drive up through Yakima on the east side of the Cascades, fell asleep finally just as I remembered I hadn’t set an alarm, but ignored that since I don’t usually sleep past 6:30 and would have plenty of time to catch a ferry scheduled for 8:55.
It was 8:07 when I woke and looked at the clock. Holy sh*t! Showered fast and out the door at 8:30, but so damn proud of myself I stopped for a coffee, then had to rush. The ferry pulled out about two minutes after I sat down. I was a bit smug until I realized I’d forgotten my rain jacket in the car.
By the time the ferry arrived in Friday Harbor, clouds had condensed into a drenching downpour, but the dinghy was still afloat! There was water sloshing about, the gas tank and life jackets were floating, but I’d bought an industrial size hand pump after lessons learned in Alaska a few years back. After the water was cleared, I pumped up the tubes with air.
Would the motor start? It had been showing attitude this year. But it fired on the second pull and purred like the two-stroke it used to be! I waited in the soaking rain for the ferry to disembark, worried my motor might quit in the middle of the channel, then headed over to Foxy. From a distance I saw no signs of problems.
The boat smelled surprisingly fresh when I unlocked the companionway. That’s always the first test. Some boats never lose that damp smell. Water had splashed on the floor from where the hatch covers had blown to one side, and I went above to put them back. I lit the diesel fireplace and put things away.
Eventually, I unlocked floor panels over the keel, certain there would be two hours of unpleasant work ahead. The bilges were dry! The space where I’d built a shower water recovery system was dry! The toilet was full of fresh water too, just as I’d left it. Despite heavy overcast, solar panels were putting electricity back into the batteries which were at 95%. The fridge system I’d installed was keeping the refer cold and freezer frozen!
Relief came in a rush. After what had felt like a never-ending cascade of bad news and stress, Foxy was sound and I was aboard. I moved her over to the marina where she’ll spend a few months this winter. The sun came out. There is something about being on the water that feels like it’s exactly where I belong.
Let’s wrap our heads around this: Trump says he supports the military, uses the military to show he is “strong,” yet privately calls veterens who died in war “losers” and “chumps,” confirmed by a Fox reporter that Trump is now trying to “cancel.”
Trump knew last January, certainly by February 7, that COVID-19 was a particularly serious disease, far worse than the flu. But over the last six months, Trump lied to the country that the coronavirus wasn’t serious. At first he said it was “one person, from China.” As it got worse, he blamed others: “It’s Obama’s fault, it’s China’s fault, it’s WHO’s fault, it’s New York’s fault… “
We still don’t have enough masks. Whose fault is that?
For the last six months, Trump encouraged behavior by his supporters that made our country one of the sickest in the world: Don’t wear masks. Protest governors trying to contain the virus. Hurry and open bars and schools, the virus is no big deal, it will magically disappear.
As a result, tens of thousands of Americans died needlessly from the disease.
My Trump-loving neighbors, Trump has said that he does not respect you. It’s your loyalty he craves, your vote, that’s all, and he said as much even before he was elected:
“You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible!”
Translation: “It doesn’t matter! I could be a murderer and those chumps would vote for me! It’s like incredible!” This is a man whose moral compass points only at himself.
Evangelicals? Here’s what Trump thinks of your Christian faith: “Can you believe that bullshit? Can you believe people believe that bullshit?” How can Christians support a man whose entire life is a repudiation of Christ, who mocks your Bible when not holding it up pretending he’s a Believer?
Please, Trumpers, see this awful man for who he is. He sits in palaces lying to you while at the same time laughing at you. See the contempt so obvious in his words and his belief that you will accept anything he says, everything he does. Understand that he has killed tens of thousands of us with his lies, and could not care less about that.