Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Politically Speaking

I've been thinking a lot about politics lately. I'm not sure that this is entirely a good or fruitful exercise for me; I think that this is an instance where a little knowledge is a terribly dangerous thing.

Before I say anything else, let me ask this: What is it about politicians that they can NEVER, and I mean NEVER, answer a yes or no question with “yes” or “no”???

Anyway....

Most of my thinking has centered around the Alito hearings, most of which I'm hearing on NPR as I go about the business of being a SAHM (albeit a temporary one). (Just as an aside? I'm not sure what it is about the way my energy is aligned in the Universe, but it seems that I've been hearing more of Edward Kennedy's questioning than anyone else's. I swear to God - even though I grew up in Massachusetts and I understand the accent, I can't for the life of me understand about a third of what that man says. It's not that I don't understand the WORDS, mind you, it's that I don't understand why he puts them together in the way that he does.)

I like to consider myself a mostly fair and open-minded individual. I want to give most people the benefit of whatever doubt I might have, especially considering that I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know more than I do (get it?).

Anyway, I have a lot of respect for people who are accomplished in their professions. I’m figuring that Alito has to have had some pretty impressive credentials to get to where he is now. I may not agree with a lot of his decisions, hell, I may not UNDERSTAND a lot of the cases he’s judged, but I know that there’s a fair bit of oversight and checks and balances and such that there’s no way this guy could be a renegade jurist. One of the things I find particularly comforting is knowing that a lot of the really big decisions are made by a panel of judges and not just one lone guy (or gal) with an agenda.

The thing is, though? I’m pretty certain that this Alito guy has an agenda.

This morning’s conversations on NPR were about questions of “settled law.” The senators and congress people on the panel were discussing the issue of Brown v. Board of Education, which effectively overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Plessy was the law of the land for a stupidly long time; something like 58 years and, for at least a hundred years before that, the practice of discrimination was just simple common practice that most Americans didn’t see the need to legislate. Alito agreed that Plessy was wrong and that it SHOULD have been overturned and that, even though Brown has only been law for 52 years (six years, at this point, fewer than Plessy stood), Brown is “settled law.”

Then he was asked about Roe v Wade and whether that could be considered “settled law”. He made some comments about the fact that it’s been challenged several times and has, to this point, successfully withstood those challenges but he wouldn’t say whether he felt it was a done deal.

This is, perhaps, the biggest issue that people like me are watching the confirmation hearings for (or listening to them for, in my case). We know for a fact that the Bush Administration (shudder) has been gunning for this issue for almost as long as they’ve been gunning to get into Iraq. As a matter of fact, my humble, uneducated opinion is that the only reason we’re hearing a lot about Roe v. Wade right now is that September 11th took precedence in Ashcroft’s agenda. We also know that Alito is all about this whole “abortion notification” law - don’t even get me STARTED on that. It’s bad enough that the government is trying to interfere in how a woman manages her body, now they’re trying to legislate how she manages her relationships as well?!? It’s all too horrifying to be true.

The upshot of all of this is that I have an inherent distrust for the man. I’m not sure whether that’s because of what little I know about him or because of the people who recommended him for the job, but either way I’m not loving this. I do know that I’ll continue to keep track of what’s going on, keep trying desperately to understand it all, and keep hoping that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel that isn’t actually a train coming to squash us all flat.

1 Comments:

Anonymous claudia said...

I enjoyed your post. Not too many would ventue into the highly charged territory of politics! Of coarse he(Alito) has an agenda! But is it one that can be supported by existing laws and will gain the support of a majority. Political parties will come and go from power and each will try to define us by their values-NOT necessarily what the public wants.My personal opinion about our government tends to be pretty cynical.But having said that,I believe that,in the end,there are as many opinions about what is best and right as there are individuals.
The "settled law" issue doesn't bother me,as I believe that the intent of our forefathers was to make a system that could be adjusted with the times and changes in our society. Most people don't even realize that we are in fact a CONSITUTIONAL REPUBLIC,not a DEMOCRACY. In fact our founders opposed true democracy.I spent a fair amount of time some months ago,reading about our Constitution and what is known about our founders and their intents. FASCINATING reading!!! Personally,I think both Republicans and Democrats miss the mark!!!But since our society is not Libertarian,we end up making our stands based on our own personal"agendas"at the ballot box(and that's the relativey few items that we actually have a say in!!!)

12:17 PM  

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