Just after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court on Saturday, I ran into a woman I knew who was in tears and in obvious distress. “What’s wrong??” I immediately asked, thinking maybe something had happened to her husband or one of her children.
“The Supreme Court,” she responded.
As this was almost the last thing I was expecting, I quickly tried to figure out how to respond. I wasn’t going to tell her how thrilled I was, because that wouldn’t have helped anything, nor could I have affirmed the reasoning behind her tears. I simply said, “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m afraid for my daughters,” she practically whispered. I knew she was entirely sincere and not engaging in melodrama.
I stayed with her a few more minutes and listened to her and told her, again, that I was sorry she was upset before I left. My immediate thought was this: I wish the “other side” had been as compassionate to us when we were terrified after Obama’s election—terrified of single-payer healthcare being forced upon us.
Back then, there was no sympathy. No empathy. Only mockery and derision and insults along with the worst possible motives being ascribed to us. We were racists, plain and simple. There was no other reason for us to not be as in love with Obama as they were. Even naming him a socialist was eventually said to be a sign of secret racism.
The Left was in no way willing to consider that we may have legitimate policy reasons to oppose Obama or fear the harm Progressive policies would cause. They would not listen when we pointed out the myriad horror stories that flow out of countries with single-payer healthcare or the examples of suffering following the implementation of socialism abroad or progressivism at home. No, we were Racist, and that was it. Period. Case closed.
And now—well, really, it started following the election of Donald Trump—people on the Left are finding that the shoe’s on the other foot.
Here’s what I’m wondering, though: will anyone who is experiencing such distress at anything the President has done—from simply being elected to getting Kavanaugh sworn in—have a moment’s introspection or humility to consider what it was like for we who value the Constitution when Progressives are in charge? I’m not suggesting that they agree with us or we agree with them, policy-wise, but can they begin to view us as humans—fellow Americans—who are actually concerned about the country like they are but who see different solutions to its ills? So far, I’ve seen no evidence of that. Only further insults, name-calling, and aspersion-casting. Oh, and, don’t forget that Republicans want to pollute the air and water and kill old people and children (after we force mothers to have the babies against their wills, don’t forget). EVIL. That’s what we are.
Okay, that’s their view. We can’t change that. But how we will respond? Will we rub their noses in it? Will Trump supporters rub the noses of those of us who didn’t vote for Trump in it? (Actually, I’ve already seen that—it’s ugly and is quite unhelpful. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I’ve been enthusiastic—bigly—when he’s done something right, and I’ve been critical when he hasn’t. It causes alienation—from the person—when my nose is rubbed in it.)
So what are we going to do? Our nation is further dividing itself, hating and mistrusting our fellow Americans more and more. This is one more event which, likely, will exacerbate the problem. And I’ll be honest: I’m thrilled that Kavanaugh is on the court. Not because he was my first pick; he wasn’t. I’m thrilled because Justice prevailed in a time where we see so little of that. I’m thrilled because I saw people I never would’ve expected (I’m looking at you, Lindsay Graham, Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, and Susan Collins) stand up for righteousness against unrighteousness. It made me cheer. And it made me cheer that our President stood by his man against all of the baseless accusations. Courage is so often lacking in politics—it was a beautiful thing to witness.
But I am not elated in a “neener-neener” kind of way. I am sorry for the people in obvious distress. I understand, because I’ve been there. Can those of us who are joyful about this express empathy toward those who are fearful? Can we use this as an attempt to build bridges with our fellow Americans? They might continue to view us as evil—but perhaps a little less evil? Maybe even verging on human?
This is an opportunity to, hopefully, help us all to back away from the cliff our nation edges ever closer toward. We won’t receive kindness in return, most likely. But that’s not why we would be doing it. We would be doing it in an effort to preserve our nation for future generations. It’s not about us. It’s about God. It’s about the idea that is America. And it’s about passing that on to our posterity.