Wasn’t There a Time?
I was so sure there was a time when important and accomplished men (and less often women) whom were being considered for important roles within our federal government were expected to live up to the standard of “above reproach”. It seems like not so long ago, if a candidate was accused of some major scandal, say one that involved victimizing a female classmate for example, they would pull their name from consideration for the good of the party and the nation. Making a statement to the effect of: “While these accusations are false and absurd - - - I am hereby withdrawing myself from consideration because I believe this great nation does not need to get bogged down in salacious hearings and testimony….” They believed the dignity of the post they wished to fill was more important than their own personal ambition.
I recall reading in Lee Iacocca’s autobiography that Robert McNamara insisted on paying some pittance for an automobile he used one weekend when he was working for the Ford Motor Company to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I can recall any number of men withdraw from public life for the greater good, often when they were completely innocent. I recall a time when a stellar reputation was expected, and that reputation was not so easily tarnished; when it was normal to want to serve the masses – not normal to cling to personal power and influence at any cost.
I know the quintessential American story is to win, but it doesn’t always have to be with the crushing right hand of a John Wayne haymaker. We used to admire those who could preserver adversity, to overcome and be victorious at the end of the story without a brawl. Didn’t we used to do that more often, and with more personal integrity? And wasn’t enduring hardship a greater virtue than fighting at one time in our history? Didn’t we greatly admire those who just took the lumps and were vindicated later? Sure, we like a man who can handle himself in conflict, but don’t we prefer a man who chooses his battles wisely?
Those that do admire America do so because we are (well, have been) reluctant warriors. Even as a lifelong Republican, I admired those who found a way to avoid violence and resolved things in a calm and reasoned manner (although I often failed in that regard myself). But this generation seems to spoil for a fight, and their heroes are not the calm leaders like Marshall and Eisenhower whom won WWII for us—but Tony Stark, a rich spoiled boy who has the biggest gun and isn’t afraid to use it if his smile and a cleaver quip can’t get him the result he wants.
I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh is a good man or a good judge, but I do know there is enough smoke to suggest there has been a fire. I am also concerned by a man with a lifetime appointment being a binge drinker in his past – and how recently has that been a part of his life (thirty years- okay, thirty days- not okay)? [On a personal note, I am opposed to Kavanaugh because he, like so many moralists, is very motivated to impose rules on others that do not apply to him, I am related to and surrounded by any number of these creatures and their highest virtue is hypocrisy.] But my main complaint is that he (like his nominator) doesn’t have the maturity and restraint to say: “This appointment is too important to be considered without thorough investigation and consideration—I will not take the appointment until my accusers have had every opportunity to make their case and I have been fully vindicated. Or we can simply nominate another of the excellent judges on the short list and I will face all accusations, but not as the centerpiece of the SCOTUS agenda.” If he had the integrity to do and say those things, hell I may even support him. I wish I could admire our national leaders, I wish they were significantly better men and women than I am (which can’t be hard, I’m not that good of a guy).
What say you? Are we led by those with honesty and integrity? Have we ever been?
(This is part of my 45 part series, every President [with rare exception] is worse than the one before.)