Letter to the editor: U.S. left wing does not support diversity of opinion
Vermont is beautiful; a truism to which all Vermonters would agree. But since everything today has become political, that’s about as far as we can hope to agree on. It used to be not more than two decades ago that differences in beliefs were welcomed, particularly in academia. Today, the first Amendment is ignored at best, or barely alive: our freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, and the rights to peacefully assemble and to petition our government for a redress of grievances. We aren’t just passionate. We have become angry, screaming, violent mobs with Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Gun-Sense Vermont, Everytown for Gun Safety, to name a few. As Americans, we have lost our civility towards one another. Look at how our U.S. Senate has battled over Supreme Court nominations with Judges Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.
People argue that these are fights for either protecting abortion rights or our Second Amendment. These Supreme Court battles really are over whether we are to interpret the U.S. Constitution as a document either to be modified over time or to be interpreted as written. Is it a living, breathing, dynamic document designed to reflect our changing society (a liberal view)? Or does the Constitution mean what the original writers put to pen when they ratified it; that it is stable from the time of its enactment (a conservative view). Is the Constitution to be interpreted based upon the ordinary meaning of the legal text? Is it what it says, originalism, textualism, or is it what we want it to say, pragmatism? Is the Supreme Court supposed to be involved in judicial activism, legislating from the bench because there aren’t enough votes to pass our wishes as a bill through U.S. Congress?
Over recent history there were 14 Supreme Court Justices confirmed after nominations from President Reagan to President Trump, plus Judge Robert Bork, who was nominated but wasn’t confirmed. Here is a list of each one’s confirmation vote in the Senate (in favor-opposed) plus an indication of whether they were considered liberal or conservative:
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 1981, 99-0 (L); Justice William Rehnquist, 1986, 65-33 (C); Justice Antonin Scalia, 1986, 98-0 (C); Judge Robert Bork, 1987, 42-58 (C); Justice Anthony Kennedy, 1988, 97-0 (L); Justice David Souter, 1990, 90-9 (L); Justice Clarence Thomas, 1991, 52-48 (C); Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993, 96-3 (L); Justice Stephen Breyer, 1994, 87-9 (L); Justice John Roberts, 2005, 78-22 (L); Justice Samuel Alito, 2006, 58-42 (C); Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 2009, 68-31 (L); Justice Elena Kagan, 2010, 63-37 (L); Justice Neil Gorsuch, 2017, 54-45 (C); Justice Brett Kavanaugh, 2018, 50-48 (C).
All eight liberal (L) judges received 63-100 percent of the Senator votes, demonstrating overwhelming bipartisan support. Five conservative (C) judges received 51-58 percent, with two exceptions both back in 1986, Justices Rehnquist (66 percent) and Scalia (100 percent). Liberal Justices have received Republican support because they will confirm nominees based on ability. Conservative justices, however, have rarely been supported by Democrats for over 30 years, suggesting that they vote not on ability, but solely on political gain.
If we do not support diversity of thought in our U.S. Supreme Court, where will we support it? An Addison Independent editorial on Sept. 13 stated, “Hence, in this election, we should vote out all Republicans.” That is a growing sentiment in Vermont, one that does not accept diversity of thought. Whatever happened to “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”? The pendulum swings politically, and nationally, it always will. However, Vermont is a political microcosm. And it is the Leftist mindset which is killing this state particularly in our view that big business is evil. So long as we support this ideology, we will continue in our financial death spiral. Young adults move out after being educated here. Young workers and their families are not attracted in droves to our state. Therefore, children are not here to enroll in our schools, so we cannot bolster our student/teacher ratios. Over 80 percent of our property taxes go towards education. Upon retirement, why stay and pay property taxes that are three times what people pay elsewhere, while also paying taxes on our social security, when there are plenty of other beautiful places to live in this great country. Big business is not evil, and we need to change that mindset or we will ultimately go bankrupt. Stop the spending! Many a Vermonter has said that Republican governors are elected to keep our spending in check. We can resume spending our tax money once again on social programs in moderation after we have the necessary incoming capital.
This is going on in Vermont while nationally our economy is booming! Irrefutably! Yet there is sheer hatred for President Trump here in Vermont. There are so many people nationally that support him. His popularity poll numbers (47 percent) are approximately equal to that for President Obama (45 percent) at his first midterms. Say what you will about our current president, but he is not just a talker; he is a doer. And each and every day he keeps checking things off his list which he has promised his supporters he would do. He wants safety and prosperity for all Americans. He is an executive; that’s who you put into the most powerful executive position in the world. We could have elected someone with relevant executive experience in 2012 with Herman Cain, but instead we opted for someone else who looked presidential. Romney even had presidential hair. And we forced Mr. Cain out of the presidential race with multiple allegations of sexual misconduct all of which immediately disappeared the minute he withdrew his hat from the race.
President Obama created President Trump both directly and indirectly. Many political pundits believe that it was President Obama’s belittling of Donald Trump’s leadership and relevant presidential experience during a five-minute roast at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner that spurred The Donald to run for the White House. More importantly, President Obama created President Trump indirectly by pushing policies he passed without any Republican support (Affordable Care Act) or no congressional input at all via executive action (“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone”). Ignore the Deplorables in the Fly Over States at your own peril. They found a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 who had a lifetime of executive experience to get things done. President Obama had zero executive experience in 2008 when elected to the Office of the President. It was affirmative action’s finest hour, Executive Order 11246. President Johnson would be proud.