WARNING: This is a political post. If you don’t want to read political posts, ignore this and look at my other things that involve farting or stupid pictures. You’ve been warned.
On Saturday Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia died while on a hunting trip in West Texas. Considering the name of the destination, the event taking place, and of course Scalia’s own political views, I’m certain that he couldn’t have dreamed up a better place to die. And no, Dick Cheney did not shoot him.
As he ascends into heaven where he’s free from having to deal with all the gays, masturbaters, non-white skinned heathens and the like, one can’t help but realize this is absolutely the worst time for this to happen for his very own Republican party. I’ll get into that shortly, but first let’s get some things out of the way.
First off, I have always preached that the whole concept of not being able to say anything bad about the dead ever is a stupid, stupid notion. And while people of all walks of life are guilty of doing it, it primarily comes from the Christian right, which just seems like a major hypocrisy. If you follow what the Christian right believes, Scalia is up in heaven enjoying pure bliss and doesn’t have a single care about what’s going on here in “our world.” So who cares if anyone says anything about a dead person? If it’s a sin, then saying anything negative about anyone ever is a sin, so why suddenly do people have to stop talking about a person in a realistic sense?
I don’t care about any of that and firmly believe that if you were a piece of garbage in life, you were a piece of garbage in death. That also works conversely, if you were a great person in life, blah, blah, you get it.
Antonin Scalia was not a great person.
He achieved great things. He was on the Supreme Court for almost 30 years. Which, if you aren’t politically minded or the only real studying you’ve done was on Wikipedia or by watching your cable news channel of choice, you may not know that being on the court is without question one of the most powerful positions on this planet. Far superior to being President (ironically Scalia was a staunch supporter of the Executive Branch and was in heavy favor of giving the POTUS even more power). Of course before being appointed by Reagan he worked in a law firm, was a law school professor at the University of Virginia, and served as an Assistant Attorney General. He led a very successful life.
He was an adamant originalist and firmly believed that if it was good enough for people 200+ years ago, why the hell would you change? This is of course something gun lobbyists and hardcore conservatives steadfastly stick by through thick and thin (when it applies to their viewpoint that is). Basically this means that whatever was written in the constitution must be taken at face value and cannot be interpreted any other way. He often stated that he had no interest in looking at previous judicial rulings as a means to make a judgement. This was notable when he argued against women’s rights because the 14th amendment (all citizens are guaranteed rights and equal protection of the laws) didn’t explicitly state “women get it too.”
The actual amendment states:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
So unless he was a fucking idiot (he wasn’t), he was being a sexist asshole and using the technical non-statement for his own agenda, which is something he was prone to do. If you take Scalia’s stance it means that women could be paid less, passed over for jobs, barred from schools, etc. You know, all the things the 14th amendment was passed to protect against.
Scalia was full of plenty of gems about social issues where he clearly sat on the far, far right of (in case you hadn’t figured that out). One of my favorite opinions he gave was on gun control after the Aurora, Colorado shooting. When asked whether or not the second amendment allows for restriction on gun rights, he had this to say:
“Obviously, the amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried. It’s to keep and bear. So, it doesn’t apply to cannons,”
“But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes,” he said, adding that whether or not Americans could carry such weapons was open to interpretation. “That will have to be — it will have to be decided,”
Clearly the fact that people are dying at an insane rate in this country via gun violence (while the rest of the World scratches their collective heads) is a matter of humor for the Italian-American justice. Could he have simply said that he didn’t believe the amendment allowed for any restrictions on the American public? Sure. But instead he chose to make jokes about canons and rocket launchers, of which he just pointed out that technically it’s totally cool for anyone with a pulse in the country to own. Which is, obviously, absurd.
He also once said the term “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” Which I must admit, is pretty badass and am going to include in my lexicon going forward.
So what does Scalia’s death mean for President Obama, the GOP, and America as a whole? Well, regardless of what happens, it’s for the better. Even if the conservative dream occurs and Trump or whatever poor candidate they have for this election (seriously this is the worst crop of Republicans in any recent election. At least Bob Dole had charisma) wins and elects a conservative judge, they won’t be as batshit insanely right-wing as Scalia was.
But because the conservative dream isn’t going to happen and Hillary Clinton will likely be the next President of the United States (not my first choice at all, but she has the financial backing, history, and name recognition to win it), you’ll see a more left-leaning justice take over. The journey to get there just may be a choppy one.
Actually, let me rant for a moment. The simple reason that Republican’s as we know them may never win another presidential election is because they won’t budge at all in the area that the rest of the country, well actually the World, has progressed: social issues. The white-male, evangelical constituency no longer cuts it as the way to win elections. With the rise of the information age people are becoming more educated and less attached to the hateful, antiquated rhetoric that gets spewed.
Today if someone says something it can immediately be scrutinized. Everyone has access to the internet and can have a voice, something which is amazing but doesn’t come without its detriments. Not only do people with great things to say have a way to be heard, but people with terrible things to say do as well. This has led to the rise of hate speech. In the past, if you were insanely racist or bigoted you had to keep it to yourself because if you spoke out, you would be held accountable by your peers and the people around you. Now, there exists things like returnofkings.com, which consists of the most sexist, awful human beings on the planet. Even Scalia would think these guys were the worst. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Despite these detriments the information age is quickly reshaping our philosophies. We’ve made unprecedented strides in social areas such as gay rights or women’s rights, health care (if you’re a Christian and you oppose universal healthcare you’re a fucking hypocrite. It’s OK to oppose our current plan, but to be against it entirely makes you a vile, nasty human being incapable of empathy), freedom of discrimination in general, and even conservation efforts. The Republican party as it stands still steadfastly opposes most if not all of these issues, and it just isn’t working anymore.
For the Republican party to get out of the bubble it has encased itself in there needs to be a major party movement. They need to embrace social change and make their primary focus be on fiscal matters. I’ve always said I would be happy to debate a conservative on fiscal matters where we have a difference in opinion, but once you put social issues out there it’s not worth discussing. They are simply wrong.
“Here is where I put text in much larger than the body of the document, so as to highlight a phrase and keep the reader hooked.”
Until this major shift happens, the Republican party will be doomed to look like complete fools. Look at the primaries. On one side you have Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton angrily discussing their platforms with each other and whether or not their past voting records indicate this or that and how his plan or her plan will help society in this way or that way, and on the other side you have eight guys discussing how they will herd Muslims into concentration camps and how this guy or that guy won’t be able to beat Clinton in an election.
I have news for you. When the point you have to make in a 3-hour debate is that you can beat the opponent in an election, you’ve already lost. Your focus should be on whatever you think you will be doing as President, not your opponent. I have conservative friends who get really into it and all they keep coming back to is “so and so can beat Hillary.” The next time you make your decision based on whether or not the person you are looking to elect into office can win, just stop, take a sharp object, and jab it directly into your eye.
This is of course not really the candidates’ faults. It lies in the structure of the primaries and voter patterns. To win the Republican nomination you must adhere to the most conservative concepts simply to appease the voting constituency. Who votes in Republican primaries you ask? Rich, white, males with Evangelical ties. If you look at the current crop of candidates for the Republicans, Jeb Bush just might be the most moderate of the group, and that’s saying something huge. HIS NAME IS BUSH. In other words a member of the most conservative family in this country.
So getting back to the situation at hand, with Scalia’s death Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConall came out and promised a bald eagle to its face that he would do everything in his power to delay the appointment of a new justice until after the presidential election, despite having this to say just a few years ago in 2005:
“The Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote. I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s ‘advise and consent’ responsibilities to ‘advise and obstruct.'”
Now, being a realist, I will also point out that anytime the shoe was on the other foot, the Democrats in charge would do the exact some thing, but maybe not as overtly. Either way, it’s wrong. And while in the opposite scenario I would certainly be hoping for a delay so as to appoint someone who isn’t as conservative, that doesn’t mean I would stand for it. It’s stupid, ridiculous, and a flagrant slap in the face of due process.
The problem with the whole situation is evident. Even a dumbass like me was able to sit down, google Mitch McConnell Supreme Court Nominee, and see the complete contradiction of his statements from the past vs. now. He’s effectively just made himself and his party (who is fully backing him, might I add) look like hypocrites, something that happens on an insane basis these days. He has effectively armed the Democratic candidates with yet another weapon in the general election, which is merely icing on the cake at this point.
If he continues on this path he has effectively handicapped whoever wins the Republican nomination. Now they have to answer questions as to why they feel the need to delay the appointment to suit their own personal needs. That hurts the chance for one of these extremist conservatives to move into the presidency. America wins.
So let’s say McConnell backtracks and decides that he’s going to allow President Obama to nominate a new justice, and they get sworn in within the next few months. Guess what? The US just gained a liberal Supreme Court Justice. America wins.
As I stated earlier, there is very little chance the Republican nominee wins a general election barring something insane happening (like if Hillary Clinton were revealed to just be George Clinton wearing a wig). So there really is no way to come out of this ahead for the Republicans. On one hand if they were to tuck their tail between their legs and admit they were wrong, then they would gain credibility. However that has never been high on the far-right wish list, so that’s not an option. Whereas on the other hand if they continue what they are doing, they hurt themselves in the short term, but get a tiny glimmer of hope that what they are doing might actually work.
This kind of grandiose delusion is exactly what the Republican ticket goes by, so why change now?