(…are now being waged on the battlefields of our minds)

American political warfare has always been waged in a wide-open no holds barred style (and best characterized as the epitome of “sleaze”), but, for the most part, conducted without actual bloodshed. Except for the sleaze factor, one could say our political warfare style is a direct copy of  a fiercely played football game between two arch rivals…viewing it as a sporting event in which, we, the electorate, egg them on with great roars of spectator approval…much like ancient Romans enjoying their blood games at the Colosseum.

In recent decades, however, we have become more and more addicted to the extreme rhetoric of would-be demagogues, manipulating populist fevers and single-issues of one kind or another to fulfill their own needs and purposes, rather than for the common good, all of that reaching a climax in the 2016 elections.

Advances in communications technology have further added to that by making it easier for home-grown manipulators, as well as foreign ones, to corrupt and decay the infrastructures of the electoral processes of our democratic matrix. The result being that today’s American political combats are now, more than ever, being waged on the battlefields of our minds. Political campaigns are thus no longer organized, planned, and conducted as just efforts to persuade us to support erstwhile rational and reasonable agendas and perspectives, but rather, as planned assaults on the collective will of the electorate to accept a packaged “product” which will stampede it in a particular desired direction…regardless of the merits of that direction, or, what consequences might result from going in that direction.

The most glaring example of this is how that has impacted on our process for selecting and confirming proposed Justices to fill a seat on the Supreme Court, which our Founders conceived as being the ultimate arbiter/referee for resolving any contentions brought before it; and, whose primary guideline for making such decisions was whether or not a particular case presented conformed to and/or met the provisions dictated by our constitution. In recent times the extreme partisan way that process has been conducted clearly shows how far we’ve strayed away from that concept. The recent Kavanaugh confirmation process being the most egregious example of that yet.

No matter who is President, no matter which party of our political duopoly holds the majority in the Senate, no matter what judicial merits or qualities any proposed nominee might have, there is always an immediate extreme and irrelevant outcry raised about whether or not such a nominee is either “liberal” or “conservative”. As a result, the selecting and confirming process has become more and more politicized and distorted by partisan wrangling over that, with nominees forced to endure humiliating public exposure of every aspect of their life’s track behind them. Tracks which, as with any other human, are probably less than perfect or pristine. So, that partisan approach narrowly focuses instead on whatever peccadillos appear or are revealed on those back trails, and, giving these greater negative weight over anything else in a nominee’s record, while also deliberately ignoring whether or not these are simply incidental events or part of a continuing pattern in that nominee’s life.

More importantly, we also presume that such nominees will make decisions based upon their perceived “liberal” or “conservative” personal biases, not on constitutional merits, so we prejudge to either support or reject them only on that basis. In short, we seem to only want to appoint judges to that court who will conform to our own biases, prejudices, and values, rather than those who have a strong judicial record of abiding by the provisions of the Constitution, and, who will perform an adjunct legislative role, rather than the judicial one envisioned for it by our Founders.

To be blunt about it, the Supreme Court is there to adjudicate…not to legislate. If our Congress, if our State Legislatures, if our local Councils, enact laws and rules which we don’t like, the Court can only tell us if these conform or do not conform to the provisions of the Constitution. If we want things changed…we should focus our demands for such changes on Congress, on our State Legislatures, on our local Councils…not on the Court.

Politicizing our judicial process by making it part of our political combats is the surest way to destroy our country’s democratic system…and the quickest way to transform it into being just another Banana Republic.

There are enough of these cluttering up the World’s landscape already. We don’t need to add ourselves to that clutter.