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Daddy is afraid of you ... and should be by @BloggersRUs

Daddy is afraid of you ... and should be

by Tom Sullivan

"This is exactly what the Kavanaugh nomination has come to represent," writes Gail Collins in the New York Times. "A vote for the nomination became a symbolic vote for a political ethos that thinks grabbing private parts is fun and complaining about sexual assault is a threat to young manhood."

In an amoral president's adolescent view of the world, boys will be boys and the alpha dog gets his pick of the females. For Trump's vassals on Capitol Hellmouth, much more is at stake than having their way with women. Having their way with the rest of us is on the line. The vituperation exhibited by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his defenders is not about him or the Supreme Court. It is about the threat they feel to a system they see dying, one that is slipping through their fingers even as tighten their grip.

As heartbreaking and demoralizing as the Kavanaugh fight has been (assuming the outcome today is all but certain), what Republicans are desperate to preserve is not just their political power but the social arrangement that undergirds their world. That is, the way things ought to be:

The American experiment was first formulated as a challenge to the way things ought to be. The radical experiment behind the new nation was that men (white men, anyway) might govern themselves rather than kings and princes and landed gentry. But that experiment would challenge the existing order only within limits. The new country permitted slavery. Women and children were still second-class citizens. Undesirables of whatever sort would remain hidden. Equality was never the rule and barely a guideline. It was an aspiration highly educated white men chose to try on like a pair of shoes.

In deference to demands by all who were once second-class and/or hidden, we today say all persons are created equal, not all men. But as with Christian sects willing to condone religious freedom only so long as lesser theologies know their places, persons other than white men becoming too numerous and noisy in their demand for realized, not theoretical equality threatens the prevailing order. And the tolerance of those in charge.

That order is under strain. Demographically and culturally if not economically, although that too. (The One Percent may be more comfortable than ever, but deepening inequality is adding to the strain.)

The U.S. Constitution has proved pliable enough in the past to expand the reach of inclusion painfully slowly over time. Yet never have the undemocratic elements of the basic structure of American government been set in such sharp relief as now. Privileged white men are credible by cultural agreement. Women are "credible," but only when the boys are feeling deferential about recognizing them.

Democracy was never the rule here, only a guideline observed so long as it did not really challenge the way things ought to be. Democrats for their part have evolved in a century and a half to support, for the most part, the aspirations of their coalition members in seeking to enjoy full equality. Republicans for their part yearn for the 18th century when people knew their places and stayed in them. Pharisees, they attend to the trappings of democracy, but do not believe in it. Democracy is mob rule.

Lawrence O'Donnell Friday night expanded on the undemocratic features of our constitution that produced not only a sitting president elected by a minority but (presumably) a second Supreme Court justice confirmed by a U.S. Senate representing a minority.

David Rothkopf offered some advice via Twitter in response to the Senate's decision Friday to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to a final vote. Rebirth is possible:

They fear you. And well they should. But they will not give up power. We lessers will have to take it from them.

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