“The hateful, the aggressive, the truly, truly awful manner which with so many are acting now has got to end. This is not who we are. This is not who we should be. This is not who we raise our children to be.” ~ U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
United States Senator Murkowski spoke those words in her speech on the Senate floor last night, in which she shared her reasoning for voting to oppose cloture for the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh — cloture being the procedural vote by which they end debate and move the issue to the floor for a formal (and final) vote.
Senator Murkowski had more to share, and it’s a timely, worthwhile, and maybe vital perspective … and one example of Islands of Sanity and Uncommon Skills in expression.
Going against her Party’s grain, the Senator said that she could not, in good conscience, vote “yes.”
Her reasoning, as shared in her speech, was extremely and impressively thoughtful, and courageous, given that she was going against the desires of and pressures from her own party.
As I listened, I found myself thinking that Senator Murkowski offered an excellent example, regardless of party, of someone in that body, in modern politics with its divisive, increasingly vulgar circus/theater-like atmosphere, of whom her constituents in Alaska can be very proud, and in whom any of us might find inspiration.
She clearly took the decision very seriously — not simply as an opportunity to serve her own ends and/or move forward a party agenda despite the rather marked opposition and/or legitimate concern expressed in the general public.
The Senator said it was, for her, “as hard a choice, probably as close a call as any that I can ever remember.”
“I hope and I pray that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again. But I’m worried. I am really worried that this becomes the new normal, where we find new and even more creative ways to tear one another down,” she said.
In the end, what swayed Senator Murkowski — and seems to have been overlooked by too many others who were focused more on the he said/she said (not unimportant, but also not the only issue at hand and at stake) — was this:
The (U.S.) Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 1.2 requires that a judge ‘act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.’
She cited her deep and genuine concern about the long-decreasing public confidence in the Executive Branch and Senate/Congress, and the decreasing confidence in the Supreme Court’s ability to be a neutral and vital “check and balance” on Executive and Legislative overstep (it is a representative democracy, not a monarchy or totalitarian regime).
(The latter, decreasing confidence in the impartiality of the Supreme Court, is also something about which Chief Justice Roberts, also a Republican-administration appointee, has expressed concern. Read perspectives here and here.)
In ending her comments, Senator Murkowski said,
“I truly hope that we can be at that place where we can move forward in a manner that shows greater respect, greater comity. We owe it to the people of America to return to a less rancorous process. In the spirit of that comity, and again while I voted no on cloture today, and I will be a no tomorrow.”
In extending a courtesy in the procedural aspect of her vote, in which she agreed to vote ‘present’ rather than ‘no’, she emphasized, “I do hope that it reminds us that we can take very small, very small steps to be gracious with one another and maybe those small, gracious steps can lead to more.”
You can read and see/hear her comments here – it’s a good, seemingly balanced article about her decision, among the many others.
I also watched various other news vids, read articles, listened to various comments, some of which seemed similarly thoughtful and offered actual helpful, balanced information — like the speech/comments of Senator Susan Collins, also a Republican, from Maine.
(Interestingly, Senator Collins’ speech started at 3:00 p.m. Eastern U.S. time, and at 3:05 p.m., Venus, one astro-symbol of the Feminine, was officially stationed Retrograde, amidst a backdrop of Uranus and Saturn creating a Grand Earth Trine with the fixed star Regulus, all astro-harbingers relating to the Feminine, on Earth. Perhaps more musings on that astro-sync later.)
For now, back to the illuminating examples of these two U.S. senators, women both.
I, personally, found the perspective and the particular examples that Senator Collins shared in her speech very informative, and refreshing amidst the sea of more extremist and shrill communiques from the various ‘far sides’, though my personal perspective in this instance is more aligned with Senator Murkowski’s.
Both women are a credit to the Senate with their thoughtfulness, soberness, dignity (and respect for others’ dignity), compassion, and intelligence — actually seeming to ‘get’ that there’s a lot more at stake here other than an orgy of greed, power-plays, and seeking purely Party-specific (vs. country and whole-populace-specific) agendas.
May there be more leaders akin to Senators Murkowski and Collins, and may the prayers and hopes, the dignified example, the potent reminder and invitation extended by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, be much more strongly championed, and more whole-heartedly accepted and acted-upon.
The whole vulgar hate-fest, with way too many and too frequent comments designed to antagonize, divide, bully, provoke, mislead, and derail, isn’t just getting really, really tired. It’s actually dangerous, with consequences that are harmful to all of us, no matter what supposed ‘party’ we affiliate with.
Featured image credit: U.S.Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaking with journalists about her “no” vote in the Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation hearings. Source: BuzzFeed.
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