“If you can’t disagree ardently with your colleagues about some issues of law and yet personally still be friends, get another job, for Pete’s sake,” Scalia once said of his friendships with colleagues. Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia quoted in: 9 Political Friendships Proved Party Lines Don’t Have To Divide Americans, Grace Panetta
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. Otto von Bismark
A Little Civility Can Be A Dangerous Thing Steven Beschloss, Washington Post
Anyone observing the sausage makers in American politics today must conclude that they’ve become lost on the way to the kitchen. Whatever happened to the American idea that we can disagree about policy yet remain friends? What happened is our current President whose personal habits (lying, bullying, name-calling, and a penchant for vindictiveness, racial slurs, and cruelty) have encouraged the predicted response.
There has always been cruel and vindictive behavior in politics (see Doveryai No Proveryai; Trust But Verify). Passions fly when opinions on important matters differ. But, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the divisions in America today seem deeper, harsher, and more entrenched than ever. Antonin Scalia’s comment may appeal to the best in our nature but the current President has very effectively encouraged us toward the worst.
The optimists say: “this too will end.” I must beg to disagree. “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise,” or so the saying goes. But, is that it? Is that what really constitutes a happy life, ignorance?
I, for one, hope not. This is no time to compromise, civility be damned. The esteemed Supreme Court Justice was a man, a man who knew how to navigate tricky waterways without crashing the boat. Today America is led by a spoiled brat. I don’t much like the Old Testament, but if there was ever a time to apply “spare the rod, spoil the child,” this would be it.