It never fails to amaze me how many New Zealanders are so invested in the American political process. After all, you know the interest is not reciprocated. It’s one of the more entertaining times you can spend explaining to an American how MMP works. But I digress.
There are many New Zealanders who seem even more aware of the labyrinthine ins and outs of American politics than many Americans are. And I suppose the interest comes because the global influence of what happens in America is so great that watching the way they come to their positions is important to watch. America also believes itself to be the home of democracy ever since the revolution and their pride in the Constitution as a founding document for modern states is palpable and so American debates become debates about freedom and statehood.
But at the end of the day, the plain fact is that it is so terribly entertaining, full of twists and turns and manoeuvers and plots amongst a cast of fascinating and often flawed characters. This system is so full of nuances and complexities that you can easily be convinced that black is white and up is down.
And so we come to the confirmation of Donald Trumps latest nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. It’s incredible that the story is popping up in our TV news bulletins third or fourth in but again it’s because of the salacious nature of the claims and the pictures that are coming out.
I wonder once again why we should give a stuff, but this morning I noticed an interesting thing. My son and I started talking about the situation. Now, why would a 22-year-old engineer give a toss? So I asked him.
Apparently, a lot of his mates talk about it and in well-informed ways. The rise of internet entertainment is the reason. The new generation is the YouTube generation. They get their view of the world not from newspapers or network tv but what comes into their feeds. High amongst them are US comedy feeds and obviously, this current administration is considered comedy gold.
So to understand the context of the humour they’re seeing my lad and his kiwi mates go off and find out what’s happening. The truth is that Jack might actually know more about American politics than New Zealand politics
So I asked my 22 year old son what he knows about the Supreme Court. He knew it’s called the Roberts court after the Chief Justice, that Clarence Thomas is the longest serving, that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is revered by liberals. He knew that Sotomayer was nominated by Obama and the first thing she said was that she was no Democrat. He knows all about Gorsuch’s nomination by Trump and the filibustering by the Democrats, the breaking of the filibustering and the vote on partisan lines 54-45.
So, what does he know of Kavanaugh? He knows that he is a conservative, that he’s been through six FBI checks to get where he’s got. He knew he respects the Brown decision the most, the decision that stopped segregation in schools and that he doesn’t think the Roe v Wade decision is immutable.
So we talked about the current furore and this is what the Dickens family came to. Kavanaugh will get there just like Clarence Thomas did. The vote will be partisan and be 54-45 ish.
And here’s the thing. It’s not whether Kavanaugh abused Christine Blasey Ford. This hearing is not about guilt. It’s about Kavanaugh’s suitability. And he came off as a whiny, privileged, angry, emotional, immature patriarch. As Jack said. Out of a quarter of a billion people is he really the best person they could find to be part of a court of 9 people whose job is to protect the most precious and important part of American democracy. We both think the States could do better
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