Politics by disruption

In recent days we have written several editorials about the lack of civility in politics today in the United States.

Whether it was rehashing how both left and right now use Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to disrupt the political and corporate elite or the use of bully tactics to denigrate opponents, the point is that any semblance of social graces is now regarded as a sign of weakness.

Lest anyone think we are picking on just right-wingers who use these tactics, we’d like to point out today that we think the first two sessions of Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate hearings to become an associate justice on the Supreme Court have been awful. And, they’ve been awful because of the left-wing protesters who keep interrupting the hearings by shouting during exchanges between the judge and Senate questioners.

There was a time when the U.S. Senate conducted respectful hearings in its role to advise and consent to judicial appointees. In a time not too long ago, serious, rational hearings oftentimes resulted in consensus votes of 97-3 or 96-4. Now, even something that is supposed to be as nonpartisan as selecting a federal judge to a lifetime position has been lost to hyper-partisanship.

The result is the attack dogs have been turned loose. Both sides of the Kavanagh vote are spending millions of dollars in television advertising trying to get the judge confirmed or defeated.

But, the worst participants in our view are the rude, boorish people screaming during the hearings. Both Judge Kavanagh and senators have to wait while one after another is led kicking and screaming from the hearing room.

We are almost resigned to the fact that the days of politicians reaching across the aisle to build a consensus are probably over. Compromise is seen as a weakness in both political parties.

The most visible results are the rude, vulgar people shouting at rallies, at hearings and in the streets. These are not peaceful protests — these are demonstrations designed to drown out the other side’s views.

It is a sad time for American politics.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.