Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Miers Madness: Brothers-In-Arms Continues

The furor over President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to SCOTUS continues ad naseum. Southern Appeal, Professor Bainbridge and Pro Ecclesia (among others) can't seem to argue against her enough. Hugh Hewitt (and others) can't stop defending her for more than a post. In fact, everyone's still throwing gasoline cans on this blaze!

The battle occuring within the Republican base threatens to make history as the greatest political melt-down of the 21st century. Granted, the 21st century is still pretty young. Still, the unprecedented hostility of many conservatives on one hand, and the perpetually tin-earred response by the Administration on the other, may bring down in flames the hard-fought conservative resurgence that had seemingly arrived at last. The Republican party--certainly more home to conservatives than liberals--controlled the Presidency, two Houses of Congress, many Governorships throughout the country and looked like a lock for mid-terms in 2006. The Democrats--poisoned from within by their radical far-left--offered no message other than "Blame Bush" and "No!" President Bush had defended the nation from further attacks against the homeland by islamofascists, passed through tax-cuts that would eventually yield spending-reform and signed into law a ban on partial-birth abortion.

Now, some conservatives had not viewed the President's accomplishments as optimistically as I just described them. They were not happy with this administration's support of No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. They gagged at the pork in the Transportation Bill. They abhorred the President's lack of demand for fiscal restraint from a Congress commanded by his own party! They watched the Federal government swell, not shrink, and wondered again which party had won.

Then Katrina hit. NOLA incompetence aside, they struggled to understand how the once reputable FEMA could botch the recovery effort. Then they found out that "Brownie" stood at the wheel. Then the president announced the federal restoration efforts--to the tune of $200 billion!

Still, they held out hope. The President certainly was strong on defense--even when they botched operations in Iraq. Plus, the President had promised conservatives Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. He would likely get a chance to keep that promise.

Then two SCOTUS nominations openned. The President now had the unprecedented opportunity to transform the principal engine of the culture of death into a solid institution rooted in its proper role as interpreter of law. He could appoint his Scalia and Thomas to the Court, granting the favorers of originalism and texualism the majority they needed to curb the totalitarian excesses of the Supreme Judiciarium. The sanctity of life, federalism and even the rule of Law itself would become safe once more.

With this historic opportunity, who did the President nominate? First, the Now current SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts, heir apparent to the late, great William H. Rehnquist. A surprise? Certainly. Still, a solid pick: no one questioned his qualifications, even if he flew under the radar.

And then he nominates Harriet Miers.

His long-time lawyer and friend. A glass-ceiling shattering lawyer from Texas. An invisible candidate with little paper trail and even less evidence of a judicial philosophy of any kind. An Evangelical Christian with a mixed history of supporting Pro-life and pro-choice causes. A woman one could say is many things, except two: She's no Scalia, and she's no Thomas.

Thus, the firestorm. Presidential loyalists like Hewitt want to believe the President. "Trust me," is enough for them. Opponents of Ms. Miers want to trust the President. But they need to verify his nominee, too. Unfortunately, they can't do that. Thus, they want her name withdrawn. The President will most likely refuse to do so; he's given no indication it's even on the table. In fact, his administration has tripped over themselves like Keystone Cops, blundering one opportunity after another to promote Ms. Miers.

The sad result of this fiasco will be a conservative coalition shattered. It will be disillusioned conservatives that send a message to the President in 2006 by staying home. It will be the loss of control over the Senate, at least. It will be the complete destruction of the seemingly perfect conservative moment, and the movement will need to rebuild for months, if not years.

Meanwhile, the innocent continue to die. Society continues it's slow march toward Libertine totalitarianism. The Judiciarium reigns unchallenged. The Federalism that our ancestors shed their blood for erodes with every new decision SCOTUS hands down. Radical progressives further marginalize traditionalists, and those that take religion seriously, from the center of the public square. Society and the State become less distinguishable to the average citizen. The Culture of Death and the Barbarism of Apathy consume their victims under the watchful eye of the Dictatorship or Relativism.

In other words, Nothing happens.

The political solution to the very authentic political, legal and cultural problems the United States faces slips away under the waters of mismanaged polity. If we seek new solutions, we'll need to find them elsewhere. If ever a moment made clear the world's demand for evangelization, it's this one. The appropriate people for the important offices of our society will not be choses as long as the Culture of Death holds the everyman's loyalty. Now more than ever, every one of us must make Christ known to our families, friends, associates, communities and beyond. Only the participants in a culture of life will support candidates from a culture of life.

Does this mean that people of good will must completely abandon politics? Of course not! Promising candidates will come. If they commit to the principles that will save our society, they deserve our support. But if we are to convince the voting masses that currently support the enforcers of stealth candidacy, then we need to change hearts. We can't do that without Christ; rather, only Christ can change hearts--and he won't do that except through us! Therefore, our focus can no longer be forming the coalitions that ensure candidate X proposes solution Y or nominee Z. Rather, while seeking to support the authentic champions of the Culture of Life, we also need to transform the culture from which any of these candidates--and their voters--arise.

How do we do that? We share with the people in our lives who Christ is. We live the transformed reality our coming to believe in him has made. We act with his compassion, forgiveness and integrity. We bear the light through our service to those we meet. When those in our loves see us--and through us, him--then we've successfully evangelized them. Then they may do the same to those in their lives. As more and more of us become the leven of the world that the laity are called to be, the Culture of Life will emerge from the worship of Thanatos that has plagued our society for far too long. We will then raise up, person by person and institution by institution, the Civilization of love on the ruins of the Barbarism of Apathy.

We may need to walk away from the ruins of this conservative moment. But we will be back.