“Frugal is such an ugly word,” my youngest daughter once told me in a snarky card addressing our shared love of shopping, especially for clothes. (When we could get together and laugh, when we could shop, when we needed clothes to wear outside the house. Sigh.) But I digress.
Her card comes to mind as I hear pundits and partisans calling today’s Republicans, particularly those involved in the Amy Coney Barrett nomination to the Supreme Court, “hypocrites” — because, like “frugal,” “hypocrite” is an ugly word. But it is such a weak word, too. Contrast hypocrisy with lying, cheating, fraud, racism, sexism, and authoritarianism, for example. It’s just so light-weight, so ineffectual, so frustratingly impotent in today’s political arena. So not ugly enough.
Yet the hypocrisy with which McConnell et. al. are being charged is every bit as galling to me as the rest. This is, first, because it is yet again another example of the way Trump and his enablers have robbed so many useful words of their meaning in their effort to abolish truth, or at least to make us question if there is such a thing as Truth, capital T.
Hypocrisy in the context of this administration’s incompetence and malfeasance serves also to compound the erosion of trust — between those who would govern and the governed, in the value of democratic government itself.
And finally, this rank hypocrisy masks what’s really going on: an exercise of raw power designed to institutionalize and advance — in the Courts now, as well as in the Legislature, in the states and in our schools — the interests of the very right-wing, very corporate, very Big Money folks. This is not democratic (small d); it’s oligarchic.
Hypocrisy is when you say you will not even entertain the nomination of a Democratic President’s Supreme Court pick in the final year of his administration because “the people” should have their say via the upcoming election, but then rush through President Trump’s (i.e., The Heritage Society’s and the Koch Brothers’) nominee a month before the election and within two months of the end of his term.
Hypocrisy is when you say you want to get the government off the back of business and corporate enterprise, but you’re perfectly willing to force the government into the reproductive organs of women.
Hypocrisy is when you rail against “legislating from the bench,” but cannot wait to start de-legislating from the bench, as in, say, striking down the Affordable Care Act.
Hypocrisy is when you feign innocence as to the President’s Supreme Court agenda and your role as his tool to accomplish it, when you even participate in the sham that was the nomination process and the Judiciary Committee hearing that began with the Chairman announcing the votes were all in.
Hypocrisy is when you woo the so-called religious right (that they can be so wooed disqualifies them, in my mind, as “religious” in any meaningful sense) with hot button social issues (abortion chief among them) when you don’t really give a damn about babies, born or unborn, but simply need the evangelical voting bloc.
Hypocrisy is when you claim to be an Originalist and oh-so-intellectually pure without acknowledging that to go back there, to the Constitutional Convention in all its brilliance, is to deny hard-won rights — human rights and civil rights — to a population, nay, to populations — to which the founders paid no attention whatsoever. It’s not as if you can simply erase the existence of African Americans and women and LBGTQ+ and refugees and immigrants along with their civil and human rights because they weren’t accounted for in the original document, much as you might like to.
But then, eliminating these folks and their rights probably isn't overtly part of the agenda. Truly, the loss of women’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, workplace protections and the like probably isn’t intentional at all; they’re just the collateral damage in the Right’s battle for all the power and all the money they can amass. Somehow, that almost makes it worse: that some of We, the People, still don’t matter at all. They’re not giving us a thought.
Just like Amy Coney Barrett hasn’t given much thought to, say, climate change. That’s hypocrisy, too. Or maybe it’s a lie, a damned lie.comments powered by Disqus
by Ann Sentilles
October 17th, 2020