Border Outpost: Kabuki

‘Sign with this quill. It was growing on the cock

That crowed when Peter dared deny his Master.

All who use it have great honour in Hell.’

From the Autobiography of William Butler Yeats

I have to thank Senator Susan Collins for reminding me of the meaning of the word ‘treachery’. In all this public theater over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, I had quite forgotten what a craven, soulless occupation being a Republican politician is. I remembered lines written by the great Irish poet last night while asleep and they suddenly startled me awake.

I have come to the conclusion that some Republicans are unbelievers; that they don’t believe in God or Judgment Day, not that it matters if they do. It’s rather a theological question. Does one believe in such things when one acts as though they don’t exist or matter when it comes to the salvation of one’s soul or soothing the pangs of one’s conscience? Oh, I see it clearly now. All one has to do to be a Senate Republican is to say one is a believer and the assertion of belief is sufficient to betray the confidence of others. There’s a word for that.

I feel sorry for the women who pleaded with Sen. Collins, travelled long distances to tell her their stories, who earnestly believed she would do the right thing. If Sen. Collins listened to their entreaties, heard the truth of their being wronged by others; it was all for show. It was political theater on her part, designed to make her look as though she genuinely cared when she doesn’t and would still vote in lockstep with the party.

I’ve said it before. It is a variation on kabuki to go through all the motions, to look as though one is seriously considering the issue, to give pained expressions and make thoughtful gestures when one has already decided on the matter. It is wearing a kabuki mask. The mask should say it all.

I’m upset by the proceedings because they needn’t have dragged out so long and dramatically. Senator Flake, for all his pained expressions and false assertions, had no intention of denying the Kavanaugh nomination. It was political theater. It was simply duping women into thinking he would act with his conscience when he had no intention of doing so. Why? Possibly because he doesn’t possess a conscience.  As a comedian once said, “I was only acting.”

Acting? It’s treachery.  Now we have a third rate political apparatchik on the Supreme Court; someone willing to carry out the bidding of his executive and corporate masters and set the clock back hundreds of years. Equality? Equal Rights? A woman’s right to choose? Not in Kavanaugh’s America. Or is it now spelled with a K like the first letter of his last name? We’ll soon see.

As for Maine’s Sen. Collins, she had her Margaret Chase Smith moment, milked it for all the pathos she could get from it, and tossed it away; pathos becomes bathos. No number of talk show appearances to justify her actions can make up for one catastrophic wrong decision.

She has to live with it. So do the rest of us.

Dave Wylie’s life and work experience runs the gamut from newspaper editor to carpenter to grant writer to boat builder with lots of other work wedged in-between. Wylie currently is president of a management company that oversees an elderly housing complex and president of the local historical society. He resides in Madawaska.

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