I spared the blog world my blather for almost three months but ... sorry folks, I'm b-a-a-a-ck!
Having been absent so long, I feel like a visitor from Mars - so many political developments, it's almost like a new campaign in some limited ways: Three and a half "debates," new scandalous revelations about Trump, a few skeletons in Hillary's closet, too. On the other hand, nothing much has changed, either. Trump is still a mentally unbalanced megalomaniac with no understanding of politics, economics, or foreign policy, and just generally a nasty guy too - ergo, still completely unqualified to be President of the U.S. What's generally disturbing is that his total inappropriateness for the office has been evident for many months, yet he still seems to have a significant following. Polls suggest he can't win, and I hope they're right, but I'm not complacent about the accuracy of polls.
I've missed lots of more specific opportunities to comment on the impoverishment of our political system over the past 90 days, but that's water under the bridge, so I begin with a narrow focus, a bipartisan criticism that bothers me considerably: in the last two debates, I was shocked to hear Hillary's, and then Donald's, answers to questions about their views on nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court. Laying aside any pretense of impartiality on the Court, each of them in turn baldly stated they would nominate to our highest court jurists who they believed would agree with and further their policy goals. I suspect every one of our current Justices was shocked, even dismayed, to hear these statements.
I can't with conscience argue that the Court is not politicized already; politics has played a role for at least two centuries. And I suppose it's a sign of the times - our political impoverishment - to put things in the most starkly honest terms and to wear our politics on our sleeve. Yet, whatever happened to nominating persons highly reputed for both legal acumen and independence? If the Court's political impartiality is a pretense, it's a very helpful and societally necessary one that has enabled us, over the years, to get on with business.
Pledges like those Clinton and Trump made recently will be used against them by their opposition in future nomination fights, creating still more legislative deadlock. Not something we need.