Thursday will find America at one of its most ironic points.
Our nation is at war with itself — playing out as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the same day as Christine Blasey Ford, who has alleged he sexually assaulted her. CNN and Fox News are likely to have their largest respective audiences in years. Split screens. Divided citizens. Protests. Pain. Despair.
The hearing will underscore the larger battle for hearts and minds ahead of a midterm election crucial to both parties. It’s a time exploding with irony.
Irony No. 1
Conservatives point to a left-wing conspiracy to justify their nomination of a Supreme Court justice who many allege participated in a right-wing conspiracy against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Irony No. 2
Kavanaugh turned to TV news to defend his character (Fox News, of course). It’s rare that a SCOTUS nominee goes on TV to speak before confirmation. And rarely to talk about sex.
Irony No. 3
On the same day of the Kavanaugh and Ford testimonies, President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who The New York Times reported had suggested taping Trump and discussed ways to remove him from office. Trump rails against the so-called mainstream media, calling it “Fake News,” but then points to a Times story as potential justification to fire Rosenstein.
Thursday will be a hard day for all of us. We are expecting a hearing, but few Republican senators will be listening. With the exception, perhaps, of the senators of Maine and Alaska, the men have made up their minds. How ironic. How shameful.
Maybe the weather on Thursday will be good enough to garden, so we can simply tend to simpler tasks and return to our roots. As we water our plants, we should ponder planting the seeds of democracy — volunteering, voting even running for office — so that it might grow tall and sturdy.
Tara D. Sonenshine served as U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs (2012 to 2013). She is senior career adviser at The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.