Politico will need an army of podiatrists to extract its foot from its mouth after publishing the headline for the story below. The headline reads: "McConnell delivers first big win of Trump's presidency." If the use of the nuclear option for the first time to confirm a SCOTUS judge is a big win, then there is no more truth. It vanished on Friday. The smile on McConnell's face is delusion incarnate.


The above paragraph will please partisans on the left who see nothing the GOP does as anything but a loss for the country. But it will roll off the backs of those who believe that the Gorsuch confirmation was a huge victory.

Can the verdict that it was a terrible loss be justified not by taking sides but by appealing to values that are universal?

The tolerance test

Tolerance is a universal value, because tolerance seeks resolution of conflict, it sees a division into two sides as something to address, not to accept. The Senate operated on a binary premise and refused to seek a third way. There was little or no tolerance on either side. Even the evaluation of the candidate was split. He was either a fine upright and fair judge or someone whose record showed him to be a side-taker with a remarkable tendency to favor the powerful over the weak. Tolerance would have seen in such division a red flag.

The helpfulness test

Helpfulness is what Jesus meant by love for both neighbor and enemy. Applied in the Gorsuch matter we would ask who was helped by the nuclear process?

Mr. Gorsuch most certainly was a beneficiary. Whether we will be is another matter. Gorsuch was advanced as a replacement for the late Judge Antonin Scalia. Scalia approved the election of George Bush as president and voted for Citizens United. Both decisions, it could be argued, have harmed us.


Democracy is more than majority rule.

It is an effort to govern by consensus. When two sides are evenly divided the better part of wisdom is to seek a compromise. Unfortunately, the battle lines were drawn well in advance of the Gorsuch hearings and democracy has suffered as a result. Clearer instances of this are found in the record of those who have actively worked at voter suppression and race-based gerrymandering.

What will it take?

What could happen to create some respite from a division that seems destined to fester? The answer is that if the resolution is not democratic, helpful and tolerant, it is lacking in the essential values that have accounted for human progress from the beginning.