Politics and Keeping Your Word

Politics and Keeping Your Word

By Robert Scott

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

This week, the United States lost a giant: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose height was just over five feet, but whose stature was unmatched on the Supreme Court. Her character was unassailable; her ethics were unquestioned, even by those like friend and fellow Justice Antonin Scalia, who disagreed with her politically; and her faith in our country was unsurpassed. I visualize her right now joining another who has recently left us, having a conversation with Rep. John Lewis about the future of our nation. One of the fellow giants whom Justice Ginsburg quoted was Alexis de Tocqueville: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” Both Justice Ginsburg and Congressman Lewis were very aware that this saying of De Tocqueville will be tested again, in the elections this November.

As important as it is, the Presidency is not the only national office that South Carolina voters will need to consider when casting their votes in 2020. Another is U. S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who is running for reelection to the seat once held by Edgefield’s’ most famous son, Sen. J. Strom Thurmond. Senator Thurmond grew while in office; he learned from his experience, and his voting record showed that growth. Although he could never be considered to be a liberal in the mold of Justice Ginsburg or Congressman Lewis, like them he was always honest and straightforward. He was able to grow, but he was not able to dissemble: to tell the voters one thing, and then to do something different.

How does Senator Graham compare? A revelation of that very trait will be demonstrated in the next two or three weeks. When the last Presidential election was coming up (but Sen. Graham’s seat was not) in 2016, Lindsey Graham was among the many Republicans who supported the notion that a President should not be allowed to fill a Supreme Court vacancy during a Presidential election year. And, of course, President Obama was prevented from doing just that, even though the vacancy had occurred in January. Senator Graham held to that belief quite publicly, not only during2016 but throughout the first two years of the Trump administration. As recently as October, 2018, Senator Graham stated on camera, “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.” He had said the same thing on the floor of the Senate, when as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee he stated that he would oppose such an election-year appointment, and challenged the press to “save that video” and to use it against him should he turn out to do the opposite.

Well, we’re here. This week, within a day of Justice Ginsburg’s passing, Sen. Graham tweeted “I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

Whether the readers of The Edgefield Advertiser have political leanings more akin to Congressman Lewis and Justice Ginsburg, or more akin to Senator Thurmond and Justice Scalia, they will nevertheless respect honesty and the obligations of political promises. The elections are now just six Tuesdays away, or perhaps four if you plan to vote by mail, as I do. When you are considering your vote, one of the most important questions you should ask is this: can I trust this candidate to try with all his (or her) political strength to do what he says that he will do? If not, you should voteagainst that candidate. Trust matters and integrity matters, even in politics.

In any case, make sure you vote this year. Like trust and like integrity, your vote matters!