Liberty Expose: Senator Cory Booker And The Death of Civil Discourse
Here’s a pop quiz: a quote will be provided, and you must identify who said it and in what context. Here it is: “I’m here to call on folks to understand that in the moral moment, there is no neutral in a moral moment. There [are] no bystanders. You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong or you are fighting against me.”
It is a powerful and rallying statement; one that might be said on a battlefield against an insidious enemy or a sermon decrying heresy. However, if you were to say that it was a speech from a Union general in the Civil War, or an American commander in the Second World War, or even a Puritan minister in Colonial New England, you would be wrong. The Henrian battle cry is from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and the evil he is speaking of are those who dare to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Senator Booker is right; there can be no neutrality, no indifference in the presence of evil; it is this truth that makes his statement so profoundly immoral, irresponsible, and impairing
The irony – or tragedy – of the progression of American government throughout the last century is that as power continued to move up through the layers of power, partisan divides have grown stronger. In a time when the Federal government has power previously undreamt of a century ago, partisan divisions are more potent. And not only are the partisan divides so poisonous, they are threatening because of how unthreatening the issues are. A perfect example would be labeling those who support a man of good reputation yet of a different opinion as “complicit of evil.”
This tactic might rally a die-hard, true believer base, but it sends a message of extremism to moderate independents and centrist Republicans who a wary of President Trump’s behavior and want a reasonable alternative. Unfortunately for them, their choices are appearing even slimmer than in 2016.
But the policy and political ramifications pale in comparison to how deplorable it is to make such comments. “Evil” is a term that should be used sparingly. If being ethical is the ultimate goal of the individual, to be evil is the ultimate failing. It transcends being immoral, a failure every person is guilty is of. Banality is failure so abominable that only people, entities, and crimes can be justified to hold that label.
The governments of China, North Korea, and Iran are evil. Terrorist groups ranging from ISIS to the Ku Klux Klan are evil. The infamous despots of the 20th century such as Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castor were all evil. Institutions such as slavery and human trafficking, and crimes like murder and rape are evil. Bret Kavanaugh is not evil. And most importantly, supporting his nomination to the Supreme Court does not make one complicit of evil.
By making those statements, Senator Booker is dehumanizing his political opponents – those who guilty of having a different opinion. It is not enough simply state why opposing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is good policy, Senator Booker crossed the line to stripping Kavanaugh and his supporters of their humanity.
The dehumanization of those of good nature but disagree will result in the end of civil discourse and the death of democracy.
As for Senator Booker, it is expected that he will make a White House run in either 2020 or beyond. For the good of civil society, let us hope that Senator is the highest office Mr. Booker will achieve. The White House already hosts one occupant who revels in immorality – it does not need another one.