On February 12, 1884, Teddy Roosevelt wrote a large ‘X’ in his diary followed by the words “The light has gone out of my life”. His wife died that day after giving birth a few days earlier. His mother had died a few hours before.

I spent yesterday marinating in what passes for political discourse these days and the abject hopelessness I have for any sort of change for the better. In fact I’m convinced that things will continue to get worse before they get better. I felt what remaining faith I had in this country’s institutions continue to vanish yesterday. The whole truth, justice and the American way thing that I grew up naively believing in. That evening Teddy’s diary entry popped into my head. And though perhaps a bit melodramatic, I signed out of Twitter for the evening with an X.

For what it’s worth, I’m a pretty strong believer in Occam’s razor. That is that the simplest solution tends to be the right one. In the case of Christine Blassey Ford’s accusation and Brett Kavanaugh’s denials it seems they both give every indication what they are saying is true. I’ve been through a few traumatic experiences and the details that she recollects as well as those she doesn’t are consistent with my own experiences. I can make you a sketch but I can’t draw a perfect picture. As for Kavanaugh, there’s not only a memory dimmed by alcohol and the passage of time, but if we assume that his teenage mind really didn’t think too much of it, then I can see where it wouldn’t have left an impression that was, to use Blassey Ford’s phrase, “indelible in the hippocampus”.

At least midway through Kavanaugh’s opening remarks this is where I stood. And then it all went off the rails when he attributed the whole mess as a political hit job as revenge on behalf of the Clintons. After going off the rails it continued on a bit before going over a cliff, crashing into a ravine, and bursting into flames after Lindsey Graham’s explosive accusations against the Democrats. As if there was only one party playing politics here. The hypocrisy was breathtaking and I couldn’t help but recall Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying in 2016: “One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.’” A proud moment when you’re doing it to the other side and a sham when you believe it’s being done to you. Lindsey Graham said he hoped that the American people see through this charade and a good many of us do. So please Senator Graham, spare us your righteous indignation.

After the hearing I popped onto Facebook where most of the people I follow have a decided tilt to the right and I suppose I shouldn’t have been terribly surprised at the way it was playing there. I repeatedly saw comments to the effect that the left had already made up their minds before the hearings got started. As if those on the other side had not. All throughout Dr. Blassey Ford’s testimony the @GOP Twitter feed was posting a continuous stream of tweets with the hashtag #IStandWithBrett. The GOP didn’t even bother with the appearance of considering anything she had to say.

While I concede the manner in which Dr. Blassey Ford’s accusation came to light contains some curiosities, it doesn’t diminish its importance. This is not someone steeped in the daily political intrigues of those that made a career of it in Washington, DC. She strikes me as sincere and I believe her when she says her motivations were out of a sense of civic obligation despite concerns that she “would just be jumping in front of a train that was just headed to where it was headed anyway”.

I believe she was silenced 36 years ago by Mr. Kavanaugh while looking for rescue from an onlooker. This time around it’s the Senate and the nation looking on but I don’t hold out much hope that the results will be any different…

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get into this specifics of yesterday’s hearing. This was supposed to be a post about factions and parties. I meant to mention things like Washington’s warning about the harmful effects of parties during his farewell address. And how it’s always been this way but today it’s turned up to eleven. How so many are less concerned with the truth and more concerned about which side is winning and which side is losing. I can tell you, we’re all losing.

Abraham Lincoln had this to say in his first inaugural address:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Now Lincoln is my favorite President. I used to treasure that statement. I believed it. Wholeheartedly. Despite the fact that he said this on the eve of a war that would go on to kill nearly 700,000 Americans and ended up with a hole in his head. Confronted as I am with the events of yesterday and all that’s gone on before, I have to confess I have my doubts in these better angels.