Mr. Kavanaugh Goes to Washington

Screenshot 2018-10-04 14.30.21Allysia Finley has an outstanding article in the October 4th, 2018 Wall Street Journal Opinion section titled, “Will the Senate Kill A Mockingbird?” It’s a great, point-by-point comparison of the treatment Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is receiving with Tom Robinson in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, my wife’s favorite book of fiction, and a favorite movie. I hope you can read the book or see the movie.

Here’s another film comparison: “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, the 1939 Frank Capra classic starring Jimmy Stewart. In this film Stewart plays the most decent of boy scout types, Jefferson Smith, who fills a United States Senate vacancy after the death of a sitting senator. His appointment is assumed MrSmithCoverto be a shrewd move by the state’s governor, thinking Smith will be easily manipulated to do the bidding of the state’s most corrupt and powerful lobbyist. He’s wrong.

Initially appearing naive and malleable, Smith proves to have the moral courage of a lion when he finds himself in the midst of a battle for power and money led by the states chief lobbyist. That lobbyist’s political machine includes Smith’s personal friend and mentor, the state’s senior senator. Stewart does a remarkable job of displaying the soul-crushing effect on a man whose benevolent view of the world has been ripped out from under him. Counseled by his secretary Smith launches a filibuster hoping to expose the corruption behind the bill that would place a dam in the same site he hoped to build a national boy’s camp. The filibuster scenes are some of the best of good, old fashioned Americana, displaying Smith’s guilelessness, wisdom, sincerity, innocence and desire to be a good neighbor to others.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. Consider it a salve to your soul and a reminder of better days. This movie is Capra at his best and though entirely predictable, who gets tired of seeing the lowly and good triumphing over the evil and powerful?

Brett Kavanaugh shares much in the way of comparison with Jefferson Smith, though no one with Kavanaugh’s political, judicial and academic backgrounds could be assumed to MrSmithbe naive. But he does have a youthful, boy scout type persona. And that clean cut reputation is affirmed by countless students, law clerks and colleagues. Though politics is a dirty business, who could have imagined the assault Kavanaugh would face by the abortion rights lobbyists and the Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee?

Like Jefferson Smith in the movie, Kavanaugh rose to his own defense when his opposition appeared to think he would simply allow himself to be tarred and feathered Kavanaughand run out of Washington. Thank God he didn’t go along.

The divisions in this country could be no more pointedly seen than in this murderous warfare on a decent man and his reputation. It seemed the Senate and American politics could sink no lower than when Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas sat before earlier Judiciary Committees for their Supreme Court nomination hearings; but it has.

Pray for Judge Kavanaugh and his family. Pray for Senators who appear to have no morality other than that of power, and who will one day give account to the Power above all Powers. Pray for this country, more divided than ever (1 Timothy 2:1-4). And pray that those who belong to Christ, the Light of the World, will appear as lights in these dark days:

Philippians 2:14   Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life…

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About Mike Halpin

Mike Halpin is an elder at Lion and Lamb Church in Topeka, KS (www.lionandlambchurch.com). He is spoiled by his delightful wife Cathie and blessed by his children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.
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One Response to Mr. Kavanaugh Goes to Washington

  1. Maggie Opperman says:

    Mike, so beautifully written.  I love that you offer the perspectives of both of those great movies.  I pray for our Nation, that we return to ONE nation UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL!  Maggie

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