The Pursuit of Happiness


Since the George W. Bush administration at least 100 strangers have approached me and said, “You look just like Dick Cheney!” Fast forward to 2015, and up to right now, more than 100 strangers have sauntered over to say, “You look just like Bernie Sanders!”

Both groups are comprised of friendly and laughing folks who act like they’ve paid me a compliment. I nod cordially in return but admit to some confusion. I think I look like Sam Elliott, minus the mustache of course. What do they see that draws them to such erroneous conclusions?

I suppose it’s a matter of perception. People look at me, smell me, feel me, and translate these sensory impressions into what they think is a coherent and unified view of who I am and what I think. The Cheney crowd lustily applauds our government’s shrewd and profitable management of the Industrial Military Complex and are confounded when I don’t join in the revelry. Conversely, Bernie Bros get a little snippy when I suggest people should know how to read and write before they’re admitted to Medical School. Both groups are discomforted to learn their perceptions about me have been based on incomplete and unreliable information – assumptions – rather than on facts.

Perceptions and assumptions, and few facts have ruled the nomination process of Brett Kavanaugh. One fact is that we have Democrats to thank that only 51 votes, rather than 60, is required to end a filibuster. This “nuclear option” was an exception to regular order and tradition that has allowed Republicans to eliminate the 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court nominees. That’s why Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court, and why Brett Kavanaugh hasn’t been sent packing.

Another fact is the Senate Judiciary Committee has, on the whole, looked and behaved like insects scrambling under an overturned rock. They’ve juddered, twitched, and spasmed to no particular end and for no purpose other than to debase and embarrass themselves. Like the Austrian Army of 1788, they attacked themselves and, if they didn’t kill 10,000 of their own soldiers, they did lose all dignity, integrity and presumption of fairness.