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Dissent is a part of Democracy, Disrespect is Not.

It should be no surprise that I believe wholeheartedly, diplomacy belongs in democracy. I wrote an entire chapter entitled "Political Minutiae" in my first self-authored book "Peace belongs to Me" detailing the current state of affairs on politics in this country. So, in this Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, I was not surprised at the lack of decorum during the four-day hearing. Every news outlet and media platform describes succinctly the ridicule and defamation attempts on Judge Jackson's career. I understand the politics and the optics of opposing views. What I cannot comprehend is the blatant attempts to discredit an entire career that has surpassed every predecessor that currently sits on the Supreme Court.

Moreover, I think what I want to focus on is the fact that this myopia will not hinder nor deny Judge Jackson her rightful place at this point in her life and career. I believe Senator Cory Booker said it best when he noted to her "You have earned this spot, you are worthy, you are a great American". One might assume that's too preachy or symbolic even, and that may very well be true. It is also in the same breath, the reality of this situation. Comparatively speaking, there have been many historical moments that prevailed in the face of racism, bigotry, and other demented fabrics of this country. Judge Jackson will be no exception to this rule. She has managed this hearing adroitly, gracefully, and passionately. I would be shocked if the opposition wasn't trying to stop her at every turn. The presence of the adversary means there's something more powerful and transcendent taking place.

As we think about what the confirmation hearing was designed to do, and the complete departure it has taken from its rudimentary purpose, this should remind us that we've come extremely far as a country but we still have much ground to uncover and recover. The mere fact that Judge Jackson is a candidate speaks volumes within itself. Her physical being and saliently identity is literally a rebellion to the original thought leaders of this country. I think the overall message here is that opposition is inevitable, but that does not stop progression from happening. If we think about Senator Mitch McConnel's statement of dissent and why he plans not to vote for Judge Jackson, it becomes clear that as Americans we do not all think the same. We do not all have the same ideals of morals and ethics. Surely, we don't have the same paths towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Mitch McConnel is well within his rights to dissent just as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Pauli Murray, and other historic figures have proven that dissent is a part of democracy.

If we're angry about anything, let it be toward the continued partisan participation in disrespect and sub-par decorum. If we're to uphold the very democracy that we claim to love, we would treat its citizens with the respect they deserve. This means Judge Jackson, Justice Kavanaugh, and Justice Barrett (most recent appointees to the Supreme Court) all deserved respect in their hearings. According to both sides of the aisle, this seems to be the continued problem. Our country will learn quickly, that low blows, immaturity, and trivial questioning does not in fact strengthen our democracy. It creates more divide, more hostility, and dismantles relationships. You'll hear twitter commentary and political commentators exhaust this whole notion of propaganda, but are actually willing participants in contributing to misinformation, exaggeration, and "fake news" as 45 would call it.

My concluding thought is that dissent is a healthy part of democracy, disrespect is not. Once our leaders can begin to show their opposition with true decency and the character that should be displayed, that is the beginning of real conversations. I'll save performative politics for another discussion. Talk soon.

Jade M. Felder

Lifelong Learning; Spiritually, Intellectually, and Emotionally.

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