I'm 72 years old and I can remember six times I have gone beyond anger to pure outrage by actions of my government. I've had other less important grievances but these are the biggies. In every case, it has been the white male elite that has stoked that fury (in some cases, even the very same men!)
First, was the Vietnam War during my teens and 20's. I watched the death count grow higher and higher until it reached 58,000 of our people, not to mention the Vietnamese dead, and still, the egos of old men would not allow them to let go. They simply couldn't let losing a war (to a bunch of Gooks, by God!) be part of their legacy, no matter how many lives it cost (not only in death and physical scars but mental consequences. No one could ever explain why we were there. What was the rationale? They talked about Dominoes and Communists but what did it matter in the end? Even Nixon, who was elected on a promise to get us out of South East Asia, resisted actually doing it as long as he could.Those of us who resisted by whatever means possible were called a mob, just as Kavanaugh protesters are now. Even the men who went and fought and suffered imprisonment for years were not immune to being swift-boated like John Kerry and John McCain. Thank God for that mob or we'd probably still be there. (If you think that sounds unlikely, think of how long we've been in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
The second time I felt devastated by my government was during the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. I saw a calm, reasonable woman trashed, bashed, demeaned denigrated and humiliated by our white male leaders (Republicans and Democrats). Clarence Thomas was black himself but the American pecking order has always been white men, black men, then women. That male power structure must be defended at all costs. People like to call welfare recipients the collectors of entitlement but it is really these men who are the entitled in our society and they are damned well not going to let anyone stand in the way of their authority.
The third horror was the Clinton impeachment. I have always believed Newt and the boys meant to impeach Clinton from Day One. They launched an investigation that went on for over a year and looked under every rock for something, anything to nail him on and finally they found Monica and impeached him for what would have been the equivalent of jay-walking if it had been a traffic violation. As an extra bit of humiliation, they published it all on the internet so everyone could read the prurient details. Oh wait, they called that a public service. Of course, in today's Donald Trump world, we can't even know what is in the Kavanaugh FBI report - so much for transparency) Ken Starr and our new Justice Kavanaugh, partisan hacks both, have totally changed their minds about what constitutes an impeachable offense (although they both still claim they came to the right conclusions about Clinton's impeachment. Night after night, the Republican got on television and sadly told us how Clinton had debased the White House (which he did) and how "character counts" and how a president should be above reproach and how if Hillary had any self-respect she would leave him. Blah, Blah, Blah. All those beliefs have gone by the wayside, of course, now that the Assaulter-in-Chief sits in the Oval Office. And Melania is a steadfast and loyal First Lady, standing by her man, no matter how many indignities she's suffered because of his egregious behavior. In the end, impeachment failed but the damage was done. The Republicans proved that in their lust for power, they would try to claim the presidency in a partisan power grab. Ironically, both Newt Gingrich and their next Speaker, Bob Livonston, had to leave politics under a cloud of scandal, thought you never know it listening to Newt pontificate about right and wrong today).
The fourth convulsion of distrust America endured was Bush v. Gore in which the Supreme Court stepped in and in a partisan 5-4 decision handed the highest office in the land to George Bush. Not with any rational reasoning but just because they could. And, go figure, our own Brett Kavanaugh had a hand in this injustice as well. Even though Gore won the popular vote, Bush was our president, Once again, those of us who protested that decision were called a "mob". Republicans seem to love using that word for anyone who opposes them.
And Bush led to my next fit of outrage - the Iraq War. "Please," I begged in my blogs, "not again!" What was the purpose? Iraq had not attacked us. Saddam Hussein was as Trump would say "a bad dude" but hell, Kim Jung Un is a very, very bad dude and Trump "fell in love with him. (Trump's very own words.) We now know Bush and his bunch lied to convince us we needed to go to Iraq. Saddam never had weapons of mass destruction. Bush had a personal animus against him and so did Cheney due to the first Gulf War. Bush wanted to prove he was tougher than Daddy and if hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis had to die for that purpose, so be it. In the Iraq war we, as Americans, abandoned our long held principles - Abu Ghraib, extreme rendition, black sites, torture. Oh, and look, guess who was a big part of making all that acceptable. Why it Brett Kavanaugh. Geez, he's everywhere!
That brings us to today's travesty which is Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh himself. I watched these hearings, just as I had watched the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings all those years ago with a sense of deja vu. Here was the same self-controlled woman telling her story calmly. And here were the same male voices attacking her as "a little bit slutty and a little bit nutty". It was a farce from the start. They rented a hired gun female to questions her because they wanted to pretend to be respectful and they couldn't trust themselves. Of course, when they wanted to take back the stage to launch their hysterical attacks (think of the oh-so-hypocritical Lindsay Graham - who was once critical of Trump but is now his new best friend -attorney general, anyone?). Seriously, did anyone feel any suspense about how this would end? The Judicial Committee went a long to get along. No women on the Republican side of that committee because as Chuck Grassley said - "women just aren't willing to work that hard". Well, hell, we gotta' give'em a week to pretend were taking this seriously. "No problem, as long as we get it done before the midterms." Trump pretended as well to authorize a reopening of the FBI investigation - "but you can only question these people - not the polygrapher, not the other witnesses that might have backed up Dr. Ford's story or those who might have backed up Debbie Ramirez' story or those who were desperately trying to get through to the FBI to give statements they thought were relevant.
In the end, it happened exactly as I predicted it would from the beginning. The Republicans allowed a sham hearing of Kavanaugh and Ford; they allowed a sham delay: they allowed a sham investigation; they allowed Democrat ONE hour each to read the ONE 47-page report (sharing pages) and then they voted and made Kavanaugh a Supreme Court Justice as they always meant to do.
So all these things have, over time, made me question my government. Vietnam and Iraq made me doubt the sincerity of my leaders. Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill made me question the men who make our decisions in our representational form of government as a men only club. Impeachment made me question whether we should ever again expect any honor from the Republicans (so far, the answer is no). Bush v. Gore made me question the integrity of the Supreme Court. And the Kavanaugh hearings are all the other questions all rolled up into one, as well as faith that women will ever stick up for themselves and other women. Thank you, Senator Collins.
I always questioned Trump. I've always thought America was great, despite its obvious shortcomings in some areas. But maybe he's right. Maybe it isn't so great, after all.