After the flap over Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s unflattering remarks about Donald Trump, I thought we had laid to rest the illusion that people, including justices, are impartial. Certainly, Sandra Day O’Conner wasn’t impartial in 2000 when she decried that Al Gore seemed to be headed for the White House, then validated her opinion with her partisan decision in Bush vs. Gore. And no one would accuse Justice Antonin Scalia of impartiality when he refused to recuse himself in a case affecting the interests of his hunting buddy, Dick Cheney. (“Ginsberg,” The Week, July 20, 2016 pg. 6.)
The expectation of impartiality was recently applied to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former head of the Democratic National Committee. (DNC) When Wikileaks dumped thousands of hacked emails from her offices, a vindicated Bernie Sanders told ABC News (Yahoo.com 7/25/16), 1 “I told you a long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton.” Unfortunately, his campaign manager spoke to the contrary in one of those emails, thanking the DNC for its cooperation: “By and large the people in the DNC have been good to us!”
That Sanders chooses to expand his animus beyond Wasserman Schulz to include the entire DNC is a matter for his conscience, but why should anyone be surprised about the bias? Sanders is newly arrived as a Democrat. Hillary Clinton has been its foot soldier for years. We humans are tribal and our loyalties lie with members of our clan. What surprised me when I looked at 200 of these emails was how little bias seemed to exist. Franklin Foer of Slate calls the emails, “banal gripes and mutterings.” Jeffery Tobin in NewYorker.com agrees, having found no “dark conspiracies,” but people spouting off in harmless office chatter. (“Signs point to Russia in damaging DNC Leak,” The Week, Aug. 5, 2016, pg. 5.)
Still, idealists are unwilling to see the emails as harmless. Whether they be Tea Party members or red-eyed progressives, they are uncompromising in their demand for perfection. One Sanders supporter affirmed she would never vote for Hillary Clinton, as if Hillary were a part of this bickering. To do so, she insisted, would betray all Bernie Sanders fought for. Apparently, Sanders feels no sense of betrayal when he urges his supporters to heal the party and preserve the hard won goals now part of the DNC platform. Not to support him or, more accurately, not to support his ideas, lacks reason.
Frankly, among these purists, I sense a few zealots who are willing to see the country brought to its knees in the apocalyptic fires of a Trump election. Like Vladimir Lenin, they would destroy the nation in order to rebuild it. This longing for Armageddon is dangerous and near to insanity. Sanders supporters would be wise to think twice before being seduced by that siren song.