On the afternoon of Oct. 5, America stood at the edge of the abyss.
Standing behind her, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the lone senator who could “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's future.
Would she push America over the edge back to the Salem witch trials or would she pull her back to the centuries old precedent of “innocent until proven guilty?”
At a little after 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with activists in the Senate gallery shouting “vote no,” the senator took to the podium as an anxious nation waited.
Collins' voice and demeanor is not conducive to modern day politics, spotty and broken, her voice is anything but the 10-second sound bite and she can be difficult to listen to for more than a sentence or two, let alone the almost 45 minutes she spoke from the floor.
But what a 45 minutes it was. Slowly, surely, methodically she approached the dilemma caused when someone leaked the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford's accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years earlier.
For the previous three weeks, hysteria had gripped the country. The political left was whipped into frenzy with its allies in the cable and network news and the Beltway propaganda factories of The New York Times and Washington Post happily fanning the flames.
She opened: “Mr. President, the five previous times that I have come to the floor to explain my vote on the nomination of a justice to the United States Supreme Court, I have begun my floor remarks explaining my decision with a recognition of the solemn nature and the importance of the occasion.
"But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.”
She continued: “The president nominated Brett Kavanaugh on July 9. Within moments of that announcement, special interest groups raced to be the first to oppose him, including one organization that didn’t even bother to fill in the judge’s name on its pre-written press release.”
And followed: “Since that time, we have seen special interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimony at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines which, although debunked hours later, continue to live on and be spread through social media. Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination.”
From that opening she proceeded with a 4,000-word, step-by-step, fact-by-fact explanation of her reasoning.
Remove your political blinders and read the speech objectively and you see a serious, deliberative approach in the absolute best traditions of the U.S. Senate.
Elevating Judge Kavanaugh to Justice Kavanaugh is not a defeat for victims of sexual assault. It is not an attempt to silence the #MeToo movement. It is not turning a deaf ear to victims.
It is merely returning sanity to a process hijacked by the insanity of today's Democratic Party.
The idea of “innocent until proven guilty” goes as far back as the Babylonian King Hammurabi who reigned in the 17th century B.C. It would be refound over 1,500 years later in the Magna Carta as one of the pillars of Western civilization.
In a world outside the politically obsessed, Americans should be glad Kavanaugh is on the court. His history on the D.C. circuit alone speaks louder to his judicial temperament than a thousand “shame, shame, shame” screeds from the Senate gallery.
The justices on the Supreme Court confirmed since Bill Clinton have a Senate vote count of: Ginsburg 96, Breyer 87, Sotomayor 68 and Kagan 63, yet those nominated by Republicans are Roberts 78, Alito 58, Gorsuch 54 and Kavanaugh 50.
For all the hype about partisan politics, the facts speak for themselves. The Republicans have been more supportive of the deference to the president's choice than Democrats.
Yet tens of millions of Americans will never know that.
Because even though the left wing that controls today's Democratic Party is a minority of a minority, it has a virtual monopoly on the national television and mainstream print media that is more than willing to give them the appearance of a majority.
On Oct. 4, it was still a toss-up as to whether America would throw centuries of due process onto the ash heap of history.
On Oct. 5, Susan Collins made it clear that at least for now we would not.
The reprieve however is short. This November, America will again be at the brink. Will the Kavanaugh mob finally get its wish and accusations alone be allowed to convict, or will due process and the rule of law hold fast but one more time?
I pray for the latter, but should it be the former, then God help us all.
Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin. Email him at email@example.com.