The witches of Bushwick

The witches of Bushwick are not resolved that Justice Kavanaugh has erroneous views about constitutional interpretation — they are resolved that he must suffer.

Suffering was the secondary aim of the smear campaign launched against Kavanaugh by Senator Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats during his confirmation hearing: If the primary objective (defeating Kavanaugh’s nomination and delaying another until Democrats are in a better position in Congress) could not be accomplished, then at least the Democrats could pursue the secondary objective: using any means necessary, magical or otherwise, to inflict suffering on Kavanaugh — and on his wife, on his children, on his friends and colleagues — as a warning to future nominees, a strong disincentive for leading legal minds to forgo the relative ease and affluence of a top-flight legal career for the relatively low pay, drudgery — and, now, obligatory and systematic slander — of public service.

There are decent people acting in good faith on different sides of many political issues, from abortion (difficult as that is to concede) to tax policy. Emotionally healthy adults do not wish to inflict suffering on people over political disagreements. Emotionally healthy adults are not so bewitched by partisanship that they engage in what the nice bookstore ladies in Brooklyn are engaged in here, which is the 21st-century progressive version of a cross-burning — a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo piled on top of a sentiment that could easily be communicated in three little words: “I Hate You.”