I believe Senator Jeff Sessions is a decent man. This, of course, seems to be very different from what the mainstream media and the political left believe about him.
I don’t agree with Senator Sessions on everything. I didn’t support the candidate Sessions supported, nor do I agree with Sessions’ stances on immigration and criminal justice reform. But I’ve met him in person, and spoken with him about politics and life in Mobile, AL. He appeared to have a genuine interest in my life. From the few minutes we spoke, from what I know of him as a constituent, and from the many reports I’ve read about his career in recent weeks, I can deduce that he is a decent man committed to the law.
Regarding Sessions’ status as a man worthy of the position of Attorney General, or as a “racist,” or as a potential “threat to justice,” as Time dubbed him, I can only rely on other peoples’ experiences. Unfortunately, partisanship makes it extremely difficult to do this.
Day two of Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings for the position of Attorney General had a very strange dynamic. There were six men who testified. Three of them have interacted with Sessions on a national, congressional level, and were his political opponents. Two of the other men worked with Sessions in Alabama, and the third works in Sessions’ office.
It was apparent that Senator Cory Booker, Representative John Lewis, and Representative Cedric Richmond all held opinions that were informed in large part by a political narrative. Booker in particular tried to delegitimize Sessions by attacking his reluctance to support criminal justice reform. He argued that this made Sessions somehow less able to enforce laws already on the books. That makes little sense–Sessions wouldn’t have a legislative vote as AG, and he insisted over and over during his testimony that he will respect all laws, even those he doesn’t agree with. (Yes, that would include criminal justice reform.)
What was clear from the hearing is that partisanship blinds. It causes people to put on colored glasses, both literally and figuratively. It caused those who testified against Sessions to suggest that his nomination would somehow demolish America’s progress on civil rights.
However, partisanship has a bipartisan impact. It causes people like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham to defend Donald Trump at every single turn. It causes people like Dinesh D’Souza to undermine Rosa Parks’ heroic protest in an attempt to defend the president-elect.
In Sessions’ case, the tragedy of partisanship is that it has caused the left and right to see two completely different, conflicting realities. In doing so, our nation has ripped apart a man’s life and career. We can’t fix America’s issues if we can’t, at least to some degree, agree on whether a man does or doesn’t support the KKK.