On the EDge: It’s OK to be judgmental

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — One of the buzzwords from this whole Brett Kavanaugh nomination process is the word judgmental.

The criticism from the Republicans has been that the Democrats have been “too judgmental” in this case, before laying into a litany of “whataboutisms” that are ridiculous in scope, paradoxical in essence.

It’s interesting because conservatives, particularly those with evangelical leanings, have historically leaned heavily on being judgmental, until that is, one of their own is in the spotlight. Snap judgments, like olden-day curses, were spat out and used in an effort to crush progressives, but let one of their own get caught in a jam and it is an entirely different story.

The left has been reluctant until lately to cast judgments, particularly when it comes to personal behavior within their own ranks, which has been equally reprehensible, under the microscope. It has become a tool in the wide and nasty arsenal of political combat.

To put it bluntly, conservatives hate everything Clinton and Obama, and liberals hate everything Trump and McConnell.

So, the fact is, like it or not, we are all judgmental.

Whether through our culture, religion, politics or whatever else has worked its way into our DNA, we are judgmental beings.

It’s how we were raised and, quite frankly, if we did not make judgments, the world would be an even sorrier place.

Lately we have also heard the Scripture quote of “Judge not lest ye be judged” tossed about rather indignantly, but the reason behind the quote has been warped. It is a lesson in self-assessment rather than a proclamation that everybody gets a pass. It is advising us to look at ourselves and decide how we would wish to be judged before judging another.

As one of my esteemed spiritual gurus told me when I posed the question: “It’s been my experience that people who throw out ‘judge not lest ye be judged’ are the ones who don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

“Judging others without looking at our own behavior is a problem that Jesus spoke of when he said that people are quick to point out the speck in another’s eye while ignoring the log in their own.”

So, to blindly throw that line out there is not only inaccurate to the lesson intended but a fair bit of hypocrisy because the moment those words cross your lips, you are being judgmental without going within yourself to assess your own shortcomings.

Whatever the case, judgments are not necessarily wrong or the result of evil political machinations.

Made properly, they help us decipher right from wrong, make decisions, seek self-improvement. Judgments help us steer our course, set our moral compass.

We don’t always get it right, of course, but if you err on the side of truth, that’s OK.

The problems arise, however, when those influences on our judgments are less than honorable, which they are more frequently becoming.

They become twisted, warped when we allow our own agenda to interfere with truth.

We justify that which is comfortable or agreeable to us, but as we all know, the truth is often uncomfortable and doesn’t always conform to our own personal agendas, which, again we all have regardless of political, cultural or religious affiliations.

And, too often, we get into a point-counterpoint thing where if somebody is questioned about a specific behavior the supporters of the accused divert the subject by saying, “What about so and so who did such and such?”

It’s a dodge to justify bad behavior by somebody in your own camp instead of a moment of personal growth where we draw a line and say we will no longer tolerate bad behavior.

We can point at all the holes in a system that was betrayed during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.

Justice was not served on either side.

We all have our own opinions on this, but in those dark recesses of your brain, you must acknowledge that the system failed.

The greatest failure, of course, was in the Senate’s refusal to go public with the results of the FBI investigation. How can we, the people, stand behind a decision made by people who do not respect us enough to share information that could have a bearing on our court for the next 30 years?

Yes, before those contrarians who feel the need to grade every piece written for this publication point out that this is a judgment on my behalf save your breath, I concede. It is. But, it is a judgment made with reason. You want to knock a few points off for that, be my guest. Truth is, I couldn’t care less.

The point here is that we are about to make a lot of judgments and very soon.

We have an election coming up in a couple weeks.

If you are inclined to vote, and I can perfectly well understand why you might not be, make your judgments wisely.

It’s pretty clear as far as the candidates go. Those with an “R” behind their name will be swept into office and those with a “D” behind their name will go home empty-handed.

It’s simply the way it is here in Utah and it is not going to change, at least not in the foreseeable future.

But, there are important measures on the ballot that require careful consideration.

Think about them.

Don’t blindly take somebody’s recommendation.

Research the measures. These are issues that will impact many lives for many years.

You can always vote the bums out and elect new ones.

This other stuff is going to stick.

And, it will be important to all of us, so it requires thinking outside of ourselves and considering the needs of all, regardless of who they are, where they come from, their political affiliation or religious flavor.

Make those judgments, but please, make them based on your own deliberations, your own research, your own heart.

Otherwise, your vote, should you decide to cast it, is a sham.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • bikeandfish October 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Its good to see more honest assessment of the Kavanaugh hearing. The process and behavior by the committee was a symptom of a potentially fatal disease affecting our federal government. We need to be discussing that more thoroughly as a nation.

    I’m not sure the public needed access to the FBI immediately. It its classified in a way the public can view than it will come out from FOIA request soon enough. It being made public wouldn’t have affected senate votes so I’m not sure how it matters at the moment.

    I would say the biggest threat was to move forward with such haste and not properly vet all of the relevant Bush Era papers. Kavanaugh’s statements and record there could have had significant influence for his hearing and more importantly on how far he will side with government infringement on civil liberties. The hearing was a circus all around but now we have a justice that will influence civil liberties for decades.

    • Redbud October 11, 2018 at 6:25 am

      As a true American, I welcome the influence Kavanaugh will bring to the people. He will help with the greater vision of draining the swamp! He will support and protect our freedoms, and we should be thankful we have such a strong individual with a seat on the supreme court. MAGA!

      • bikeandfish October 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

        Wow, now we are differentiating between “true Americans” and calling for the deportation of political opposition.

        Just another example of the difference between patriotism (support for personal liberty, justice, etc) and hypernationalistic jingoism (your ideas). The reality is most Americans are “true Americans” no matter their religion, political views, etc. But Trump has started a warring class designed to make it seem like we can’t work together as average Americans. “Lock her up” went from Hillary, to Ford, to Feinstein and now is expanding to deport those who disagree. Those are not sane views of people who care about Constitutional democracies and republics. Those are the views of demogogues striving for authoritarian regimes.

      • Happy Commenter October 11, 2018 at 8:00 pm

        Kavanaugh “will support and protect our freedoms,” but not for b&f. B&f is in denial..

        • bikeandfish October 12, 2018 at 12:49 pm

          Once again, just fluff. Have you read his rulings? Read his publications? Read about his role in the Bush White House (can’t read documents from then yet as they are withheld from the public)?

          Just because he was a darling of the Federalist Society doesn’t mean he’ll protect civil liberties equally for all Americans. We know better from his public record, the groups that endorse him, and the records the are hiding. And if every citizen isn’t concerned about the epic infringement of the wireless wiretapping scandal of Bush and questioning Kavanaugh’s role in it then you don’t care about civil liberties. He believes in an expansive largely unchecked executive which is a danger to us all.

  • jaltair October 9, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    The biggest “threat” was actually Diane Feinstein not turning the complaint over for investigation when it was first received.

    Mr. Ed, “We don’t always get it right, of course, but if you err on the side of truth, that’s OK.” The problem is everyone believes their cause is based on truth.

    The whole Foundation of Western Civilization, the stability of our society is absolutely dependent on due process. If there is ANY truth, that IS the truth.

    May I suggest that people go over the history of the McCarthy era again or the internment of the Japanese Americans.

    • bikeandfish October 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

      I get the desire to reference those American events but you can see the not so subtle differences, right? Especially internment camps which targeted citizens solely for ethnicity/race?

      Even McCarthyism (to me the only remotely viable comparison of the two) was inverted to the hearing as it was someone in power trying to deny legitimacy to a broad swath of citizens via fear mongering while Ford’s claim was a citizen questioning an individual’s entitlement to the most coveted federal position in the US. Because ultimately she chose to send her letter to the senator, not the other way around.

  • Carpe Diem October 10, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Blah blah blah, now Hillary Clinton has literally called for civil unrest: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” the former presidential candidate told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday.”

    So just so that we are aware! In 2011: “Quoting an official Syrian source, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency Tuesday upbraided Clinton, who had criticized Syrian authorities Monday for not protecting the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus, which were attacked by demonstrators.

    Clinton said President al-Assad “has lost legitimacy” and wants to deflect attention from the government’s four-month crackdown on peaceful protesters.”


    I make the judgement this Hillary Clinton person is evil, and a scourge upon the Earth. I thank GOD she has been humiliated by Trump.

    • Redbud October 11, 2018 at 6:30 am

      Hillary would love to see our country at civil war. She is an absolute disgrace to our country, and a perfect example of what a human being shouldn’t be. All the libbys should be deported to their own country, and they can promote all the civil unrest they want. Let them kill each other over petty, stupid things.

      • Happy Commenter October 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

        They prove everyday that liberalism is a cult and the MSM is their god. I have never seen so many incognizant followers of fake news and unhinged behavior..

  • Happy Commenter October 10, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Liberals sure are a source (with no credible sources) of laughable entertainment! “No sad days!

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