Kavanaugh's daughters should not have to watch their dad being bullied -- When is all of this going to stop?

Tuesday’s opening day of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee devolved into chicanery and chaos, as a litany of hecklers repeatedly interrupted speakers.

The atmosphere became so heated that Ashley Kavanaugh, the judge’s wife, was forced to escort her visibly upset daughters – 13-year-old Margaret and 10-year-old Liza –from the hearing room.

Is this what we’ve become?

When the children of a Supreme Court nominee are forced to witness members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and public attendees berate and belittle their father – and dishonestly call his character into question – it’s obvious that civility and respect are in short supply.

From Supreme Court hearings to bakeries and burger joints, can we not respect the dignity of people with whom we may have significant disagreements?

Kavanaugh is clearly a good man who is deeply committed to his family, his church and his career. He should of course be subject to questioning from senators at his confirmation hearing. But he should not be eviscerated on national television.

Regrettably, what we saw unfold at the first day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing scheduled to continue through Friday is a microcosm of a broader strategy used by some people to harass, intimidate and shame people who hold opposing views.

It’s one thing to oppose the nomination of a Supreme Court nominee. But it’s another thing to say that a vote for Kavanaugh is tantamount to being “complicit in evil” – which is precisely what Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., said in the days leading up to the hearing.

It’s one thing to disagree with In-N-Out Burger donating to Republican candidates. But it’s another thing to call for a boycott of the restaurant chain – which is what California Democratic Party official Eric Bauman did last week. (Never mind that In-N-Out also donated to Democratic candidates.)

Sadly, decorum and civility in political life have become increasingly rare. And both politicians and pundits have resorted to cheap theatrics and the tactics of schoolyard bullies.

I find it ironic that many of the same people who praised the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for his good manners and overall decency have no problem with the nasty tone surrounding Tuesday’s hearing. In fact, many are contributing to it.

Fair-minded opposition is a hallmark of this country, but there is nothing fair about besmirching a person’s character simply because you disagree with him or her.

When is all of this going to stop?

Is this really how we want to live and treat one another? Surely it is not.

From Supreme Court hearings to bakeries and burger joints, can we not respect the dignity of people with whom we may have significant disagreements?

My friend Dr. Tim Keller, the former senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, once said the reason the melting pot of New York City has worked so well is that people there haven’t gone out of their way to stick their fingers in the eyes of people of other traditions.

As a father, my heart aches for Judge Kavanaugh’s daughters. But I’m also proud that Ashley Kavanaugh had the good sense to remove the couple’s daughters and limit their exposure to such vulgarity.

In the end, it would appear that both Kavanaugh and his wife are blessed with good judicial temperaments.