Well yesterday was an ugly mess that showed the worst sides of both our society and species. I wish I could segue that into something trivial, some movie that came out or other incident that happened yesterday, but I can’t. I’m talking about the Kavanaugh hearings — His accuser’s account and personal testimony, as well as the subsequent defence of his own character.
Dr Ford answered questions from the committee for several hours, about an extremely traumatic moment in her life. She had previously submitted to a polygraph test, which she passed, and called for an FBI investigation in order to dig out more substantial evidence than two people talking to a room full of senators. Her answers were raw, honest and largely direct — only becoming evasive when details pertained to someone other than herself or Kavanaugh.
It’s not my place to be the judge on whether or not Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr Ford, but what was clear from her testimony yesterday is that this trauma is very real to her. Given that she is of a sound mind, holds a prestigious job and has nothing to gain from coming forward (and much to lose), I believe her version of events.
Another telling moment during Ford’s portion of the hearing was the fact that Republican senators would not speak to her directly, instead they hired an attorney to ask the questions for them. Think about that — ten ageing white men wouldn’t look a female victim in the eye to ask some important questions. Meanwhile, Democrats managed to talk to both Dr Ford and Kavanaugh for the allotted time.
Brilliantly, the attorney they hired (Rachel Mitchell) made it clear in her closing statement to Dr Ford that this is not a sufficient form of investigation, or a fair way of questioning a survivor of assault. This was likely in defence of her own reputation, but still, it was a touching moment.
No matter what happens today and in the coming weeks, I’m certain that Dr Ford’s bravery will have a positive impact on out society. My hope is that it encourages more people to come forward about historical sexual abuse, so we can continue to root out the real monsters of this world.
Of course, the overall message that will likely be sent is that you can testify about the person who sexually assaulted you, but that person will still be elected onto the highest court in the land — Which isn’t a message a country should be sending to its children.
Before I dissect some of the things Kavanaugh had to say, I want to say that I have no democratic issue with a Republican being sworn onto the supreme court. They have control of the senate, this is a democratic process. Even though they delayed Obama’s nomination in 2016 for even longer, so that Trump could name and the senate majority could appoint Neil Gorsuch, this is the game of democracy. Any “delaying tactics” that Democrats are guilty of, Republicans did the exact same thing eighteen months ago and they know it.
Yesterday afternoon Kavanaugh appeared before the committee and gave an emotional, pre-written statement. The statement was largely about his good character, in that he has attended a lot of reputable institutions and held high positions in society. It struck me as odd that this would be his defence against sexual assault. Friends and people I know who’ve been a victim of assault, have always been abused by someone in a position of power.
People who do a lot of good things are still capable of doing bad things. People aren’t morally black and white, every single person on this planet is a shade of grey. And yet Kavanaugh’s defence is that he’s pearly and glistening.
He refused a fact-finding investigation from an independent body, he refused a polygraph test. His friends won’t testify under oath, they simply sent in six-sentence letters. He became evasive during most, if not all, of the questioning carried out by Democratic senators and he grinned during the allotted five-minute interview sessions with each Republican senator.
In a “Veep” or “The Thick of It”, real-life political satire moment, he tried to claim that his yearbook entry about partaking in “The Devil’s Triangle” was a drinking game. What that actually refers to is having a threesome. I would’ve respected Kavanaugh more if he openly said that referred to a consensual threesome he had with X and X — but instead he stumbled through some lie about the meaning of a slang term.
I agree that we cannot legally and conclusively say that Kavanaugh attempted to rape Dr Ford when they were both in high school. Two testimonies in a hearing are not enough to prove anything, we all feel what we feel, but none of us beyond the people who were there truly know.
However, what this hearing proved (something that the American Barr Association agrees with as of this morning) is that Kavanaugh is not fit to serve on the highest court in the land. Even if we ignore the allegations against him, he showed that he’s volatile, hostile and extremely partisan. This is not the kind of person who should be sitting on the supreme court.
My wife pointed out that the number of times she’s become as passionate and angry as Kavanaugh spoke in some of his responses and she’s been told to “calm down” or to “smile more” are countless. When women behave the way Kavanaugh did they are branded as hysterical by Republican senators, and yet what they heard from Brett was an impassioned defence? Give me a break.
I think that Republicans should have their nomination, and have their man on the supreme court, it just clearly shouldn’t be Kavanaugh. In fact, if I were a Republican senator I would’ve cut my losses the moment the allegations surfaced and started to interview another candidate for the job, to swear him (Trump was never going to nominate a woman) in before November. Not that I want to give them any ideas on how to play the game properly.
Democrats are guilty of playing the game of democracy, by holding onto Dr Ford’s letter for two months before releasing it. Shame on them for that, sexual assault allegations should be addressed immediately and not used as delaying tactics.
Republicans are guilty of backing a man who has at least one credible accusation surrounding him, a man who refuses an independent investigation or lie-detector exam. Shame on them for continuing to openly support a man who is clearly unqualified, just for a win.
November is fast approaching and women won’t forget what happened yesterday. They won’t forget the image of ten grown men refusing to talk to a victim of sexual assault — That was a powerful statement, and a mistake on their part.
Brett Kavanaugh said something interesting in his opening statement, he said:
“This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country.”
No Brett, it will only dissuade those who’ve done morally reprehensible things in their past, and I’d say that’s a good thing.
For the love of equality, America and democracy — Please vote in November.
Today is Friday, September 28th and how old is Chuck Grassley? He kept getting people’s names wrong and saying contradictory statements.
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