The purpose of this post isn’t to convince you that Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to be a judge (let alone a Supreme Court justice) or that he attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford and has a pattern of sexual harassment. The last of these points hasn’t been investigated, which is unacceptable. The Ford allegation is extremely credible but can never be proved beyond a reasonable doubt — not that this is the standard for a Supreme Court job interview. His lack of fitness to be a judge seems clear to maybe 100-200 million people.
Some of the stuff I’m posting here may sway you on Kavanaugh’s nomination. But again, I have an even larger point in mind here.
Good people are living in fear.
I’m not talking about the fear that your high school boasting about threesomes and voracious drinking may be exposed. That can be addressed.
I’m talking about the fear that people who come forward with sexual assault accusations will be harassed to the point of having to leave their homes.
I’m talking about the fear that women will have to re-live their traumas over and over.
And I’m talking about the fear that the country is and will remain in the hands of liars and bullies who are basing their political positions on simple hatred of people who do not deserve it.
I grew up with a deep suspicion of Northern elite liberals. If you harbor that suspicion today, I understand. Such beliefs run deep in the South, where I grew up.
But when you get out and expand your social circles, either by moving farther north or just talking with people on Facebook (not Twitter, where everything is a slogan and people try to pounce on anything out of context), you see that these are good people. They’re hard-working. They’re driven by compassion for their fellow human beings.
A responsible conservative movement would simply serve as a bulwark against excess and fountain of alternative ideas. We need a diversity of honest voices. We haven’t had that in decades. Not since Newt Gingrich led the 1994 revolution based on the false notion that the economy was still in recession. (The reality: The Federal Reserve was desperately trying to hit the brakes.) This two-minute clip (keep watching to the final minute) is a perfect example of Gingrich’s approach to facts. (“Statistics may theoretically be right.”) He doesn’t believe in them. He’d rather reinforce people’s feelings, even if they’re wrong. (“As a political candidate, I’ll go with what people feel.”)
It’s no longer about truth. It’s feelings.
And to what end?
The Kavanaugh nomination isn’t an isolated incident. It’s a horrifying example of several disturbing trends.
Rule of the bully
Kavanaugh’s testimony was simple bullying. Nothing more. When asked about his drinking habits, an important line of questioning because (A) it establishes whether he could be completely out of mind and capable of sexual assault and (B) it demonstrates his capacity for lying, he either deflected (“I studied hard, I got into Yale (as a legacy, by the way), etc.”) or went on the attack (“I don’t know — have you?”)
And this behavior is simply a reflection of the president, who managed to turn the term “fake news” (which referred to stuff that was literally made up by Internet trolls, some but not all from Russia) into a pejorative for the media. You may not trust the media — in another rant, I may explain why you should — but where they err, it is indeed error, not fabrication. It’s also a president who has mocked a disabled reporter, cheered a politician who physically assaulted a reporter, talked about grabbing women by the p—-, and spends a remarkable amount of his presidency going to hate-mongering rallies as if he’s still running for president — which, indeed, is all he ever wanted to do.
It’s basically “Why don’t you stop hitting yourself?” on a national stage, with the presidency and the Supreme Court in the hands of people who don’t regret their high school misbehavior but either deny it or revel in it.
The death of truth
See Gingrich above.
See the denial of climate change.
And no, it’s not all Republicans. See the anti-vaccine movement, which has some right-wing adherents but certainly isn’t limited to the right. See my compilation of bullshit, some of it isn’t political. There’s a lot of crap in soccer, which simply underscores the point. And I’ve written before about how the trendy-lefty — to borrow my libertarian-ish father’s term — academic concept of postmodernism actually fed today’s truth-impaired reality.
Sure, politicians lie. They spin. Bill Clinton wagged his finger and said he didn’t have relations with Monica Lewinsky. (As we’ll see, that’s hardly the equivalent of Brett Kavanaugh, but “whataboutism” and false equivalents are part and parcel of dishonesty.)
But today, we’re seeing Trump say things that could be so easily refuted that you may wonder why he said them. The answer is that none of his “base” cares if he’s lying.
And now we’re seeing it with a Supreme Court nominee. Take a look.
Women are living in fear
The majority of sexual crimes don’t get reported. If you don’t know someone who has been sexually assaulted and is finding this period of American history terrifying, you need to expand your social circles.
This hearing just exemplifies the problem. It’s why people like Ford don’t report right away. This may be news to Lindsey Graham (or it might not be and he’s simply being dishonest), but it shouldn’t be news to you.
So we’re living in a world in which a guy can grope, jump on or even attempt to rape a woman — and the woman will not be taken seriously when she reports it.
You can’t be happy about this.
To some, this is all a means to an end. They want Roe v Wade overturned.
But we know what’ll happen. First of all, Roe might not be overturned at all. Second of all, if it is, the law will vary by state. Even IF there’s a federal law, which won’t happen because lawmakers wouldn’t dare alienate that many women (we think), Trump and his buddies can just fly their “in trouble” mistresses to another country and take care of the problem.
This isn’t about abortion. It’s about shame.
If you want to work against abortion, work for Plan B’s availability. Work for better child care so women won’t destroy their lives and bring children into a life in which they have little prospects.
So if you still support Kavanaugh …
I may not understand why. Perhaps you can explain one day. And maybe you can tell me why this needs to be rushed by the same party that wouldn’t even discuss Merrick Garland.
But I hope you understand why people are shaking with rage and sorrow. Good people who deserve better.
And I hope you understand that this isn’t a team sport. This isn’t about revenge for “liberals” — in fact, “liberals” are under attack from a new wave of leftists who are sick of Democrats putting up with utter nonsense. The Democratic Party will splinter in the next few years. Ideally, a new centrist party would spring up, giving the “reasonable” Republicans a place to unite with Democrats who can’t go as far left as younger voters want. We’ll have productive discussions between the “reasonable” people and the progressives — who raise good points of their own.
And then we’ll overcome the bullies at last. I hope you’ll reflect on what I’ve said here and join us, no matter what you think of what should happen over the next week.