Last week, Americans watched their elected leaders in action, and it wasn't pretty. The Senate, deeply committed to the matter of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, was frantic. They'd expected a slam-dunk, but the process deteriorated into a quagmire of unanswered questions about Kavanaugh's fitness to serve.
Christine Blasey Ford's accusations were serious, and President Donald Trump's congressional fix-it squad was feeling extreme urgency to get Kavanaugh confirmed. After all, the ever-burgeoning salvos of lawsuits and criminal complaints against the president would eventually have to be faced, and Kavanaugh was the providential Trump-card.
Kavanaugh's background made him the perfect fit; he'd made statements that a sitting president can't be prosecuted and that a president does, indeed, have the right to pardon anyone, including himself. There was no doubt: Trump had found his man—one of unfailing Republican loyalties who would insulate the presidency from criminal and civil punishment.
But when Blasey Ford gave her sworn testimony to the Senate, that dream fell apart. Even some of the most dedicated partisans were visibly shaken by her account. She provided details—the date, the place and how a drunken Kavanaugh had climbed on top of her, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth. She had been afraid, humiliated and hurt. Those actions were seared into her memory for a lifetime. They became a frequent flashback of her waking moments and created anxiety and fear in the most intimate parts of her life.
Sincere and heartfelt, Blasey Ford made no attempts at drama. When asked what part of the rape attempt stood out most in her memory, she said it had been the uproarious laughing of Kavanaugh and his friend. Senators were stunned by the cruelty of that insult-to-injury add-on.
Then it was Kavanaugh's turn. He equivocated on every answer, often redirecting the same questions at those who questioned him. He asserted that he was never there; his own diary showed there were no parties that night, and he went on and on about how his own exemplary father had kept the same meticulous records. He acknowledged that Blasey Ford probably believed her own story, but that she had confused him with someone else.
Kavanaugh cried, turned red with anger, lost his cool and spouted a hateful tirade on how this accusation had destroyed his family's life. He blamed it all on partisan politics, showing himself to be no more than a spoiled, entitled, little frat-house brat who admonishes others every day of his life to take responsibility for their acts but is unable to accept his own guilt.
One would think that as a matter of procedure, the Senate would have insisted on a proper investigation. Instead, there were a number of rabid speeches by Republicans who couldn't seem to stop playing the blame game.
At a time when corporate heads are rolling, entertainment icons are being summarily axed and high officials are being dethroned over accusations of abuse, assault and inappropriate sexual behavior, Trump asked Congress to do the unthinkable: Confirm Kavanaugh—a known liar, lush and accused would-be rapist—as the high court's newest justice. Republican senators were determined to confirm him—not on his merits but by strict partisan loyalty. They chose to discredit the victim while overlooking the pathetic histrionics of a sniveling Ivy League brat.
But, voila! The GOP's plan was derailed by Jeff Flake and the single Perry-Mason moment that breached party lines. The formidable power of partisan mob rule had nearly prevailed, but moments in an elevator brought it to a dramatic end. Why? Because Americans have begun to understand the plight of women at the hands of predators, including the legal and emotional threats that face those who speak out. #MeToo is about education, empowerment, the freedom to fight back and the transformation of secret undeserved guilt into open dialogue and, ultimately, holding the perpetrators accountable.
Change comes slowly. A man who hasn't respected women probably never will; Trump certainly won't.
Republicans embraced Kavanaugh's theatrical words, but rejected everything Blasey Ford said. That's the very reason why few women have the stomach to speak out against sexual offenders; women know that such accusations open the floodgates to even more abuse, inquisitions into non-related personal experiences, public humiliation and the emotional trauma of reliving the event. In a real sense, Blasey Ford was subjected to the same "uproarious laughter" she endured so many years before.
Ironically, most of the Senate was aware that Kavanaugh was accused of lying under oath during his previous confirmation as a federal judge; they knew honesty wasn't his forte. Every one of those would-be yea-vote senators is a disgrace to our democracy, and Kavanaugh should be disbarred, impeached and removed from the federal bench.
We have the right, as Americans, to insist that our president, lawmakers and jurists are people of integrity—people who believe in our country and the inalienable rights of all its people. There's something seriously wrong when a nation's leaders believe that laws apply only to others, and that the elite are entitled to permanent legal immunity.
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