Admittedly, I’m probably one of the worst people to write something now given the level of privilege with which I am typing. White privilege: check. Male privilege: activated. Clerical privilege: complete. Sipping a mocha in a mid-level-chain-style coffee shop: ready.
I represent, down to my ontology, the very worst of the patriarchy which, according to so many, must be destroyed.
But I was also on National Public Radio in August speaking out against some of my fellow white, male, clerics who hide claims of sexual abuse, intimidate victims or dissuade them from speaking out, and cultivate a culture of cover-up, distraction, downplaying, or promotion.
That said, I’m genuinely confused, and absolutely serious.
My main question is this: what in the actual is going on?
I do not understand first hand, as I have never been abused nor have I heard the direct testimony of someone who has been abused, the pain that must be associated with bringing an event like that out of the quiet of one’s heart and mind into the light, where it will be subject to scrutiny and, perhaps, disbelief. I also cannot think of a reason why someone would willingly come forward with an allegation, particularly an allegation with such public ramifications, if it were false.
On the other hand, I do not understand why Mr. Kavanaugh would stay in the process of confirmation if this allegation were true, given the plethora of extremely positive statements that have been made from friends and colleagues of every stage of his life regarding the quality of his character and his record of justice and integrity in his practice of law. If those things were true, surely he would recognize his hypocrisy in remaining in the process after he had been found publicly guilty of sexual misconduct or abuse.
I enjoyed the news coverage of the hearings this morning and afternoon. I did not enjoy the social media peanut gallery this morning and afternoon.
I give Dr. Ford a million pounds of credit for doing something that was clearly very taxing for her to do today. But I also give Mr. Kavanaugh a million pounds of credit for doing something that was clearly very taxing for him to do today.
Dr. Ford got a little choked up, but remained fairly stone-faced. Mr. Kavanaugh all but openly wept and definitely let his frustration be seen.
“Was that man acting like someone who is innocent? He’s awfully upset for someone who is supposedly right.”
“Could Dr. Ford have shown less emotion? Surely someone who was nearly raped would be more emotionally invested when testifying against her accuser in front of the entire world.”
Or, maybe, the entire world witnessed two people in extremely difficult situations handle themselves in very human ways.
I have been intrigued watching the hearings of now-Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Take a look:
He doesn’t explode like Mr. Kavanaugh, but he’s clearly mad. Does his firm tone and cold behavior indicate anything other than the fact that he’s a man who’s been run over, again and again? Thomas himself says, “the Supreme Court is not worth it.” But he did not withdraw.
What we seem to know for sure is that the Democrats had knowledge of these accusations from Dr. Ford for 20 days before they were brought into the light; All of the witnesses she names have denied either being at the party or of having any knowledge of the event; it was the wish of Dr. Ford not have these allegations in the open, not to fly to Washington to testify; it was the desire of Mr. Kavanaugh to have a hearing scheduled as soon as possible, even the very next day, but a hearing was delayed for 10 days.
My point is this: why do people seem to be so confident that they know Mr. Kavanaugh is guilty and that Dr. Ford is telling the truth? How do they know? That is a very serious question.
A reminder that in the United States, men and women and those in between, are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. The hearing room of the United States Senate is not a court of law, under oath they may be.
Those who do not believe Mr. Kavanaugh is innocent simply because he is a white, wealthy, successful man nominated for a significant establishment position by another white, wealthy, man who holds an office you still cannot believe you and yours do not hold, are doing no service to American ideals, this confirmation hearing, or public service in general by venting clearly biased and evidenceless hatred all over social media.
Those who do not believe that Dr. Ford is telling the truth simply because she is being represented by a party you don’t trust, whose platform you do not support, at a very crucial time in the history of law, politics, and public service of the United States, are doing no service to American ideals, this confirmation hearing, or public service in general by venting clearly biased and evidenceless hatred all over social media.
One Facebook friend wrote that they would be defriending anyone who might actually presume Mr. Kavanaugh is innocent. I certainly hope that this person is not friends with many faithful adherents to the American legal system because, if so, their news feed is about to become very quiet.