I need to vent.
I realize I live in a bubble. On my campus and in my neighborhood, I just don’t encounter people like those who are dismissing the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh as “politically motivated,” or even worse, accepting their accuracy but dismissing their importance.
Senate Republicans have deliberately chosen to embrace Kellyanne Conway’s “alternate facts,” and the conspiracy theories so beloved by Donald Trump and to disregard their constitutional obligation to objectively review this nominee.
Speaking of conspiracy theories, the attacks on Dr. Ford have a lot in common with “birtherism.” To disbelieve her accusation, you need to believe that Ford knew years ago, when confiding in her therapist and her husband, that Kavanaugh would someday be a nominee to the Supreme Court, and so she carefully planted incriminating evidence. And Obama’s mother knew the day she had him that some day he’d run for President, so she sent his birth announcement from Kenya to the Hawaii newspapers…
We don’t yet know what similarly bizarre theories will be offered to rebut the additional accusations that have emerged, or to justify Kavanaugh’s clear disinterest in an FBI investigation which–if he isn’t lying through his teeth– would clear his name.
What we do know is that we live in a patriarchal culture that continues to devalue women and denigrate the significance of our experiences.
We also know that Senate Republicans are so frantic to “capture” the Supreme Court and protect their radically right-wing agenda, that they were willing to breach their constitutional duty to “advise and consent” in order to deny President Obama his choice of (a very moderate) Merrick Garland. As Trump’s “slam-dunk” choice has turned out to be not so slam-dunk, their dismay is understandable.
Their misogyny is not.
The Senate GOP found out about the newest allegations two days before they became public. Their response? An effort to speed up the confirmation vote–Not concern over determining the truth of the matter, nor hesitation about the consequences of elevating a person who might prove to be a liar and sexual predator to the highest court in the land.
The most striking aspect of GOP Senators’ reaction to each of these revelations has been their utter tone-deafness. Lindsey Graham says he’s willing to listen to Dr. Ford, but then adds “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?”
Other (white Christian male) Republican Senators have similarly pre-judged Kavanaugh’s behavior–after all, he was “only” 17. Ford was “confused.” Trump, of course, tweeted that if the incident had really been as bad as she described, she should have reported it then and there. (I may be wrong, but I don’t think any of the 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual assaults made a contemporaneous report…)
The overwhelming message coming from the GOP is: sexually assaulting a woman shouldn’t matter. It’s no big deal.
If it did happen, he was young. And white and privileged.
Of course, if it did happen–and logic and evidence strongly suggest that it did (she told her therapist years ago, has passed a lie detector test and has asked for an FBI investigation)–then Kavanaugh has clearly lied to the Senate. Surely that should matter.
Despite the Republicans’ ham-handed efforts to avoid the public relations mistakes made during the Anita Hill hearings, the message that America’s women are hearing loud and clear is that our testimony will always be discounted, our motives will always be impugned, and offenses against us will always be considered less important than the continued enjoyment of power and status by our male superiors.
Unfortunately for the GOP, however, and as much as they would clearly like to withdraw the franchise, we can–and will– vote.