Friday, September 28, 2018

Different Realities

It is nothing short of incredible how different groups of people can view the same proceedings and come away with such diametrically opposed convictions.

Either Brett Kavanaugh is an innocent victim of multiple grotesque, baseless accusations and character smears, infuriated at the way he's been treated...or he's an entitled, misogynist monster whose immature temper tantrums are unbecoming a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Of course, nearly every viewer of the mess that unfolded yesterday had made up their minds long ago one way or the other, and so everything they saw and heard merely reinforced their beliefs. This regrettably includes the senators who, barring something truly extraordinary, will vote to confirm Kavanaugh this morning.

I'll tell you one thing: if Dr. Ford had behaved anything like Mr. Kavanaugh did, she'd be branded a hysterical,  vindictive and conniving bitch. We expect women to be what Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford yesterday: "pleasing" and "attractive". (Given the context, that's just creepy, isn't it?)

It's impossible, the conflicting demands men place on women. If they're emotional, they're weak and overreacting (ovary-acting?) If they're stoic and stern, they're frigid.  How do you walk that line? The same way you walk the "be available for sex, or you're a prude/but not too much, or you're a slut" line.

Kavanaugh will be confirmed. I'll lay money on it. He's far, far too important to Trump for even proven allegations of rape to derail him, and let's face it: Ford could have produced a Betamax videotape of Brett Kavanaugh holding her down and trying to rip her clothes off and Republicans would tell you it was doctored. Democrat baby killers and their dark magic.

Kavanaugh's important to Trump three ways. Firstly, of course, there's the ultra-conservative voice on the Supreme Court. Conservatives have already proven they don't give a flying fart what Trump does so long as he stacks the court in their favour. But more critically, Kavanaugh -- virtually alone among judges -- believes sitting presidents can not be indicted. AND SCOTUS is slated to hear a case next month -- Gamble vs. the United States -- in which Republicans are seeking to close a double jeopardy loophole. Put simply, as things stand now, Trump could wiggle out of all his federal issues only to have individual states try him. That could change next month, and will, if Trump and his boy Brett have anything to say about it.

I believe Ford, as I have said numerous times. I'll admit my own political sensibilities may be clouding my vision -- I find Kavanaugh's politics odious -- but for all the inconsistencies in Ford's story...inconsistencies that are very consistent with how trauma affects memory...there are plenty in Kavanaugh's. He claims never to have drank to excess, but is a member of something charming called the "100 Keg Club); he claims to have been a virgin until well after high school, but called himself something even more charming, a "Renate Alumnus". He produced a calendar in his own defence, which Democrats leapt all over -- "who keeps that stuff for almost 40 years?" I, myself, Ken Breadner, still have daily diaries for the years 1988-1990, so I'd be careful with that line of reasoning. But Kavanaugh's yearbooks tell a different tale...the football star loved to party and loved to drink. And his best friend and alleged wingman was Mark Judge, a hard-livin' Lothario. Hard not to judge a man by the company he kept.

And yes, I'm sure you're thinking to yourself that what happened in high school should be irrelevant to a man who, by all accounts, is reasonably upstanding at this point in time.

I disagree. For one thing, there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in Maryland, where Georgetown Prep is located. For another, this is not just any man, this is a potential Supreme Court Justice. His character should be impeccable. We didn't go through this with Neil Gorsuch. But then, Neil Gorsuch doesn't seem to believe sitting presidents are above the law.

Speaking to the rampant whataboutism I've seen: yes, I believe Bill Clinton was a serial rapist. Yes, I despise his wife's campaigns to discredit his abusers. It's one of about three dozen reasons I could never have voted for Hillary. Assault is assault whether it's committed by a Republican or a Democrat. None of this, of course, has any bearing on Kavanaugh.

In the bitter reality we inhabit, Kavanaugh's going to get confirmed. The only positive that can come of this is to encourage that blue wave we keep hearing about. The sooner this administration has some real checks on it, the better. The sooner this administration is turfed entirely, with most of it rotting in jail, the better as far as I'm concerned.

This isn't anti-conservative animus I'm speaking from. I have no problem with principled, reasoned conservatives -- in a few ways I am one myself. But the cult surrounding Trump is neither principled nor reasoned. It's about to elevate a man with a very dark cloud hanging over him to the Supreme Court, where...for the rest of his life...he's poised to destroy women's rights and affirm the personhood of corporations.

Different realities. I wish I lived in one.

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