Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Lifetime Appointment

“’If you still doubt her truthfulness, call her back, question her again. I am sure she would not object.’ ‘I – that – not –‘blustered Fudge, fiddling with the papers before him. ‘It’s – I want this over with today, Dumbledore!’ ‘But naturally, you would not care how many times you heard from a witness, if the alternative was a serious miscarriage of justice,’ said Dumbledore.” – J.K. Rowling

I am so angry.

But worse, I am so disappointed.

We have been asked time and time again to put our faith in a system that is broken, a system that favors only those who have already been grandfathered in. And who is that? Who are those favorites upon whom “fortune” smiles? The cohorts. The comrades. The fellow men who get away with saying what they please and acting how they please, all while giving a knowing smirk and secret wink to the fellow members of their club.

There were two possible scenarios here.

In scenario #1, Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick are liars and Judge Kavanaugh was viciously maligned during what should have been the most exciting point of his career: a Supreme Court nomination. In this scenario, while hearing the lies told against him, Judge Kavanaugh lost his temper. Was this a display of righteous indignation at being falsely accused? Righteous indignation would have been more than understandable for a falsely accused man.

In scenario #2, Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick are victims of sexual assault at the hands of Judge Kavanaugh, bringing these revelations to light before he can taint the highest court in the land with his depravity. In this scenario, Judge Kavanaugh lost his temper not in a pique of indignation, but in a full-blown temper tantrum because he had been caught out on the cusp of his achievement. A temper tantrum often results from being a victim of justice.

So which scenario is true?

There are some who say it doesn’t matter, that it was 35 years ago and what a person does at 17 doesn’t mean anything when they “grow up”. If this is true, then why do we sentence some 17 year olds to life in prison? Why must some 17 year olds register as sex offenders for life? It is because the choices people make will follow them through life.

Judge Kavanaugh’s demeanor during and reaction to questions leaves some heavy questions about his temperament. How able will he be to leave emotions out of the courtroom? Certainly, people are going to try to push his buttons, and from what we saw, it didn’t look that hard. He was not master and commander in there. He was a pissy little boy who was mad because someone was threatening to take away his toy. His were not the sophisticated rebuttals of an educated lawyer. It was a red-faced, spit-talking diatribe from a man who has never had to be a victim of anything in his life. And he did not like the way it tasted.

Make no mistake: his privilege shielded him in this. I know people are tired of that word. But consider this: did Dr. Ford have the privilege of losing her temper? Did she have the luxury of crying to release her emotions? No, she did not. Any semblance of credibility would have been destroyed. But Judge Kavanaugh cried. He yelled. He lost his temper on national television, and it was perfectly fine. He was not discounted. He was listened to.

It didn’t matter that his classmates came forward and said he lied under oath about his drinking. They were waved off as inessential. Because Judge Kavanaugh is in the club, and the women are not.

It was difficult for me, as a rape survivor, to watch them grill Dr. Ford. I can understand the holes in her memory. There are parts you don’t remember because the trauma itself is so large that it blots out smaller, less important details. While you may remember with disturbing clarity the attack itself, other things are gone. I don’t remember how I got home that night. I know I drove because my car was in the garage and my keys were in my purse. But I don’t remember it. I wouldn’t be able to swear to it under oath. I get it, Dr. Ford. So many of us get it.

At least Justice Thomas and the newly minted Justice Kavanaugh will have a lot to talk about in the cloakroom.