John Colson: Kavanaugh lied, and he is not fit to serve
Hit & Run
Tired of hearing and reading about Brett Kavanaugh and his Republican apologists, co-conspirators, etc.?
Well, that’s all right, I understand, but I’ve got a few things to say about the ongoing scandals surrounding the latest nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, so pull up a chair.
There is so much that was absolutely wrong about last week’s “hearing” into the charges of sexual assault and misconduct, brought by Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who says Kavanaugh tried to rape her in 1982, when he was 17 or 18 years old and she was 15.
The hearing, I must say, was nothing but an attempt by the Republican leadership to whitewash their pet nominee, nastily discredit the woman who dared to accuse him and mislead the American electorate with deceit and disinformation.
Between the committee members’ obvious anti-Ford bias, the refusal to interview and investigate similar claims by other women, and the members’ unconcealed glee at getting to put another right-wing hardliner on the high court, it’s hard to figure out exactly how to analyze this mess in a column.
But here goes:
First off, I have to say that I am one of the millions of U.S. television viewers who was convinced that Christine Blasey Ford told the truth, or as much as she could recall of the truth, in that joke of a hearing. She did this despite being condescended to by Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee who hosted the circus, and getting contemptuous treatment by many of the Republican senators who questioned her tale.
They repeatedly asked, with incredulity and derision in their voices and evident on their faces, why it took her more than 35 years to come forward with her story. Well, the answers are many, but chief among them are embarrassment, fear of retaliation by a powerful and clearly vindictive man, and the unfortunate cultural disinclination to believe women who report sexual misconduct by leading cultural figures.
As has been attested to by an unknown number of women survivors of sexual assault since the Sept. 27 hearing, many such survivors experience severe reluctance in reporting such encounters, and many have lived with the horrific memories for decades before telling anyone.
Up next in my list of black marks against Kavanaugh is his attempt to paint himself as a man who has made his place in the world by “working (his) ass off.” Well, maybe, but it sure didn’t hurt his application to Yale that he was from a rich family (only the wealthy could easily afford the $50K tuition of Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh’s high school) and that his grandfather was a Yale alumnus, thereby giving him “legacy” status in the admissions office (look it up, it’s all out there on the internet).
Then there was Kavanaugh’s demeanor when testifying to the committee — all outrage and hurt feelings, colored by occasional partisan attacks on some supposed conspiracy among Democrats, and specifically involving Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose own lives were dragged through the mud back in the 1990s when Kavanaugh served as an investigator for Ken Starr in the Whitewater and Lewinsky affairs.
His demeanor at the hearing was calculated to play to those who already believe him (who happened to include the majority members on the Judiciary Committee) and vomit molten bile and abuse toward those who had the temerity to accuse him of impropriety as well as their supporters.
To my way of thinking, he failed magnificently. His facial tics did not play well on TV, his outrage reflected guilt more than innocence and his partisanship was on full display. Hardly the image of someone who is qualified to spend the rest of his life sitting on the highest court of the land.
His reference to the Clintons in his sputtering denial of wrongdoing was the most unexpected part of his diatribe. I find it instructive to recall that Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was between two consenting adults (she, in fact, pursued him through the halls of the White House, as much as he relished the pursuit and responded in kind).
Kavanaugh’s behavior toward Blasey Ford, on the other hand, was abusive, domineering and utterly without his victim’s consent. And this kind of behavior seems to have been in keeping with prevailing attitudes among his cohort of privileged, arrogant scions of the nation’s wealthiest families.
Too many of these sons of privilege are schooled from birth in the belief that they are the chosen elite, that they can get away with a horrific array of bad behavior without any real consequences, and that they deserve the highest political and financial posts in the land because, well, they just deserve it.
To them I feel justified in noting that the bandage has been ripped off this particular scab, and the consequences have been paraded before a national audience.
Kavanaugh, I believe, has lied under oath, which is an impeachable offense that should get him thrown off the federal bench he now sits on. He has behaved like an undisciplined, spoiled brat on the national stage and like an entitled sexual marauder in his youth, which should disqualify him from service on the high court.
The ball is now in the FBI’s court, and I can only hope that presidential pressure, not to mention cultural bias in our male-oriented world, will not result in yet another attempted whitewash of Kavanaugh’s bad behavior.
And before I sign off, I want to repeat what I’ve been writing and saying to all and sundry — the upcoming midterm elections, on Nov. 6, are more important than most elections in the past. So when your ballot comes in the mail, or when the big day rolls around, please do your civic duty and vote.
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