Posted on September 28, 2018


Along with countless other people, I was glued to the TV yesterday, to watch the Senate hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh.  There were so many thoughts swirling around in my head throughout, that I thought I’d never be able to make sense of it enough to write anything. Yet here I am, writing something.

On the surface, the hearing was a she said/he said event. I know about that. I raised three kids and I’m a former teacher. He said/she said events, or any other version, are flawed. The parent, the teacher, the judge, the jury, will make a decision.  Most of those decisions are based on human fallibility, not on the discovery of some elusive “truth.”

Two people. One, the victim. Holding up her hand with fingers pressed together, hand slightly cupped.  We use hands like this to pray, to express supplication, to express fear.  The accused perpetrator. Holding up his hand upright, tensed, fingers splayed. We use a hand like this to defend, to attack, to deny.  Behind each, a lifetime of achievement. A profound knowledge that there is much at stake.

It would not have been even remotely possible for anyone, least of all the accused, to overtly challenge Ford’s story. Instead, the words “something happened” was repeated over and over and over. After awhile I lost count. “Something happened,” the nebulous description to cover an event that could have involved an unlimited number of possibilities.  Kavanaugh’s emotional words, “My ten-year old said we should pray for her,” were less the words of an astute and caring child than those of a religious adult talking about a fallen woman.

Ford and Kavanaugh were not the only ones with much at stake. The Senators, whether they were running for reelection or not, were there to represent their party’s best interests. We have long ago abandoned the notion of public service or compromise for the common good. We have, instead, learned how to express an outrage that overrides either of those.

Surrounding these two people were the Senators, pretty much entrenched in their personal committment to the paths they have already been on. I don’t know that anything said could have changed any of their preconceived verdicts.  Both Ford and Kavanaugh could have each recited favorite lullabies sung to them as children, and the result would have been the same.

The vote will be taken, and I believe it will align neatly along party lines. The result is that there will be three losers in the process. One is women. The message here is that you may, indeed, prevail against high-profile media figures or Congressmen. But there is a glass ceiling to justice. You will not prevail against a womanizing and demeaning President of the United States nor against his nominee to the Supreme Court.

The second loser is the judicial system. It will join the executive and legislative branches as being perceived of as being after their own interests, rather than the interests of the people.  We now know that the presumed Supreme Court Judge Kavanaugh believes that there is a Democratic plot behind all this, fueled by people who wanted Hillary Clinton to be President. This is the man, self-described as impartial and seeking only justice, who will be impacting the lives of countless others for decades to come.

The third is all of us. Whether you believe Ford or whether you believe Kavanaugh, you are probably outraged by a system that has, at its core, become oblivious to the people it purports to serve. And right now, in this toxic atmosphere in which we are forced to live, this may be the only thing we can agree on.