Kavanutty: What the Nomination Says About Us


As I write this, we’re between the Senate hearings for the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination and hearings from him and Dr. Blasey Ford about a sexual assault which she claims happened while they were in high school. I don’t want to debate the merits of the case here because I don’t know their details yet. That’s actually my point: we haven’t heard from them yet. Nonetheless, we’ve split into multiple camps about the situation.

  1. Believes Dr. Blasey Ford enough to think there should be an investigation and that she and Kavanaugh should be heard from.
  2. Thinks this is an absurd scheme by the Democrats to disrupt the confirmation. The vote should happen as soon as possible.
  3. Doesn’t care whether the allegations are true or not, this was 35 years ago and people change.

I suppose there are two additional camps. One who believes that Judge Kavanaugh shouldn’t be confirmed because he’s accused. That doesn’t hold water for me because allegations need to be backed up. Another would be supportive of Kavanaugh but would rule him out if the allegations have enough believability behind them. I haven’t heard much from this group, however. That shocks me a bit.

With a little thought, we should all be in Camp 1. This is about justice and interpretation of laws at the highest level our country has. Tied up in that are a sense of national values. In a hyper-partisan environment where we’re so often wondering where a sense of working together went, we should want to hear her back up her story with details and him provide his version of events. That’s not happening in many cases, we’re pre-judging a would-be SCOTUS Judge based on our own biases. It’s extreme enough that she’s gotten the death threats she knew she would before she made the accusations (privately). And that says everything about us, not them.

I’ve already discounted those who’ve predetermined his guilt. Those who are claiming he’s innocent know no better that those who say he’s guilty. And those who say it doesn’t matter are missing two key points. First, you’re only considering him and not her. If it did actually happen and he did it, Judge Kavanaugh isn’t the only one involved. Dr. Blasey Ford has seen a psychiatrist ever since and feels uncomfortable being in rooms with only one way out. That much is true regardless of who perpetrated it. Saying it doesn’t matter is, quite frankly, crapping on victims. Not solely crapping on Dr. Blasey Ford, crapping on all victims of this type of crime who hold it inside them and struggle with self-worth. Remember Brock Turner? Weren’t we outraged? Was that just boys being boys? The judge who gave him 6 months instead of 14 years was recalled. I don’t recall anyone standing up for him. A judge has to take into account the victim.

And it’s saying that a Justice would be above that responsibility. The second factor is that if he did attack her, he’s lied about it numerous times and would be placing his ambition above his responsibility for the act. This is a lifetime appointment for a judge. We’re supposed to trust the court if there are liars on it? He’s already lied about his past, he’s not a golden standard regardless of how these allegations play out.

However, this is all backdrop. It’s a look into what we think when we make decisions about policies we back. It’s a mirror on our values. On the surface, this is about a few things. Is accusation credible? Should someone be judged later in life for what they did in high school? What’s our approach to believing someone who claims to be a victim of sexual assault? Do Democrats have a desperate plot to undermine the country? Those are mostly deep questions, but they’re also small. There are many conservative judges who could be submitted for the SCOTUS. Why Kavanaugh when he is a polarizing figure? Weren’t his friend Mark Judge’s books looked at in a vetting process? Those questions aren’t really being asked in the face of the surface-level ones.

This is almost entirely about abortion and Roe v Wade. I recently had an exchange with someone who denied it then admitted it. I’m still not sure if this was a blind spot for the person involved, if they thought I was a moron, or what. An anti-abortion stance is on the RNC’s website and there’s video of Trump doing a townhall during the campaign and saying that women who have abortions should be punished. This is the point where conversations go dead. Because it’s undeniable. Putting anti-abortion judges on the bench was a promise made during the Republican campaign.

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What we’re left with, especially after the Access Hollywood tape, payoffs to Trump’s former affairs, and the GOP backing of Roy Moore, is a party who will grant any number of mulligans for deplorable behavior in the quest to ban abortions. It’s an immoral bargain in the name of morality and I can’t for the life of me understand it. We wouldn’t tolerate it anywhere else in society, why are we excusing it in the executive office and potentially the Supreme Court? Where’s the nation’s moral compass? A woman’s right to choose is an issue which consistently has more Americans behind than against. That’s not to say that most Americans would use abortion, but that it should be accessible after thoughts about the implications and women’s health is considered.

Somehow we’re at a place where a religious-based issue for some supersedes First Amendment rights for others. My religion places the mother’s life first and doesn’t believe a fetus has a soul until after birth. While I may not agree with that in practice, why should one religion’s beliefs be more important than another’s? The combination of an anti-abortion stance, backing cheaters and accused rapists and pedophiles (Roy Moore was running for Senate and the Senate confirms SCOTUS positions), and shaming people who’ve lived their lives traumatized is an ugly picture. It’s not about family values. It’s not about making America great. It’s about imposing the will of a minority on the rest of the country and excusing what we all know is wrong to get there.

There’s more to be said here on Kavanaugh’s positions on executive power and privilege, but I’m going to leave those out. If you have an opinion about him, ask yourself why and where your values lie. What’s acceptable to you as a person, a parent, and/or an American? Not just about Kavanaugh, about yourself and your family. This isn’t a slippery slope, it’s a cliff the nation’s hanging on to the edge of.

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