Kavanaugh Chaos

rawpixel-1055781-unsplashNo way can I stay silent about a major cultural moment in our country, the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

His nomination was high stakes from the start. Trump chose a candidate that is likely to swing hard right, and could possibly serve to reverse Roe v Wade. In doing so Trump threw a bone to an Evangelical base hungry for reversal. Yes, the president has the authority and privilege to nominate a candidate of his choosing. However I admit I am skeptical of anything our Misogynist-in-Chief proposes.

It’s not that I’m a big fan of abortion. I’m not. I could never avail myself of that option. But I’ve seen enough abuse and control of women to know that the government has no role dictating what ought to happen to a woman’s body.

And bear with me here, it seems that Kavanaugh is no fan of women’s rights on the bench or off.

Republican senators had a game plan to slam this confirmation process through as quickly as possible. Their games included withholding significant reams of historical and background paperwork on Kavanaugh, and waiting until the eve of the confirmation hearings to release them, preventing their Senate peers from adequately preparing for the Q&A session. It was particularly ingenious of Republicans to be in position to say they provided full information on the candidate, even if it meant failing to provide adequate time to digest it.

And let’s not forget an early warning sign into the character of Brett Kavanaugh: Fred Guttenberg, father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victim Jamie Gutenberg, extended his hand to Kavanaugh in introduction at a lunch break during the hearings and upon hearing the man’s name, the judge turned his back to him without shaking his hand in return. The Republican public relations people brushed it off, claiming an “unidentified man” approached Kavanaugh, but you can clearly see on tape that Guttenberg introduces himself to the judge who then deliberately snubs the victim’s father. I haven’t forgotten this. Have you?

I try hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, I do, even if I don’t like them. I have professional experience judging actions and character. I worked many years as an auditor. My job involved gathering facts and sometimes investigating people accused of wrong-doing, to ultimately support an opinion one way or another. When facts point to something unusual or out of the ordinary, you dig further until you come to a fair conclusion. And if you don’t gather enough solid evidence to form a conclusion one way or another, you say so. In other words, I’m not a novice when it comes to judging people and situations. I have a couple of decades of experience under my belt.

That said, I support a real FBI investigation in light of these accusations. We should have had it going into Thursday’s hearing. And by this, I mean an FBI investigation that is reasonable and not limited or narrow in scope. The American people deserve due diligence in this matter.

I’m not really a political person either, but I can’t turn a blind eye to what’s going on in our country. My interest level in all things politics really heated up in the summer of 2016 and has been on high alert ever since. So given the crazy political climate we find ourselves in, I have been more keenly interested in this Supreme Court nominee than any in prior history. Frankly, I don’t like what I see.

As if it couldn’t happen – and I suspect we should get used to this – the crazy got dialed up not just a notch to full effect in this nomination process.

We all learned that Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers. Senator Dianne Feinstein was first provided this information since it was directly relevant to the nominee. She released this information after the confirmation hearings but before the vote.

Sure, the timing seemed designed for maximum negative impact. At first Ford wanted to remain anonymous but within the week she agreed to be revealed. Then she agreed to testify. Arguments and threats flew about whether she would, when she would, and the circumstances under which she would.

Finally she spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past Thursday. We learned she was a doctor, a professor of psychology no less. I missed part of her testimony but heard snippets as I drove the two hours home from a conference. I heard Kavanaugh’s appearance on the radio live. Once I got home, I watched huge parts of the interviews of both.

I found Dr. Ford to be credible. She clearly would have preferred to remain anonymous but she had the courage to testify in front of those senators on a world stage. It’s plausible for her to remember the bits and pieces she did and not other parts. She remained cordial throughout the entire process. Her life and that of her family has been turned upside down because she chose to share what she knew. She didn’t have to come forward but she did. Despite endless flack from people regarding her motives, it doesn’t appear to me that she was there for political gain nor do I consider her anyone’s pawn. I have sympathy for her pain. Bottom line, she was there because our senators are about to give lifetime judicial authority to a man who may not respect women’s rights on and off the bench, and it is important they know that.

You can criticize Senator Feinstein all you want for releasing this information in the first place, not to mention the timing of it. Sadly what comes around goes around. Republican senators have not been forthright and honorable in this process either. You play dirty politics, you get them in return.

In contrast, Kavanaugh’s performance on Thursday thoroughly surprised me. I can understand anger on his part, but to come out swinging wildly that this whole thing was orchestrated to smear him in revenge for the Clintons was the most surprising comment I could imagine him making. Here he is, nominated to serve as an impartial judge for the highest court in the land, and he readily played a partisan hand. Does he not understand he is still interviewing for the job?

All accusations aside, how on earth can this guy be expected to remain impartial at this point? He lost all credibility in that regard with his opening statement. No one coerced him into saying it. He volunteered this information.

And I agree with several others – had he been a woman who behaved that same way? They would have called him hysterical. Unhinged. And frankly, he was. But no one calls him that because he’s a man, subject to “understandable” pressure.

The double standard in our society is ridiculous.

He vehemently defended his innocence again and again. However, it seems Brett Kavanaugh had – and maybe still has – a drinking problem so severe that he has experienced memory loss. I suspect he has blacked out more than once and doesn’t remember what he did. I also think Brett Kavanaugh has a drinking problem so severe, he doesn’t realize how bad it actually is because so many in his social circle behave the same way.  Perhaps his friend and admitted alcoholic Mark Judge is the only one who cops to the problem. People who knew him at Yale are coming out to say he had a drinking problem and engaged in lewd behavior. True there are those who argue in favor of him.

I think America has a drinking problem it doesn’t want to admit.

The stories I heard of Kavanaugh’s high school and college life ring completely familiar to me. I was surrounded by binge drinkers.

For example, there are a couple of big dances each year in high school. Yes, this was over thirty years ago for me. I attended one of those senior dances with a friend who was also a classmate. There was an after party, and I had to drive my date’s car home afterward because he had passed out from too much drinking. It was his sister’s car and I was uncomfortable with driving her car the 1.5 hours home given the situation, but because I didn’t drink, it was the only option. I was the defacto designated driver. I’m certain my date doesn’t remember how he got home that day. I am certain it never even crosses his mind, whereas me driving home with him passed out on my shoulder was one of the only things I remember about the whole weekend.

Whether it was high school or college, there was no escaping the underage and binge drinking. I didn’t drink but pretty much every one of my classmates did…there was no getting around it. So while I could give a pass to those who did – because who on earth could I count as a friend if I shunned everyone who drank? – what I couldn’t tolerate was anyone who drank to the point where they no longer have control over what they’re doing. No good comes of that, ever.

And it’s not to say that I never drank. Once I graduated from college, had a job, and finally had money to go out (the latter being key), I did. And surprising to me, my work colleagues were even bigger binge drinkers than anyone I met in high school or college.

However never once did I black out or pass out and fail to remember the night before. But boy did I know people who did. I generally tried to avoid them. Again, no good comes of that, ever.

So back we are with this Brett Kavanaugh situation. Dr. Ford seemed completely credible in her testimony. Sure, it’s easy to forget some details and not others 30+ years later. Sure, Kavanaugh was vehement in his denial of committing sexual assault. I think he really believes that. But when questioned whether he ever blacked out from drinking too much, he evaded the question. He evaded a lot of direct questions. He even had the audacity to turn Senator Amy Klobuchar’s question around on her, and asked her whether she had ever blacked out from drinking! That was another completely stunning moment to me. If he didn’t build his own coffin with his opening statement, I thought that was the final nail.

His belligerent behavior in the interview chair, his insistence on answering questions with redirected facts to make him seem like a choirboy, his unhinged accusation in his opening statement, and his refusal to answer direct questions about his drinking all point to someone who is crafty, evading the truth, if not outright lying.

Do we have enough information to convict him of a crime? No. But do we have enough to turn him down for the job? Yes. He is not entitled to the job by virtue of being nominated. Ask Merrick Garland. Kavanaugh’s behavior Thursday was completely undignified. I can’t believe we would seriously consider him for a position on the Supreme Court at this juncture. I truly wonder whether our senators have a sense of decency and honor to latch onto in times like these.

Yes, I am going to bet that Kavanaugh has a bigger drinking problem than he realizes or is willing to admit, and he is capable of assault but doesn’t remember it because of the number of times his drinking was out of control and he blacked out. Whatever FBI investigation takes place needs full reign and time to go there and explore these possibilities.

This is a job interview for the highest court in the land. I personally believe there is enough troubling information about Kavanaugh to pass on him now. And for Senator Lindsey Graham to complain that this confirmation process is the most unethical thing he’s ever seen? I would remind him that Justice Merrick Garland wasn’t even given the courtesy of a review. That is unethical. 

Mostly I am extremely disappointed that our government has become the three-ring circus it has but we can expect no better from the Clown-in Chief contaminating the Oval Office. You reap what you sow.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Author: silonda

I'm not your average Midwestern American woman: an older mom to three kids and married to a musician, hiding out in a small town. I’ve worked as a serious business professional my entire adult life but my soul is really an artist. Wonderlust (i.e., insatiable curiosity) and wanderlust lead me to read voraciously and travel often. The introvert in me likes to quietly observe and share what I discover through writing but buried inside is a pretty funny chick full of spunk and verve who is eager to come out and play. Deep thinking and feeling (all the feels) is my default mode and then I'll crack a joke about it. I’m constantly striving to cultivate whatever makes for beautiful and to love UP.

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