September 28, 2018

Why Kavanaugh Should Not Sit on the Supreme Court


Last night, I watched substantial portions of the Kavanaugh hearing with my eight-year-old son. I didn't plan it that way. Not our typical father-son bonding session. But I was watching everything on my phone in my room when he wandered in, full of curiosity. He first heard Ford's testimony. We had to pause it a few times, so I could explain some terminology that he hasn't had to worry about before. Thankfully, he's mature beyond his years and what followed was a meaningful discussion.

Through the eyes of an eight-year-old


After hearing from Ford. I asked him if he thought she was telling the truth. He quickly agreed. He said the tears gave it away.

Then I showed him portions of Kavanaugh's testimony. I asked him if he thought he was telling the truth. He thought so. But now he was less confident. Kavanaugh had tears, too. 

Turns out, tears are not an unbroken trail to truth.

One possibility that we discussed is that they were both telling what they thought was true. Maybe she incorrectly thought Kavanaugh was her attacker when it was someone else. Could she really be 100% sure? Or, maybe Kavanaugh was too drunk to remember the attack. Could he really be 100% sure?

Other possibilities involve more sinister characterizations of either Ford or Kavanaugh. Maybe we're too trusting, too slow to condemn, or just too naive, but my son and I both balked at such dark thoughts. 

Our conversation came to no clear resolution. I had a meeting to go to and he had a trip to an indoor playground ahead of him. Not that any amount of discussion could have clearly resolved what exactly happened between Ford and Kavanaugh decades ago, at least based on the current evidence.

Where I'm at


Though our conversation ended last night, an internal dialogue has continued for me much to my to-do list's chagrin. Rather than stew endlessly, I decided to write my thoughts as a form of therapy.

I don't have it all sorted out, but I no longer believe Kavanaugh should become a justice on the Supreme Court. 

Three reasons I want someone else

  1. Though I've suspended judgment about whether he actually assaulted Ford, the fact that such an assault is comfortably within the realm of possibility is concerning. He drank too early and he's admitted that he sometimes drank too much. He apparently lacked restraint at parties and did things that he says make him "cringe" now. His high school yearbook and college fraternity memberships suggest that he was possibly as obsessed with sex as he was with alcohol. Ford offered a compelling testimony that Kavanaugh got himself drunk and sexually assaulted her at a party. And she testified without anything to truly gain from the endeavor. Sure, Kavanaugh is a Republican and Ford is a Democrat who has given small (very small, we're talking double-digit donations) to support her party in some way. But all she's really gained by coming forward is death threats, relived trauma, and what must feel like near-suffocating attention. 
  2. Even if Kavanaugh did not sexually assault Ford (or anyone else), he does not seem to have come to terms with what appears to be a major and lifelong drinking problem. The way some former classmates at Yale responded to his testimony yesterday gives cause for pause. 
  3. There are more credible candidates for the job. And candidates who would be less polarizing. Doubt and polarization are not what our country needs. I urge our President to nominate, and our Senate to vet, a candidate that our children can have confidence in. If you're a staunch Republican, cast aside any "now or never" vibe. If the mid-term election comes first, let it come. Even if that election paints more of the Senate blue. Maintaining the integrity of black robes is that important.
I fully recognize that reasonable minds can disagree with me on this. 

So, let's talk reasonably if you see it another way.

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