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Kavanaugh, Blasey, and the Senate circus

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Chilling? Horrifying? I don’t know: what’s your word for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing last Thursday?

And now, the FBI is investigating the sexual-assault charge against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Sometime soon, presumably, we’ll learn whether they found anything incriminating.

Whatever they find, I can’t imagine it’ll be definitive. Kavanaugh won't reverse course and say he didn’t do what Christine Blasey Ford says he did. There was only one witness to the alleged assault: Kavanaugh’s high-school friend Mark Judge. And odds are, Judge will repeat to the FBI what he’s already said: he doesn’t remember.

Judge wrote a book, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” in which he described his frequent bouts of heavy drinking as a high school student – so heavy that getting through the next day was, in his words, “an Olympic event.” It wouldn’t be surprising if he couldn’t remember what happened when he was that drunk.

The FBI may find people who say they were at the party. But according to Blasey, no one else but Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh forced her onto a bed and held her down, grinding and groping. No one else saw Kavanaugh and Judge laughing, enjoying the spectacle.

So it’ll still be Kavanaugh’s word against Blasey’s. And the majority of the members of the US Senate – including some who have said they found Blasey’s testimony “credible” – seem likely to confirm Kavanaugh.
The result: Joining the Supreme Court will be a man who may have committed sexual assault as a teenager; who certainly did lie, exaggerate, and mislead in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee; and whose anger and stunning partisanship should disqualify him for that office.



He will be there because, faced with an accusation by a woman, a denial by a man, and no clear proof, a majority of US Senators will side with the man. Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn’t. Since we don’t know, we’ll take his word.

Because they do not get it. Despite all of the stories in the news, despite the evidence of how sexual assault affects victims, despite scientific evidence of trauma that stays with them for decades, the majority of US Senators do not get it. And judging from the words and actions of the Republican Senators sitting in that room on Thursday, they have no intention of trying to.

Brett Kavanaugh was right about one thing last week. That hearing was a circus, a macabre, nightmarish circus, complete with whip-cracking lion tamers strutting and preening and showing who was master.

The media photographs of a raging Kavanaugh captured it all. It was horrifying. A powerful Kavanaugh lashed out at people who dared deny him a Supreme Court seat: he who had been first in his class in school. And at the end of it, Republican Senators insisted that the committee proceed to a vote.

We have a serious, often deadly cultural problem. A desire for power infects far too many boys, at an early age, and a good bit of our culture encourages it. Add to that the country’s widespread misogyny, and the acceptance of women’s role as vehicles for men’s sexual gratification, and you have the abuse of girls and women that now frequently dominates the news. And a majority of the members of the United States Senate seem likely to confirm Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

That this is a partisan political issue, in this day and age, leaves me speechless.