Two sides of a story aid in giving a greater picture.
So sure, Brett Kavanaugh can likely be amiable to his in-crowd and among colleagues and maybe even among pets (I don’t know the guy so I can’t testify).
But congrats, you’re at baseline./ The life journey is easier if you’re not widely known as a dick. It’s even better if you’re thought of all around as of sterling mettle. Not a dissenter in the crowd.
But baseline is not enough.
That’s What She Said
All the analysis of the downsides to Christine Blasey Ford coming forth are well explicated in the public discourse and supported by the acknowledgement of psychology, trauma research, memory science, etc. I don’t need to go into that. And others have testified to knowing her story well before this nomination.
Then there are all the testaments to her sincerity, which I myself witnessed on the live feed, so no need for my dwelling on this important wounded heroine, this sad character witness, this courageous person.
Except to say that her testimony provides a fuller picture of the man. And that she is an exceptional American woman (I was wowed by her command of brain science).
Choir Boy Cum Pal
On his side, many of his friends laud and praise Kavanaugh, painting a glowing picture of the man. And that’s fine for what it’s worth.
But they don’t know the whole Brett. We’d all, any of us, need lots of perspectives for anyone to have a fuller picture of who we are. Kavanaugh, too. That’s why folks testify or speak up from any and all sides.
Hence his other intimates who attest that yes, he was a falling down drunk and he’s just plain lying about it. Under oath. While trying to get a job where lying is the most verboten thing before the court. Not all of, but akin to, false testimony.
All this provides a fuller picture. And marks the context for fairness under law. This is our country. He would be our judge,.==
We heard him. For the record. And this is one heckuva important office he’s been nominated to.
And what did we hear?
For me from that early moment when Kavanaugh’s anger drove the riddled content of his written reflection, his testimony, I knew definitively that he didn’t have the stature or grace for that bench. Maybe not even the law chops given his willingness to bend law to suit his own purposes. For example, lying under oath. And dissembling.
I analyzed his merits based on that; not on Ford, but not disregarding Ford. She spoke up for the horror women often go through in sexual assaults when she could gain nothing from it and he judged that her only purpose in doing so was to work in cahoots with his opposition to “ruin him.” It’s pretty much the same as saying she’s a hired gun actress.
Even if his anger is explained as a mask over shame and loss, it has no place among the cool-in-crisis in whom, God forbid, our nation might have to confidently seek counsel at grave moments in future history. We’ve gotta know that those jurists, the men and women before us, have a touch of the noble. We want to sense an incorruptible character, and one steady at the wheel.
And yes, there’s room for reasonable flaws.
But it’s an unreasonable flaw for Kavanaugh to have chosen such bitter and rancid claw snapping as he leveled his tirade of lingering injuries against his questioners and cannondaded them with counter-accusations. Doing that on that day in that room at that moment kind of wipes out a whole string of moments driven by his better angels because here he was aspiring to one of the highest offices in the land and he choked.
With that so public, what are we left to imagine he’s like when no one’s looking?
Perhaps he was angry at seeing himself blow it, that pesky secret past pressing in. Privately that’s reasonable because he’s really feeling disappointment, exposure, and loss under all that invective bluster. Yet he could have still experienced this in solitude or among confidants but kept it in check as his testimony was read into the record at the hearing.
The rant he gave last week is seriously what he wants as his historical calling card, his time in the sun? All to protect mommy and daddy from hearing him fess up that, “Yeah, I’m a drunk.” Instead he offered the piddling, “I like beer.” That, I guess, was supposed to provide him cover. Instead, with the greater picture provided by his cohorts, it revealed his willingness to lie. Under oath.
The writing of his statement was a shambolic, rushed, hot mess. And it was a wholesale abomination to the very spirit of law. Finally, it was a transparent view into Kavanaugh’s shadow character, especially that character when under pressure.
A wise Kavanaugh, a measured Kavanaugh, would have found a way through the torrent of his emotions before inflating such paper dragons and dragging them before the committee. What silliness!
A self-censored command would have showed he understood the bearing of the robes he seeks to wear. And if he had waited before writing hopefully he would’ve gotten over his storms so that he could show his best to the entire country, those he would judge from all sides, women among them. And with good hope, if that had been an unvarnished testimony, one offering some chagrin, and one where he showed obedience to the law rather than a scathing, public, willful flouting of it, would have been able to put any reasonable person’s own prejudices about his impartiality, or fitness to serve (in spite of a wild drinking streak), to rest.
As to his sexual behavior, he provided no accounting there except vehement denial. Instead his proxies eviscerated Ford at rallies, from behind the White House podium, and in the press, to which Kavanaugh provided no chastisement.
And the country lost.
Human emotions are inescapably real, and the range astounds. We must feel to be fully alive, yes. Kavanaugh too. So let’s take a second to give props and credence to the fragile and shadowed humanity on view under the spotlight here. And then weigh and measure as needed.
But fair judgement must come from what we witness.
In this case, any of us would have to exhibit an outsized dignity in our bearing before others if we were to be the model for society, among its highest arbiters, one of the rare few comprising the balance of the branches of government — a Supreme Court Justice.
And Brett fumbled big time. Bigly.
Reason for Doubt
It’s a rash thing to impute motive. It’s so important that reasonable people avoid that low state as much as possible. Judges above all. We definitely don’t expect our justices to impute unproven motive unless we’re a breed that salivates on the sidelines in favor of gutter p[unches and street
rules and not so fond of due process.
The higher stance those who value America’s institutions expect is objectivity, perspective, scope, and allowing for dignity without particularity. And on these fronts Kavanaugh ranked a zero at the hearing. His own front, the frontal lobe, jumbled with his accusations of calculated acts of revenge on behalf of the old bugaboo “Clintons.” The magic word, devil conjuring. Was this an episode of Fox and Friends or a meaningful and legitimate ritual of our society under its inviable laws?
What a careening tin soldier conspiracy theorist Kavanaugh revealed himself to be in that moment!
The Senate is going to put that on the Supreme Court of the United States of America?
Hello? Do these elected officials have any relationship to the country at large? To the oath they took to protect and defend the Constitution? Do they remember the blood of this nation, with ample spills from myriad figures from multiple sides who believed in its worthiness and who have persevered against great struggles and still do as they seek to see it grope towards its highest form?
Have they visited America’s monuments and reflected on our history and historical figures? On what the founders crafted in this gift of America? If so, if deeply so, they could never hand it over to a conspiracy-theorist hot head with a grudge match to press.
And no, an after the fact middling apology isn’t enough to cover his ass.
What that court is and what it will be is what we will all live, what I will live, what you will live, because we are the state.
The court is a sacred organ of our founding unity even if it never can resolve all our cultural dissensions and pressings for expression. It can’t have a conspiracy theorist in its midst. It can’t have a raving partisan with a chip on his shoulder.
In this ordinary American’s eyes, his own behavior is what cost Kavanaugh the affirmation. His filthy pugilism in the service of a spitting disregard for process, a process he would be charged with honoring on behalf of all other countrymen and women, was particularly egregious.
He blew it! He blew it. \
We should all have such a chance to stand on the threshold of possibility and influence and greatness. And when Kavanaugh did he comported not like a statesman, nor a presence of rock amidst the tides, but like an untethered net scooping up anything in its path. And in this world at this time that indiscriminate path would mean POLLUTION>
rather than a rationally intended catch.
Kavanaugh’s testimony was not just failure, but was failure brined sour with petty smallness that betrayed a paucity of thought, a shriveled range, and a brazen disregard for the sanctity of his sworn word before the deliberating body.
No sane, patriotic, right-minded senator could possibly give the thumbs up to that. That august body needs a scolding over what right is, and how to let right be done.
So I’ll trot out a figure from the days when conservatism sometimes curried in a modicum of sanity and propriety. Someone who offered a too-simple approach to a complex problem. But that approach is apt here. Just say no.
The ghost of Nancy Reagan whispers to the Senate to, “Just say no!” to Judge Kavanaugh.
It’s as simple as that. It’s every American’s duty. His prevarication and temper can’t stand.
Once rejected, we’ll move past it.
Other conservatives can be nominated. And one would hope a lesson would be learned, that the new nominee would have brains and class but most of all that judicial de rigeur — unruffled impartiality.
That, after all, defines a judge.
— Lindsay Curren, Ordinary American