Democracy creates strange bedfellows. This morning our precarious system of justice got a one-week reprieve thanks to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a soft-spoken, earnest professional woman; two strident protestors who blocked a US Senator in an elevator; and a lame duck Mormon with five children and a shred of conscience. Their actions motivated a one-week delay in the once-speeding Brett Kavanagh Supreme Court approval train.
As the #METOO movement has unfolded, one pattern has held true: men who apologize are pilloried (bye-bye: Al Franken); men who deny remain in power (still here: Donald Trump). But this morning despite Kavanaugh’s testimony, loud and angry as any white man who, methinks protesteth too much, we have hit the pause button. We’re going to try to dig a bit deeper than the usual he-said, she-said.
Life was so much simpler when our nation began. White men got to vote. White women didn’t. At least they got counted as 100% human. Slaves were a mere 3/5 of a person. The world’s self-proclaimed ‘most noble’ government has always been rigged, but at least back then the calculus was clear.
Now—in theory—women vote, slaves are free, and #BlackLivesMatter, but more than two centuries into our democratic experiment, white men still yield outsize influence. So much, in fact, that as long as they repeat a mantra of deny, deny, deny they hold on to power, regardless how many allegations pile up against them.
Perhaps, the FBI probe will demonstrate nothing. Kavanaugh will be appointed to the Supreme Court, and all that Dr. Blasey Ford and the elevator doorstops and a recalcitrant Mormon will have achieved is a short delay. That result would not alter the direction of the highest court in our land; merely tarnish its conceit to represent all. Still, delaying the ‘business as usual’ of the white guy juggernaut is a victory in and of itself, and the week delay will leech through other veins of our septic politics: to elections, protests, and greater civic engagement by people who have been shunted aside.
Possibly, and more likely every day, Kavanaugh will step down; or our President, quick to turn on anyone he considers a loser, will withdraw the nomination. In that event, the chink in the wall of deny, deny, deny, will be big enough to undermine the foundation of the white guys in charge.
I am a white guy. I have reservations about how we apply 2018 standards to 1980’s adolescent behavior. I dislike the politicizing of our Supreme Court, though from Robert Bork to FDR both parties have dirty hands. I disdain the haphazard, accelerated process Mitch McConnell has pursed to appoint Brett Kavanaugh, especially in light of his obstruction to Merrick Garland.
Still, these reservations evaporate in the face of Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony versus Judge Kavanaugh’s. Two perfect exemplars of the fundamental conflict in our nation. Regardless of your politics, in our hearts, we all know who spoke with the highest authority. A calm and responsible woman with nothing to gain called to question an angry white man with everything to lose. Amen to that.