Identity Politics and the Kavanaugh Confirmation
One of the reasons I co-founded AACONS was because, shortly after the election of Barack Obama, in 2008, I had a number of people congratulate me on “my” president. Though elected by a vast majority of Americans – thus America’s president – I assumed this comment referred to the fact that Mr. Obama and I had similar pigmentation, thus, I must have voted for him, or that we were in political alignment. Whereas I did not vote for Mr. Obama, and was certainly not pleased with that electoral outcome, I will say I did not march in the streets with hash-tagged signs declaring him #NotMyPresident!
Then, during our last presidential election cycle, I was told that I had to vote #WithHer because, as women, we vote with our #LadyParts. This confused me not only because that’s sort of physically impossible (not to mention gross), but because Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton talked about female empowerment before the election, but afterward seemed to shame my vote by suggesting patriarchy had something to do with it, and my husband had to tell me how to vote.
Now, watching the Kavanaugh debacle play out on my television screen yesterday, I have to add one more message about #solidarity: I am supposed to believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford simply because she is a woman.
First of all, I am a political independent. I like to do my own thinking, and it’s done me fairly well up til now, thank you very much. I don’t like being told I have to vote a certain way, or believe something because of shared skin color or anatomy.
Secondly, as a Christian, I am a lover of truth. I saw a lot of emotion in that chamber – from many quarters – but, one thing that was in short supply with one of the major witnesses was cold, hard, evidence. Something Judge Kavanaugh had in spades:
- A journal with comprehensive dates, locations, activities, and names.
- Sworn statements from witnesses named in the allegation that didn’t merely trot out the “I don’t recall” line, but flatly rebutted by stating things like “I don’t know him,” or a tacit “it didn’t happen.” I found it interesting to note that the Leland Keyser mentioned is the ex-wife of Bob Beckel. He’s certainly no conservative, and if Ms. Keyser, too, is a Democrat, that bolsters the denial’s credibility in my book.
- Six extensive FBI background checks that never once produced any of these allegations, suggested behavior consistent with these allegations, or anything of the like.
As a #MeToo-er, after an incident occurred during my childhood, well over 40 years ago, I can unequivocally state that I immediately told an adult. Though I didn’t know this individual well, I can tell you where, when, what the room looked like, and the name of the person involved. My mother and aunt had a talk with his parents shortly after.
I met my husband of almost 30 years back in 1982. In fact, he had a party at his home about a month into our acquaintance. We were talking about that party recently, because we both remember a number of people who were there — many we’ve not seen in decades — where people sat, and various things that happened. The same 36 year timeframe, but both of us remembered the party, with no hesitation or lack of clarity.
I’m close to a person who was raped as a child, and she can tell you the color of the walls in the room where she was.
We do not forget these details.
I am not saying I do not have sympathy for Dr. Ford. Nor do I believe she is a pathological liar. I believe she believes what she is saying. I believe she may have been the victim of an unwanted sexual encounter. I just don’t believe it was at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh.
I think the wisest words on record came from someone not even in the room yesterday, Liza Kavanaugh, who implored us to “pray for the lady.”
I have been, Liza, and I will continue. I pray for your daddy, too. And, most of all, I pray for our country. That we will be better, and do better . . . even when – maybe especially when – our political ideologies differ.