every woman in this pic tho pic.twitter.com/6Y2SvY4YlU
— Gustavo Luis (@verygooster) September 27, 2018
The Kavanaugh hearings are a shit show but they do show what a corner certain parts of society have painted themselves into:
- They’ve tried to argue, “it was a long time ago,” and lost the moral high ground because there is no expiration on decency
- They’ve tried to argue, “even if it DID happen, he’s a good man,” and lost the moral high ground again because good men (and there are PLENTY OF THEM) don’t harass women
- They’ve tried to argue, “the mistakes of youth shouldn’t follow people,” and lost the moral high ground for simultaneously holding opinions that young men and women who commit petty crimes or fall pregnant should have those choices follow them for the rest of their lives
- They’ve tried to claim respecting women, and then got the highest office in the land to cast doubts and aspersions on the women who have come forward (almost all of them admitting fear of doing so, having seen what happened to Anita Hill and knowing how many of the EXACT SAME MEN will be questioning them in the same way).
- They’ve tried to use the “drunken/slut/drunken slut” aspect…but women aren’t tolerating that shit any more.
There have been libellous accusations made on Twitter that cross the line into outright conspiracy theory. There is some evidence of coordination of smear tactics and commentary amongst allies (looking at you, Senator Hatch’s office). And even as more and more accusations of bad, crass, and increasingly ugly behavior piled up, the Senate seemed hell bent on trying to fast track his confirmation.
In other words…
The hearings have also underscored for me that if there’s anything people who benefit from a powerful structure can do, it’s ignore the corners.
Kavanaugh’s defense of himself was all the things that a woman, a person of color, or frankly any member of the non-patriarchy could never be: tearful, a bit petulant at having to defend himself in the first place (a textbook definition of privilege), indignant, and emotional.
Every male Republican senator who questioned him expressed sympathy for having to deal with the accusations. There were far fewer expressions of sympathy for Dr. Ford for her ordeal. Lindsey Graham seemed to be auditioning for a role on the Cabinet with a shrill explosion that interrupted Ms. Mitchel, the lawyer hired to question Dr. Blasley Ford and the nominee. The reigns were never really handed back, meaning that Dr. Blasley Ford was questioned by a trained lawyer, Judge Kavanaugh was questioned by his allies. The Cable News Watcher In Chief tweeted his support.
This whole story has been an exercise in patriarchy closing ranks in self defense. I have no doubt that there will be a committee vote today, and I expect he will be seated to the Supreme Court. In spite of a desperately partisan biases on display (on both sides, yes, but one has to wonder how his statements may come back to haunt him in his future rulings). In spite of credible questions of bad behaviour and poor judgement. In spite of it all.
At some point, the ruling party (and a whole lot of society) is going to have to make a decision: are women–their bodies and their stories, their truths and their needs–disposable or not? Is the safety and autonomy of girls and women worthy of defense and respect, worthy of holding powerful men to account and denying them advancement and prestige when they violate it?
Or are women’s bodies acceptable collateral damage on your route to power? If yes, fine. Own it. It’s misogyny, and it really is that simple.
If you want to know why women don’t come forward with allegations of sexual assault, watching a panel of Republican Senators hire a prosecutor to try and pick apart Ford’s credibility on national television rather than launch an actual investigation offers a clue.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 27, 2018
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