America is at times such an odd and contradictory place I hardly recognize it anymore. Politics are largely to blame, of that I’m sure. Everything is divisiveness taken to the nth degree. Sides are chosen, ideologies cemented, and verbal warfare so common it seems many no longer realize there once was a time when people actually just talked.
That isn’t to say there isn’t a barrage of ‘talk’ going on. The 24/7 news cycle makes certain of that. It’s just that with all of that talk so little is actually said and what little silence that remains is quickly filled with intellectually vacant rubbish that is too often mired in the salacious at the expense of the thoughtful.
Case in point – the Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmation.
The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is a serious matter to be sure and yet leave it to our politicians and media to turn it into a silly sideshow filled with unprovable allegations dating back decades whereby one’s reputation is dragged through the innuendo-mud that dominates the streets, walkways, and corridors of D.C. The opposition to Judge Kavanaugh, a 53-year old husband, and father of two daughters who also happens to be among the most highly regarded jurists in the nation, is now a media-driven battlefield in which an accusation of fondling a young woman nearly forty years earlier while Kavanaugh was a 17-year old high school student is forwarded as a legitimate claim to deny his place on the Supreme Court.
When the allegation first broke the initial reaction was one of disbelief. It seemed a thing of parody that had high-ranking members of the U.S. Senate and national media outlining never before heard accusations of teenage dry-humping. It’s not a comedy skit though. It’s America circa 2018. This is who we are. This is what we have become.
How sad it that?
Judge Kavanaugh has a long record on the bench upon which to determine his worthiness to be the newest member of the Supreme Court. So too does he have decades of professional experience that is rightfully open to a full and considerate review. That process already took place and Kavanaugh was found to be an exemplary choice.
Then came the nearly 40-year-old accusation of a teenager at a party with a girl that had some clumsy pawing, laughter, and, well, that’s about it. There was no verifiable evidence of actual wrongdoing. No report. Not much of anything really.
What is known is that Kavanaugh’s accuser is a woman with political leanings that are likely opposite his own. Is that important? In a normal world, no. In this deeply divided version of America where politics have devolved into outright rancor, yes, sadly it is. People have been proven many times over to say or do almost anything to try and hurt those they believe themselves to be in political opposition to. It’s a collective insanity that grips the country and makes us all less than.
The media deserves a great deal of the blame, of course, blaring headlines like ‘Kavanaugh accused of sexual assault’ that are absent the actual context of the claims. Only when people take the time to learn the facts (and so many, too many, fail to do so) do they realize the alleged ‘assault’ took place in high school, was never before reported, the only other witness in the room at the time says it never happened, and the accuser says she can’t recall exactly when it occurred or whose house the party was at.
Brett Kavanaugh vehemently denies it. His public record demands that denial be given a great deal of weight. He has never faced an allegation of sexual misconduct before.
Never. Not once.
And yet here is this story of a teenager at a high school party forty years ago who is said to have briefly fondled another teenager that is now exhibit #1 in the ongoing Kavanaugh Supreme Court nominee deliberations. When people get beyond the media-driven ‘sexual assault’ headline and find out those headlines relate to a story involving a high school party where no actual sex of any kind took place, they are most often incredulous. “Really?” they say. “That’s it? No, that can’t be it. There has to be more to it than that. This is about something that happened in high school? No, that can’t be right.”
Then comes the realization they’ve been misled, manipulated, and made fools of for the benefit of the political lunacy in Washington D.C. They would make victims of us all.
Sexual harassment and assault are real and happens all too often in places like Hollywood and the dark-wood cacoons of D.C. offices where people of power and influence take advantage of those less powerful and influential. When such examples are confirmed they should be prosecuted, the victims defended, and the perpetrators punished. An unprovable and decades-old accusation that can never be verified, though, threatens the entire process of justice in cases of real harassment and assault. It is a slippery moral slope that stories like The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible warned us about — a form of modern-era McCarthyism riding in upon a vehicle of manufactured victimization that doesn’t actually exist.
Too many butterflies in America are being broken upon the increasingly dangerous, divisive, and damaging wheels of political correctness, false victimization, zero tolerance, and mandated conformity. We are in ever-increasing danger of losing all sense and sensibility.
Brett Kavanaugh should be judged on the merits of his professional record and his verifiable actions as an adult. Throwing out an eleventh-hour and ultimately unprovable allegation of teenage wrongdoing is beyond the pale. We can and must do better than to lose ourselves to a process so equally silly and insidious as this for such a process does great harm to those victims of real assault and harassment that continue to take place far too much in our society.
America needs to step back, stare down the politicians and media figures responsible for this farce and tell them one thing—ENOUGH.
D.W. Ulsterman is an author, educator, socio-political commentator, and the creator of the popular San Juan Islands Mystery series.
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