Not to make light of the sexual assault allegations in the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings, but there are some red flags to point out.
First off, sexual assault is a serious matter in this country. Women who have been attacked often resort to silence out of shame, fear and the threat of reprisals. The statistics in this country are way too high for the amount of women who will face sexual assault or threats in their lifetime (as high as 1 in 4 will experience this situation). Their voices need to be heard and we applaud the women who have made strides during this #MeToo era.
However, it does not automatically mean that every accusation is true or that the accused is guilty, although common public opinion these days appear to present the opposite. We have a system of due process in this country; innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, people like Joy Behar on The View and other celebrities have already judged Kavanaugh as guilty. That is criminal in itself.
There will be no winners here. In the early 1990s, Justice Clarence Thomas survived the accusations of Anita Hill, but his name was certainly besmirched. A cloud has always hung over the head of Thomas since his installation on the Supreme Court. The same will be the case for Kavanaugh if he survives this process. Christine Blasey Ford – Kavanaugh’s accuser cannot win no matter what she decides. If she was truly assaulted, she has already lost. She has been living with that shame and horror for years. If she is lying, then the whole political process has become a mockery (if it hasn’t already) and we are one step closer to social anarchy.
I mentioned red flags regarding Ford’s accusations. First and foremost is how late in the process these accusations were made. The Democrats have been doing everything and anything to postpone these hearings, delay the vote on Kavanaugh and bring him down to stall the inevitable conservative swing on the Supreme Court. That makes the timing of these accusations all the more dubious.
Second, Ford has presented very little in the way of concrete evidence to support her charges. She speaks of a high school party from their high school days where everyone was apparently drunk. Ford does not have much in the way of witnesses or even details to substantiate her claims.
Third, every move made by Ford since the accusations became public appear to be stalling tactics. First she says she wants the FBI to investigate the incident. That would take months. And let’s not forget that the FBI has been dealing with its own scandals over the past few years. The agency is in disarray. Who knows what kind of incompetence would oversee such a circus investigation? Senators have given her multiple options to testify either publicly or privately, but she has balked. Once GOP Chairman Chuck Grassley gave a 10am Friday deadline for an answer, the stalling continued. If Ford would not answer the request for questioning and testimony by the deadline, then the vote would be held Monday on Kavanaugh. Of course, Ford has now said she is willing to testimony, but she can’t do Monday; she’ll do it later next week. Another delay.
And finally, there is the issue that Ford is a known liberal Democrat who has appeared at anti-Trump marches and that Kavanaugh was a judge in a case decided against her family. Those are motives and conflicts of interest that cannot easily be dismissed.
Most women who come forward in the case of sexual assault should be listened to, admired for their bravery, and given the chance to speak. However, this is a very public, political arena we are dealing with. Manipulation, backstabbing and devious tactics are often the order of the day when it comes to our political system. The fear that this is a cash grab moment for Ford – a chance to grab 15 minutes of fame, write a bestselling book and get her name in the spotlight. Of course, this will also set back the cause of truly aggrieved women who are afraid to risk exposing their attackers.
Brett Kavanaugh has spoken of “precedent” often in these hearings. This could be the scariest precedent of all: