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As important as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is to conservatives in cementing their hard majority for decades, it may be just as much a defining battle in our cultural war and gender relations.
The noise you’re hearing is the cry of millions whose mouths are being covered and whose breathing is being smothered, trying to be heard over the desperate protestations of the privileged who fear the days of their entitlements are timing out.
When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford faced the cameras Thursday, Sept. 27, and people around the country and the world saw her eyes and heard her voice tell her story, her truth resonated.
Her account of being pinned down, of having Kavanaugh’s hand cover her mouth as she tried to scream for help, of having her breath smothered and feeling her life in danger rang literally and metaphorically true for millions of women who were then inspired and compelled to reveal their stories they had been hiding for years. The dirty secrets of the dirty gender wars that have raged for centuries, the scars and scabs never acknowledged, were exposed.
But no sooner had Blasey Ford punctured the dominant complacency and shook the creaking foundation of American patriarchy, no sooner had she dared to question the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s claim to power and position, than out roared the reaction, the angry, belligerent, offensive defense of the rich white male.
As the trained student of rich kids prep schools, where they are taught from day one that they are superior and the rightful heirs to the leadership of the world, Kavanaugh exuded the mentality of the white colonizer, that he can just take what lies before him. This is his manifest destiny, his god-given right to beer, women and the Supreme Court. His rage reflected the grievances of ruling class men who see their world coming to an end.
In his manly defense of his privilege Kavanaugh attacked the Democratic Party, the Clintons and the women Senators who questioned him, while portraying himself as the victim, in true Trumpian style (except for the tears). And Trump loved it. For him, Brett was the Mini Me that Donny Jr. always fell short of.
In the process, the Kavanaugh displayed the temperament of a brutish, beer-swilling frat boy, and the intellectual prowess of one as well. When questioned about his drinking habits, he turned it around and attacked the questioner. When Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) warned him to be truthful and cited the Latin phrase from common legal parlance, “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” Kavanaugh wouldn’t or couldn’t translate. (“False in one thing, false in everything.”) That is something any former altar boy could do and any lawyer and judge should know – and advice he ignored at his own peril.
For the questioning of Blasey Ford the Republicans hired a “female assistant” to shield themselves from giving Democrats footage for campaign ads, video of men behaving badly. They heeded the instructions their handlers had sternly advised – treat Blasey Ford with kid gloves and don’t attack her. But they couldn’t help themselves. During the questioning of Kavanaugh, as they saw momentum swing away from them, as even Fox News started speaking sympathetically about her and her story, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went nuclear.
In typical condescending fashion Graham called her “a nice lady,” but then quickly labeled her testimony “all garbage.” His indignant, off-the-rails defense of Kavanaugh released the other 10 white male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee (six of whom had voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act in 2013) to follow their instincts.
While restraining themselves from calling her a liar, and acknowledging something horrible must have happened to her to elicit such a convincing story, they nevertheless continued in the condescending and dismissive manner Graham had initiated. Maybe it was someone else, they theorized, and this dizzy female was mistaken. Others suggested there was no proof of wrong doing, intentionally omitting that victim testimony is considered valid evidence even in the higher standards of a court of law.
The horror of Blasey Ford’s ordeal found no resonance in the hollowed-out souls of these powerful white male Republican Senators. Implicit in their attitudes was the same sense of entitlement that the teenage preppie Kavanaugh had felt, that he was entitled to unlimited access to the bodies of the girls around him, that there would be no consequences to playing with and laughing at the toys at his disposal.
So he and the Judiciary Committee Republicans were surprised by the wrath of women who refuse to keep living in fear of assault, who will no longer shut up and behave like good girls, who will hold an elevator door and a Senator hostage, demanding their humanity be recognized.
What worked for you guys before is now failing.