Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This matters, too

The questions about the current nominee to the Supreme Court are piling up, and the allegations of attempted rape are only among the latest. But those allegations matter a lot, not the least because the hearings next week will tell us a lot about Kavanaugh’s character. But the biggest reason of all for why this matters is that this is a lifetime appointment—there is absolutely no reason to hurry this.

We need to know what happened, and at the moment we have a “she said/he said” situation. We have every reason to believe the victim, while the Republican propaganda on this simply isn’t believable at all.

It is extremely rare for a victim of sexual assault, attempted or actual, to lie about it. In this case, the victim has no reason to lie because she’d get nothing for doing so. In fact, she originally wanted to remain anonymous because she knew the abuse she’d be subjected to, and she was right: The rightwing’s attack machine has been operating at full throttle.

The Republican propaganda has been transparent in its mendacity. I heard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham claim that Republicans had only heard of the allegations a few days ago, and he apparently expects us to believe that’s true; he thinks we’re incredibly stupid. The allegations were made public, and within 24 hours Republicans produce a list of 64 women who, they claimed, knew it was a false allegation. 24 hours to line up all those women, despite name changes in the 36 years since the alleged attempted rape. Right.

Republicans have also tried to make an issue of the fact that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein was alerted to the letter in July but said nothing. That’s irrelevant. She was protecting the victim who didn’t want to become attacked.

The Republicans have also attacked the fact the victim hired an attorney and took a polygraph test which, they’re trying to imply, was evidence of some sort of plot. That’s defamatory nonsense. She no doubt realised that sooner or later her identity would be revealed (not the least because Washington leaks like a sieve), and she needed protection. She has no firm evidence, apart from telling her husband and a therapist some six years ago, so the polygraph was a good idea. Would Kavanaugh be willing to take a polygraph on this?

There are other issues that should be settled before the Senate votes. There are millions of pages of documents that the White House flat out refuses to release. They’re being sued on that right now, but the wheels of justice grind slowly, even when justice is at stake. However, there are already allegations that Kavanaugh may have lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the documents the White House is hiding may well provide evidence of perjury. No one can know without looking at those documents.

We know for sure that the hearing on Monday could well prove to be the single decisive moment in this battle. He’s adamant it never happened, and denied it even though the victim never said where, precisely, the alleged rape happened. If he follows that line and it’s proven that he was there, that undermines everything he’s said about it.

If he attacks the victim, especially if he belittles the lasting effects of such a crime against a 15 year old, that will create a huge public backlash mere weeks before the midterm elections. This is not 1991, and neither Republicans nor Kavanaugh can afford to do this victim what Republicans and Clarence Thomas did to Anita Hill back then. Even the newsmedia is seeing the “Echoes of Anita Hill in allegations against Kavanaugh”.

Republicans definitely want this to all just go away—the old white men who run their party didn’t want there to be any hearings on the allegations, and they had to be shamed into it (though troglodyte Senator Orrin Hatch apparently didn’t get the change of strategy memo fast enough).

Democrats want to stop the nomination, as anyone paying even the barest attention knows. But Republicans’ attempt to spin that fact into an imaginary “plot” to somehow “sully” Kavanaugh is flat out offensive. The victim must be heard, and even Republicans know that—sort of.

There’s no way to know how this will end. Republicans may very well steamroll over all opposition and all the serious questions about the nominee’s character to ram the confirmation through the Senate. Or, they may decide doing so will cause too much damage to their party’s chances in the midterms, and they may delay action until the lame duck session following the elections, underhanded as that would be.

But the bottom line is still this: It’s a lifetime appointment. We have every right to fully judge the nominee, and so far the Republicans have done everything in their power to ensure that can’t happen. It’s about time we found out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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