I’ve never been sexually assaulted.
I certainly feel empathy for those who have, as I’m sure everyone with a beating heart also does. We all know that it happens. We all know that it’s wrong.
That’s not what we – the armchair detectives – have been debating over social media for the past couple of weeks. What we’ve been debating is whether the GOP should have the swing vote power when midterm elections come around.
The American public twisted Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings into a narrative of whether or not Christine Blasey Ford was raped, whether or not Brett Kavanaugh drank too much in college and why people can’t remember details from 30 years ago.
The discussion should be whether Kavanaugh is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, not whether he went to a keg party in the 1980s.
I think most people have strong views about the accusations against Kavanaugh. But here’s the bottom line: I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. I can’t pick a side.
Both Kavanaugh and his accuser have been mocked and they’ve probably both struggled with the public scrutiny.
My mom mentioned to me the other day that “he has a family.” Well, she does too. It’s not a great scenario for either one.
If Christine Blasey Ford was raped, that’s horrible. If she’s lying and seeking attention or financial gain, that’s also horrible. If Kavanaugh participated in a sex assault, that’s horrible. If his character is unjustifiably being assassinated for something he didn’t do, that’s also horrible.
But we don’t really know where the truth lies. I think it’s crazy that we are so quick to jump to conclusions like “Casey Anthony killed her child. O.J. Simpson is guilty.” Certainly there are clues and red flags and strong indicators and gut feelings. But does the fact that someone waits 15 minutes to call 911 after encountering a dead body make them the killer? It doesn’t. It might be unusual behavior, but it doesn’t make them a murderer.
Someone asked me recently about one of the executions I witnessed back in 2000, a young man who was accused of raping and stabbing his 86-year-old grandmother.
“Did he do it?” my friend asked.
“He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to death,” was my response.
I don’t know if he did it. I wasn’t there.
I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh did something bad all those years ago, but I think he’s been convicted by the court of public opinion. It’s unfortunate for him and his family, but perception does matter. There are a lot of people who don’t trust him and he’s drawn a lot of negative publicity. Even if he’s squeaky clean and has nothing more than a speeding ticket on his record, there are a lot of people who hate him now.
And there are a lot of people – possibly even more than the Kavanaugh haters – who think Christine Blasey Ford is an awful human being who, fueled by a Hillary Clinton checkbook, was trying to get 15 minutes of fame.
There are no winners in this Supreme Court situation, and the American people deserve better.
It’s a shame that we can’t find a nominee that everyone supports and that the dialogue has become so ugly and hateful.
It’s a shame that an accusation – whether or not it’s substantiated – can end a career or ruin a life. It’s polarizing an already polarized country.
I think we need some unity, love and sympathy. Let’s not tear each other down and ridicule one another. I saw one social media post displaying a photo of Blasey Ford essentially saying “case closed; she was ugly; no one would have raped her.”
It’s also abhorrent to imply that because someone drank a lot of beer in college, they must be a gang rapist.
We have to come together. Trump was elected by the American people; Kavanaugh was confirmed. Let’s move forward and try to find some common ground.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.