By Matthew Johnson
It is shameful that we are still talking about Bret Kavanaugh. He should be gone. Finished. Yesterday’s news.
After the latest allegation of sexual assault against him by one of his classmates at Yale, a clear pattern has been established that reveals the Supreme Court nominee to be a drunken partygoer who has gone at least as far as to expose his genitalia to a semi-conscious, inebriated female and attempt to force himself on another — apparently buoyed by positive affirmation from his meathead male friends. It’s highly unlikely that this was the extent of his sexually aggressive behavior. After all, it is not as if he were ever held accountable for any of it (he may well not be held accountable it now) — and when has a powerful man ever changed for the better if not held accountable?
The good news is there’s a real opportunity to not only bring about justice for the survivors of his transgressions but also to bring about a political victory that goes beyond keeping him from becoming the next conservative ideologue on the court, establishing a clear 5-4 majority of reaction. This victory would also go beyond potentially blocking Trump’s vain attempt to escape his own comeuppance through packing the judiciary in his favor. This victory would be for women and for all those who support their rights.
I would see it as a victory for myself personally. I do not want to live in an America where a drunken frat boy who sexually assaults women can become a Supreme Court justice. I already live in an America where an ill-mannered, narcissistic moron (accused of sexual impropriety by more than a dozen women himself) is president. Enough is enough.
I am worried that boys will grow up and be told by their relatives: “Don’t worry, Jimmy, you can pull out your penis at a party, wave it at an unsuspecting woman, and still succeed in life. You can even go on to a position of power that will enable you to roll back women’s rights on a much larger scale.”
If Kavanaugh supported women’s rights in the legal and political sense while behaving badly toward them, he would still be an awful choice for the Court — but he’s guilty on both counts of being anti-woman. He has either been evasive or skeptical on Roe V. Wade, which is the established, enlightened law of the land that, at least legally speaking, liberates women from unwanted pregnancies — which could have been the result of Kavanaugh’s first reported assault had it not been inadvertently interrupted. This connection between his behavior and his politics seems lost on his Republican supporters and the old-white-male gentleman’s club that is the Republican side of the Senate. They insist that he’s a good man because to them a good man is anti-woman in his politics and legal opinions while masking this truth behind an adoring wife and children. That he drove his daughter to soccer practice is quite a low bar when judging a Supreme Court justice.
This cynical view of men by not only Republican diehards but some of the wider public (thinking of those who have said things like, ‘all 17-year-old boys assault women at parties on occasion’) is appalling. Men should be held to a higher standard and should, in turn, hold themselves to a higher standard. This will be more difficult to achieve if the Senate allows a corrupted member of our gender to become a potential role model — not to mention a powerful judge of the behavior of others. We must judge him accordingly and give his victims and the American people the justice they deserve.