In a few weeks, possibly, many Americans and especially females will look upon the nine robed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and see two sex offenders.
They'll see smug men--Clarence Thomas and now Brett Kavanaugh--who got away with abuse of women because of the protection of Republican senators, nearly all male.
They'll understand that those Republican senators wanted the two men on the Supreme Court to placate evangelical "Christians" whose whole agenda is to deny women control of their bodies.
In a few weeks, possibly, many other Americans and particularly conservative Republicans will look upon the Supreme Court and see those same two members as having heroically endured disgraceful smearing from evil Democrats.
Either way, it all serves to represent a widely metastasized cancer for our vital American institutions--our highest court, some of our religion, our U.S. Senate, and our political systems and processes.
Prominent evangelical preachers began fuming by midweek that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation of teenage sexual assault by Kavanaugh threatened confirmation.
Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, and one of those Trumpian "Two Corinthians" Christians, put it this way: He doesn't know what if anything happened years ago with Kavanaugh and the woman, but what he does know is that Democrats don't care and merely exploit the matter for delay.
Translation: Even if a pro-life judge drunkenly assaulted a girl sexually when they were in high school more than 30 years ago, and lies about it today, that wouldn't be as bad as being a Democrat.
When I was a boy enduring an evangelical upbringing, we lived by the biblical charge to go into all the world and teach the Gospel. Now the evangelicals live by, "Go into the American political system and install pro-life politicians and judges, no matter what kind of wretched human beings they might be."
It may be that Democrats use the matter merely for delay, though far less a delay than Republicans imposed on Merrick Garland and Barack Obama.
Partisan politics today is thoroughly and purely tit-for-tat. The only way that cycle ever gets broken is if one party unilaterally withdraws, which seems unlikelier than ever with a vindictive man-child as president.
It is true that, no matter what happened or didn't with Kavanaugh and Ford amid near-toxic preppy drunkenness in the '80s, the allegation is being judged today by standards entirely different from those in effect when the alleged event happened.
But no one is proposing to put Kavanaugh in jail. Instead, he is presuming to offer himself for our most-eminent court. No one has a right to that. One must measure up to it.
It is entirely defensible to hold the view that such a stain in one's background and dishonesty about it now bring one up short.
Kavanaugh is due no punishment. At most, he simply is not due installation on the rarefied U.S. Supreme Court.
On Friday morning, your disgraceful excuse for a president posted the cluelessly malignant tweet that, if the assault had been as bad as Dr. Ford says now, she'd have told her parents and they would have told law enforcement.
So I thought I'd relate a call I got from a woman last week. She believed her story might give me needed perspective. She said I could do what I wanted with the story.
What I want is to share it for reader contemplation but without any remote identification, even by town or era.
She said she'd told the story to her husband years ago and to her mother only the day before, owing to the Kavanaugh affair's bringing the experience tearfully back to her.
She was 15 or 16, and a boy 17 or 18 had taken a seeming liking to her, which thrilled her. The boy had taken her out a time or two. They hadn't even held hands, much less kissed or caressed.
One day he called and wanted to take her to a movie, and she was delighted. But the movie turned out to be at a drive-in. All of a sudden, he had her down in the car seat and was "doing things to me I had never had done to me and knew nothing about."
He climaxed while clothed; otherwise, she wonders if she'd have been raped.
He drove her home in silence and didn't walk her to the door, as he had before.
She told no one because she didn't understand what had happened. She somehow thought maybe she was to blame or shamed in some way.
When a girlfriend mentioned her experience with the same boy and called him aggressive, she kept quiet, somehow illogically guilt-ridden.
She sees the respected man now at public events. She leaves.
She thinks it's entirely possible he doesn't remember.
There is a reason, she said, that a girl can't bring herself to tell what a woman might bring herself in special circumstances to tell decades later.
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at email@example.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.
Editorial on 09/23/2018
Print Headline: A cancer on the court