Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
I hadn’t intended to spend a fair part of my day watching proceedings in the Kavanaugh Senate hearings. With a few household chores and errands to run, I couldn’t afford the time. Then, by slipping in a quick look here and there, I’m hooked. With a session exercising on the cross trainer, I managed some three hours viewing.
The whole process was a revelation. It gave a deep insight into US politics, their branch of democracy, and its checks and balances. A couple of things jumped out at me.
First, Kavanaugh, the nominee for the US supreme court, has undergone six background investigations. He’s answered some 2000 written and verbal questions in over 36 hours of testimony before the Senate. Thus it's surprising that these allegations have come to light at the last minute.
Second, the handling of the allegations by the Democrats is suspicious. One's drawn to the conclusion that they used Doctor Ford to ambush the nominee. In the process, they have destroyed Kavanaugh’s reputation. Yet, at the same time, without a hint of regret, they’ve exposed Doctor Ford to the most awful scrutiny.
Doctor Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, appeared credible. Her testimony was not shaken by the questioning she faced. This terrified lady seemed shaken by events. Let us not forget she never made the allegations public. A role was thrust up on she never sought. As a result, she’s under guard 24 hours, has moved her home and is at times separated from her family. I’m sure the experience is shattering for her.
I’m baffled by the conduct of the questioning. The Democrats focused on fart jokes made by teenage boys plus boasting about girls. These calculated questions appeared designed to discredit Kavanaugh. Yet everyone is asking themselves “did I do dumb shit when I was that age?” If you’re honest, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Perhaps the intent was to extrapolate the fart jokes to rape. It didn’t work. All it did was provide the other side with an easy put-down, which they seized upon.
The Republicans proved no better. They hired Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, a sexual offence expert, to question Ford. This is designed to avoid echoes of the Anita Hill case. It also didn’t work. The questioner didn’t cast any new light on the allegations.
The most striking thing about the whole session was Kavanaugh’s demeanour. He alternated between calm, reasoned deportment to an angry man lashing out. He lashed out in several directions. His composure repeatedly slipped as his face contorted in indignation. He reprimanded senators, firing questions back at them in response to their probing.
His vitriol could be a response to his innocence. Put through this process, it's natural that any person would harbour deep resentment. Yet, here’s the rub. If he is to serve on the supreme court, you’d expect greater control and more rational responses. The role requires a unique clarity of thought. Then the ability to set aside emotion even in the most distressing of circumstances.
I’m sure I’d become bitter and frustrated if so accused of a crime. Then again, I’m not seeking a position on the supreme court where I’d wield exceptional power and influence.
If you are seeking to get to the truth of what took place between Kavanaugh and Ford in 1982, this hearing didn’t help. Despite the veneer of dignity, this was a nasty spite filled political show. It underlined the polarisation of the USA under Trump. Neither side can claim a victory. Neither side can assert they held the moral high-ground.
Having watched the proceedings, I'm none the wiser. In the end, it was a political show with "he said, she said" and no closure. All I'd say is I wouldn't want Kavanaugh in the job, and not because of the allegations. The man may be innocent; however, he lacks the gravitas and composure for the role.
Kavanaugh, even if he makes the supreme court, is forever damaged. Henceforth his every word and judgment will be seen through the prism of these events. Doctor Ford is equally traumatised. I suspect she will suffer the consequences of this testimony for the remainder of her life. As regards the politicians, they’ve affirmed the low status the public accord them.
A curse on both your houses
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.