The Kavanaugh hearing was the most flagrant display yet of the sicknesses at the core of the United States. The tribal divisions were more bare than usual. No one cared about clear abuse of women or obvious ongoing alcohol addiction issues or rather obvious lying that demonstrated how clearly unfit the many is for a judicial position. He was their boy, and that was enough for him to get away with it.
There are no principles left for the nation, only force.
We can and likely will get past some of the worst of this after the November election. Then again, the rise of one party to a position of power and the ability to check these abuses will only make the situation worse in the immediate term. It’s hard to know how to get past this.
Dr. Christine Ford, in her testimony, spoke for all of America in many ways. The most significant was that she made it clear that she never wanted to be there in the first place, that reliving her experience was painful in the extreme. Being compelled to testify by her sense of justice and patriotism was not enough to wash the horror out of her. In that way, she was an example for us all.
Yet in other unspoken ways she was a better example.
No on ever “gets over” such an assault. One gets past it, moves on with their life, and refuses to let it define them. Dr. Ford went on to have a great career as a respected professor and scientist in psychology. She has what appears to be a great marriage to a husband who has learned to understand her need to have multiple escape routes carefully planned.
It would have been much better for her to have real closure, of course. If her attacker had been somehow punished or at least been forced to recognize his awful behavior and apologize it would have made things easier for her. None of that happened, however, and she was forced to move ahead by herself.
Our nation has been subjected to more than a voyeuristic view of that attack and the frat boy contempt for women that fueled it. We have now lived it, as many victims relived their own attacks through the process. Have no illusions, the vast majority of women of my generation have been sexually assaulted, rarely reporting it to a system that would only heap on more abuse rather than healing. Their ability to reach down inside themselves and simply get past it has defined their lives ever since.
Some were very good at it, at least superficially, like Dr. Ford. Some were not.
As a nation we now stand in the same place that she was. We have no process in place for healing, and confronting the issue with what we have in place is only going to make it worse. We have to imagine a better nation on our own and simply go about doing it. More accurately, we have to start working very hard in a way that helps us push this trauma down deep and convinces us that we are indeed moving forward. Exactly where we are going isn’t all that important right now as long as we are moving.
That doesn’t happen today. Hopefully it happens soon enough and we don’t have to wallow in the despair and helplessness that would define us all as victims.
This is far from what America is supposed to be and further yet from what it could be. What we do know is that this nation has within it the power to be anything.. It does not have to be a cabal run by drunken frat boys and their belief that they are entitled to power simply because of their birth or their narcissism. We can be much better than this. We can be a nation focused on truth and compassion, a driving force for better lives for everyone.
How do we get there? What does that road look like? That isn’t necessarily relevant today. What’s important to victims, or to those who refuse to be defined by victimhood, is that we get out of the house of abuse and start walking. Where to go isn’t necessarily important at first. What is important is that we start walking, away, and see where that takes us.
I have several pieces “in the can” on what a functional and decent society might look like, but they seem totally irrelevant at the moment. We can talk about where we are going later. Today, it seems more important to say to those who just relived their worst memories that we will be better than this, we have to be better than this, and we will find out together what “better” really is. This will not define us forever.
I love you all, my sisters and brothers who have experienced abuse. You have a strength beyond what everyone knows, including yourself. There is nothing more powerful as a starting place for something better for all of us. Lets walk together for a while. Let’s just start walking away in silence. Let’s get ourselves to that one place we know we have to be, which is away.