Rushing to Judgment

I’m not going to say much about today’s hearings, for a few reasons:

  1. I didn’t watch any of them. All the news I’ve gotten on what happened today was through Facebook.
  2. I’m a man. I really don’t think anybody needs to hear my two cents about sexual assault. It’s wrong, in every circumstance. There are no extenuating factors to consider; it’s just wrong, sinful, horrible. Beyond that, as a man, I just don’t think it’s my place to talk about it.

But there is one thing I would like to say, about the process. Particularly, the process of how everyone I have encountered in the past week has so quickly rushed to judgment on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Kavanaugh. From my standpoint, if the stories are true, then Mr. Kavanaugh is guilty of some heinous things. Whether or not he stands trial for them, he deserves to be held accountable. (Refusing to give him a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court would be an excellent start for such accountability.) Equally, if the stories are not true, then the women bringing them forward are guilty of some heinous things, and they deserve to be held accountable. I don’t know whether the stories are true. I don’t know enough about the situation, and I am grateful that I am not the one who needs to determine their veracity. I pray that the judiciary committee find it in their hearts to actually try to determine that truth, and then follow through on it.

But it seems to me that nobody felt the need to wait until the hearings today to decide whether the stories of sexual assault are true. Many people simply knew for a fact (how?) that the stories were lies started by the Democratic party, and thus shouted loudly how Kavanaugh needed to be protected from these horrible women. Many other people simply knew for a fact (how?) that the stories are true, and that Kavanaugh should immediately be kicked out, along with the horse he rode in on. Now don’t get me wrong: I fully believe that if the stories are true, he should be hung out to dry. Ruin his life; he deserves it. And I also believe that if the stories are lies, then the women telling them should be sued for slander. But we owe it to everyone involved, as well as to ourselves, to wait until we can make a reasonable assessment of the truth of the stories. Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true; just because the timing of these stories was convenient doesn’t make them false.

And I grow so weary of smugness on both sides of the aisle, so weary of self-righteous indignation. I grow so weary of Mitch McConnell, who proves over and over again that he cares about nothing, not the rule of law, not the dignity of women, certainly not the people of the United States, nothing at all except for keeping the GOP in power. He honestly doesn’t give a damn if Kavanaugh is innocent or guilty — he just wants him on the bench because of his politics. I so wish that McConnell were an outlier. I so wish that the inflamed rhetoric on both sides couldn’t be so easily interpreted as liberals wanting to keep a conservative off the bench, and conservatives wanting him there. But it seems like the media, and the whole nation, chose sides on this so quickly, before any evidence was shared, before the dust had even settled from the announcement that someone had made an accusation.

And it all just makes me sad. What a lousy moment in our history.

One thought on “Rushing to Judgment

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