I’ve been seeing posts and memes: “I stand with Kavanaugh!” “I stand with Ford!”
Let me tell you where I stand.
There was a hearing; I watched. I wish for the sake of those involved that this hadn’t been broadcast live, but it was, and to stay informed I watched, and I listened, and afterward I read summaries and reviews and transcripts.
I wept at Dr. Ford’s testimony, and in order to gain a rational perspective on her words I had to go back and listen to a recording, pausing frequently. I found her statements to be intelligent, forthright, and extremely compelling. I am convinced that she suffered a traumatic experience, and that she expressed what she believes is the truth of what happened. I found her description of the events to be consistent with similar witness statements, and incidentally to be indicative of high intelligence, ability, and perception on her part. The cross-examination was painful to watch, and yet I had to admire Dr. Ford’s repeated willingness to describe events and causes precisely and clinically.
Justice Kavanaugh was not a sympathetic witness; I did not find him personally appealing — but then, this is no great failing in a prospective judge. His words were incisive; his judgment of his accusers damning. I was particularly impressed by the manner of one part of his statement, that he doesn’t bear Dr. Ford any ill will and believes her mistaken but honest. He denied wrongdoing; he did so forthrightly and without shame.
Dr. Ford, a woman who fights crippling anxiety, has just been compelled to undergo one of the most traumatic experiences imaginable: She’s confessed her fears and declared her trauma on national television and in front of a hostile audience. I found her words moving, her courage impressive, and her character enviable. I admire the example she set.
Judge Kavanaugh, a professional jurist accustomed to the power and respect due his position, has also passed through a horrific experience, and he has not done so unscathed. Had I been wronged by this man and were I seeking revenge, I would find it difficult to ask for any punishment that would hurt him more. Whether or not his confirmation goes through, his reputation will never recover.
After having observed both parties, I find them each to have some admirable traits and some very human flaws. I find I am unable to determine which — if either — is lying. Were it my place to judge, and given the unreliability of witnesses from that far in the past, I would pronounce the allegation unprovable in this situation, and as such I would be forced to dismiss the charge. It is, however, not my place to judge, for which I’m quite grateful.
It’s not my place and it’s not yours to judge this one. The F.B.I. has no jurisdiction; the courts could not try any charges; it is absurd to state otherwise. The power of judgment lies in the hands of the Senate, and God help us all.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a spectator sport. This is people’s lives; it is trauma, shame, and degradation both for accuser and accused. That the confirmation vote — if there is one — will be divided along party lines is a disgrace; that the American people are feeling self-righteous and justified in supporting their selected champion in this horrible arena mud fight is disgusting. I am appalled.
I stand with Ford; she’s brave and forthright. I stand with Kavanaugh; what he’s suffered was not justice, yet he does not defame his accuser. Both are flawed human beings, subject to error and capable of doing wrong.
And so am I.