One senator called this week’s proceedings against Brett Kavanaugh a “sham”. To me, it seemed more like a skit – a half-hearted effort to dramatize foregone conclusions. A man stands accused of a heinous and violent crime that – if the accusation is true – should end his career and destroy his reputation. His life is at stake, but he is only a prop on this stage, a man being reduced to a caricature.
The charge against him was odd from the start, launched at the perfect moment, ugly enough to command our attention, probably impossible to disprove. And odd in other ways.
A dramatic life event is like a rock thrown into the water. It produces ripples that spread far and remain long after the initial splash. From such a crisis as Dr. Ford describes, one expects ripples. Screams or torn clothing, bruises, concerned questions from friends or parents, diary entries, gossip, scandal, social realignments… something. But we hear of no ripples. Those called upon by the accuser to confirm her account know nothing of the event. The alleged attack is like a rock thrown into the water that somehow made no ripples, and perhaps not even a splash.
This does not disprove Dr. Ford’s account, but if there has been a conspiracy of silence to cover something up, that conspiracy was led by Dr. Ford.
And so, we are left to choose sides, unable to say anything for certain. And that, I think, was the purpose of the skit. To reduce the man to a caricature. To weaken what we know and strengthen what we are told to imagine, to dramatize foregone conclusions.
What I know, after all of this, is that Mr. Kavanaugh is trusted by the women and men who know him best. His reputation – before this week’s bizarre events – was good, both personally and professionally. Perhaps more to the point, he honors the Constitution, which he is both required to do by his office and hated for doing by those who staged this week’s skit. That hatred is the real story, and may God help us if it wins.