#55: Our National Character is Walking a Razor's Edge

NATIONAL CHARACTER IS ON TRIAL! 



  Satire (courtesy of The Onion) being more True than Truth itself

Satire (courtesy of The Onion) being more True than Truth itself


1. In last week's CxD #54, I wrote "Just because I want something to be true,and hope it is true, even for what I perceive is the greater good of the country, doesn't mean they are true. In this case, as inconvenient as it is, I must be firm in exercising "I don't know mind" because, I actually don't know what happened the night of the accusation––because I wasn't there. And neither were all the people who "know" Kavanaugh is guilty, or who "know" Kavanaugh is innocent.It's painful to write this, but he must remain innocent, in both the spirit and the letter of the law until we have enough evidence that proves he is guilty, or is once again equivocating in such a way that would make his appointment to the highest court of the united states an obvious ethical violation."

Good news, Character Designers! It is now unequivocally clear that Kavanaugh does not belong not only on the Supreme Court, but on any fucking court, including a kangaroo one. If you missed the testimony, and want an example of what Character isn't, do yourself the tremendously painful favor of watching it, or reading this exemplary piece of journalism that outlines all the lies Kavanaugh insulted the citizens of the United States with. Here's the essence: 


"What does it say about this country that this is the state of our discourse? That Kavanaugh even stands any chance of being made one of the most powerful figures in the American government, with control over life and liberty? That a man like this is even a judge? He went before the United States Senate and showed total contempt for his vow to tell the truth. He attempted to portray a highly esteemed doctor as a crazy person, by  consistently misrepresenting the evidence. He treated the public like we were idiots, like we wouldn’t notice as he pretended he was ralphing during Beach Week from too many jalapeños, as he feigned ignorance about sex slang, as he misread his own meticulously-kept 1982 summer calendar, as he replied to questions about his drinking habits by talking about church, as he suggested there are no alcoholics at Yale, as he denied knowing who “Bart O’Kavanaugh” could possibly be based on, as he declared things refuted that weren’t actually refuted, as he claimed witnesses said things they didn’t say, as he failed to explain why nearly a dozen Yale classmates said he drank heavily, as he invented an imaginary drinking game to avoid admitting he had the mind of a sports jock in high school, as he said Ford had only accused him last week, as he responded to his roommate’s eyewitness statement with an incoherent story about furniture, as he pretended Bethesda wasn’t five miles wide, as he insisted Renate should be flattered by the ditty about how easy she was, as he declared that distinguished federal judges don’t commit sexual misconduct even though he had clerked for exactly such a judge.

And what does it say about us, and our political system, that he might well get away with it?"

Except that's not even all of it! Please also consider this:

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And this:
 

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So Kavanaugh is a serial liar, and given the credibility of Dr. Ford's testimony, it also appears that Kavanaugh is a sexual assault criminal and belongs in prison rather than on the highest court in the United States which has jurisprudence over the lives of all its citizens. For life.

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With Character as our Witness, it's now clear that the appropriate action is to support Dr. Ford's testimony by doing everything we can to prevent Kavanaugh from being confirmed. 

"I did not expect to be so moved by Dr. Ford.  She made a very brave decision to come forward, to tell a story that would ask us to consider the character of someone nominated for one of the most powerful positions in this country.  The Republicans have dismissed her story, questioned her integrity, portrayed her as an enemy.  Here she is, a regular citizen, who had a story to share calling into question a nominee's character.  Isn't this what it means to be a citizen in a democracy -- to do your civic duty?  Don't we want to know about character?  Isn't reputation something bigger and broader than just how you do your job?  Shouldn't we care about how the people who will exercise power over us have treated people throughout the course of their lives? " ~NYTimes comment 


If you'd like to listen to a terrific recap of the hearing, including analysis of the courageous testimony by Dr. Ford, please listen to this Pod Save America episode

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2. The lying and equivocating are bad enough, in the sense of being immoral and harmful. But Kavanaugh was also extraordinarily unreflective and lacked any sense of self-awareness. He was so encompassed by lying as his strategy to gain power and prestige that he forgot to answer any of the questions as a normal human who makes mistakes would. "I like beer" is not enough. A person of Character would not even have run for a seat on the supreme court knowing what they know about themselves. But if they did, they would have admitted to being a reckless teenager as obsessed with sex and sports and boozing as some (most?) young men in our culture are. It wouldn't be true of everyone, but it wouldn't be an anomaly, and we might have been able to look past it if he could prove that the rest of his life was a path of transformation to higher principles.

Had he owned up to his crassness and insensitivity and apologized to Dr. Ford and to the senate committee for misleading everyone with distorted self-serving memories, he probably would have gotten a stern reprimand and a talking to, but given how far Character has fallen from our national consciousness, he would also probably (and grotesquely) have been appointed already. But instead, he was utterly inflexible and utterly righteous in his equivocations; there is no room for humility in his Character, which means he cannot see past his own limited and corrupted view, not exactly a trait you want in a judge, no? 

And, just as True to Form as Ted Cruz, if you look at his voting record, Kavanaugh shows no capacity for forgiveness, or flexibility or mercy. His court rulings demand the maximum sentence allowable by law for minors, for example. And this is why he could not admit––not even to himself––that he is a liar and a criminal––because he does not have the capacity to be merciful, not to others and not to himself. So he told enough lies, over and over, that he began to believe them and was outraged that others would consequently deign to question his integrity. Greed, hate and delusion: they will poison even those who get into Yale Law School. 

 

                                               Bunk from The Wire, vomiting out of disbelief. And, like Judge Kavanaugh, not enough awareness of how much beer is too much.

Bunk from The Wire, vomiting out of disbelief. And, like Judge Kavanaugh, not enough awareness of how much beer is too much.

3.  Our national Character is walking on a razor's edge.

On one side is the hard-to-believe likelihood that a dishonorable man with extreme gaps in his Character will be willfully confirmed to the Supreme Court, a deliberate FUCK YOU to women and men, both, the likes of which we haven't seen since... Donald Trump. This would be a tragedy, both literal and metaphorical and in every sense you can imagine if integrity and dignity and character matter to you even one bit. Our democracy––or whatever is left of it––would be on the verge of collapse.

On the other side, however, is the immense force of reckoning that is continuing to wake the fuck up. Women are finding the courage to speak up more and more. Men are beginning to realize they might actually not truly understand what women have been going through––for years, decades, centuries, millennia––and might be starting to open their ears and hearts a little wider. I am full of gratitude for this wake-up call. 

The razor's edge is dangerously sharp and we are bleeding. 

But, this is also true: 

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