Saturday, September 29, 2018

One Hundred Percent

Thursday's spectacle in the Senate Judiciary Committee represented a new low for this nation. In all my 57 years, I've never been so embarrassed to be an American. I will not pretend to be objective, because I'm not. What we saw was a tale of two people: one deferential, graceful, composed, humble; the other belligerent, entitled, disrespectful and contemptuous. One made a credible and persuasive case for herself; the other scapegoated virtually everyone in the room except himself. But they were not the only central players in this tragedy. What I thought I'd do is write each a short letter expressing my feelings. This comes from my gut and I make no apologies for how it may come out.

Christine Blasey Ford: Thank you, Dr. Ford, for your courage and your strength. I was deeply moved by your testimony. I must confess: prior to your appearance before the Committee, I wasn't a hundred percent sure of the validity of your claim. The journalist in me was somewhat skeptical. However, after having listened to you, any lingering doubts I might have had have been thoroughly removed. I can now say unequivocally that I believe you 100 percent.

And on behalf of this country and the eleven Republican senators who hid behind a female prosecutor they hired to do their bidding, I wish to apologize for the manner in which you were treated. Twice in your life you have been assaulted: the first was by Brett Kavanaugh 36 years ago; the second was by a bunch of old, white men who apparently haven't learned a damned thing since the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991.

From the moment you agreed to testify, the process was rigged. Chairman Chuck Grassley had already scheduled a vote for the very next day. THE VERY NEXT DAY! They never had any intention of giving you a fair hearing. This was nothing but a front to prove to voters they actually cared, when in fact they didn't. Once more they proved to the nation that when push comes to shove, a man will always get the benefit of the doubt over a woman.

I cannot begin to imagine the feelings that must be going on inside you. As a survivor of incest I have had to tell my story, but I had the comfort of doing it in the privacy of a trained therapist's office. You told your story on live TV in front of a captive audience. Please know that your efforts were not in vain. You touched the lives millions of women, and, yes, men too. Men heard you; this man heard you. And this man thanks you from the bottom of his heart. No matter what happens with this confirmation hearing, there is no turning back. Your bravery has seen to that. May God bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Lindsey Graham: Bravo, bravo, bravo. That was quite a show you put on. It's a shame the Academy Awards were already handed out because you, sir, would've won best actor in a supporting role for the performance you put on Thursday afternoon. I say supporting role, because for the first five hours of the hearing you, along with your band of cohorts, behaved like a troupe of mimes. There wasn't a peep out of you during Dr. Ford's testimony. Your hired hand was doing all the heavy lifting while you sat there pretending to give a shit.

But then once the "preliminary" round was over and your boy was fighting for his miserable life, you suddenly found both your voice and your balls. That little temper tantrum you threw was quite impressive, even if you did pull it out of your ass. Now I know why they call you a drama queen. And I must admit you have quite the knack for irony. I mean calling this hearing a sham, that really takes the cake. I don't suppose it crossed your mind while you were lecturing Democrats on their tactics that for 400 days your party didn't so much as grant Merrick Garland the courtesy of a meeting, much less a hearing. He and not Neil Gorsuch should be sitting on the Supreme Court.

But let's leave all that aside for the moment. Here's the problem with your logic. You're going to bat for the wrong judge. "This guy," as you referred to Kavanaugh, isn't Gorsuch; he isn't Sotomayor or Kagan, both of whom you made damn sure everyone knew you voted for; he isn't Roberts or Kennedy, either. Not one of those justices had a charge of sexual assault hurled at them. NOT ONE! In fact, over the last 30 years, only two Supreme Court nominees have been accused of sexual misconduct: Clarence Thomas and "This Guy." Democrats aren't destroying his reputation; he's doing that all by himself, both by his past deeds which are coming back to haunt him and his belligerence during the hearing. Innocent "guys" don't behave like that; guilty "guys" do.

So spare me your righteous indignation, Senator. I'm sure it played well over at the White House with your golf buddy, the Predator in Chief. The next time you're on the course with him, you should try to get a bigger handicap. It's the least he can do for you given you've forfeited every bit of what was left of your self respect. You may have once called John McCain a friend, but know this: there's no way in hell McCain would've voted for Kavanaugh, not without a thorough FBI investigation into the allegations. That's because he had more integrity in his pinky than you have in your whole fucking body.

Jeff Flake: Boy are you lucky I didn't write this letter Friday morning. I was all set to excoriate you because you were about to vote yes with the other ten Republicans on the Committee and send this nomination to a floor vote in the full Senate. But then Providence intervened and you were cornered in an elevator by a couple of women who shamed you into doing something decent. So you joined with your Democratic friend Chris Coons and fellow "moderate" Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to call for a one week delay to allow for an FBI investigation. Since I believe in giving credit where credit is due, I'll give you an E for effort. Your heart was in the right place and that's what counts.

And that brings me back to the one question you still haven't answer: Why are you leaving the Senate? If you truly care about this institution and what it used to stand for, why not stay and fight for it? Why turn tail and run? If you don't like what Donald Trump has done to your party and to the country then make a stand? You could've made a credible case for sanity to the voters back home. Even better, while serving as senator, you could've decided not to embrace any legislation that might be perceived as advancing Trump's agenda, including his massive tax cut that as a supposed fiscal conservative you have to know is blowing a hole in the debt. Long after you and members of your generation are dust, future generations will be paying for this tax cut.

So, yes, kudos to you for putting up something of a road block in this nomination, but shame on you for abandoning ship while the passengers are still on board.

Brett Kavanaugh: And now we come to the pièce de résistance. Congratulations, judge. I've always wondered what a privileged, entitled, snot-nosed, bitter white man would look like, and boy you did not disappoint. In fact, you put on quite a clinic. That lecture you gave - and let's just call it that - was pure Trump. I'd say he wrote it for you, but we both know the man isn't capable of writing a complete sentence, much less an entire speech. But whoever authored it, it was clearly intended for an audience of one.

Admit it, you were this close to having Trump pull the nomination from you and that prospect frightened you more than any accusation from Christine Ford. I've been on enough job interviews to know when someone is sweating it out. And those facial expressions were so over the top. Whoever coached you should team up with Lindsey Graham to do a movie. Of course the tears would've meant more if you could've summoned some for your victim. Did you see her testimony, judge? DID YOU? When asked, you said no. Assuming that was the truth - and I doubt it was - you missed a golden opportunity to see what genuine emotion and vulnerability look like. And temperament? Dr. Ford was the model of restraint, while your outbursts of anger exposed you as someone who is clearly unfit to be on the highest court of the land.

There was one moment during your testimony where you provided some badly needed comic relief. That was the point where you blamed the Clintons for your plight. I guess it was only a matter of time before you and your supporters got around to that. Frankly, I'm disappointed you didn't blame Obama. Your sugar daddy Trump has been trying for the last eighteen months to eradicate every policy of his. If Trump ever discovered Obama invented, say, oxygen, he'd suffocate the whole planet.

There's just one question I have for you, and it was one that was asked repeatedly by Democrats on the Committee: why on earth wouldn't you submit to a polygraph and ask the White House to open up an investigation into the allegations against you? Why wouldn't you want to do everything possible to clear your supposed good reputation? The reputation you keep insisting has been destroyed by this conspiracy against you. I know if it were me up there and I was innocent of the charges against me, I'd move heaven and earth to get at the truth.

But then who are we kidding? We both know what the truth is, don't we? You're guilty as sin and you know it. As I wrote in my last piece, I've been to enough 12-step meetings to know a bullshit artist when I see one. You don't want to take a polygraph test because you know full well that you'd fail it. And you sure as shit don't want to be interviewed by the FBI on the allegations against you because you also know that if you lie to the FBI, agents will show up at your door with handcuffs. People lie all the time to Congress and nothing happens; people who lie to the FBI wind up in jail. Just ask Paul Manafort.

As of now no one knows what the FBI will turn up over the next few days. Maybe you'll catch a break and nothing more damaging will be revealed. Or maybe the roof will fall in on you. If it's the latter, then justice would've been served and Trump will simply appoint another conservative jurist to the Supreme Court, one who hopefully isn't a sexual predator. If it's the former, do not think for a moment that this is over. Dr. Ford will be vindicated eventually.

I'll leave you with this one tidbit to chew on: there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault in Maryland. Trump may not be able to be indicted while in office; but that protection does not extend to members of the Judiciary. Not even members of the Supreme Court. I look forward to seeing your ass hauled out of that building in cuffs. A good many people will shed tears of joy on that day, sir, I can assure you.

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