Like many of you, the Kavanaugh hearings caught me off guard, but unfortunately, I was not surprised at the outcome. There have been a number of insightful commentaries and articles about the sham which passed as a Senate confirmation hearing, but, there were a few thoughts that came to mind about how everything unfolded. While I am a loyal Democrat, what happened over the last two weeks has left me questioning the ability of the party to strategize, message and effect change.
Thirty-five years ago, high school…really? That looks like a desperate attempt by the Democrats to drag someone from his past.
Yeah, I admit it. My first thought was that it was unfair to judge someone based on what they did in high school. I thought about how some people argue that the teenage brain is not fully formed yet, and they can’t make important decisions for themselves. This is an argument in parental notification regulations.
Now, do I believe Dr. Ford? Absolutely. Do I think Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her? If I had to guess, I would say yes. While I do believe that based on what I have observed, teenagers should be liable for their actions, I also wonder about whether his drinking caused him to black out, and he may not remember it.
Why was Kavanaugh yelling?
When he came out swinging, I started to edit his speech in my mind. I told my colleague that he should have been more defensive towards the end and built up to his “anger” about defending his name. The partisan references were not suited for someone who wanted to be on the high court. As was reported afterwards, it didn’t matter, and he was really speaking to one person, Trump. That is the tenor and tone he knew Trump would appreciate and he understands Trump’s power.
Why did Senator Feinstein wait so long to contact the FBI?
This did not sit right with me either. I think it is totally natural to question why, when you believe a crime to have been committed, you would not contact the authorities.
Why weren’t there more Black women protesting? (Or at least why did I not see the coverage)
I have been having a lot of conversations this year about the role of Black women in advocacy. Since a Black woman started the #MeToo movement, and I am pretty sure Black women experience sexual assault, why weren’t we protesting—at least more visibly? Do we protest in other ways? Is sexual assault a “white women’s” issue? Meaning do issues that affect Black women come with the additional dimensions of race, class, discrimination…that we allow white women to lead on the advocacy around those issues? Do we believe Black women won’t be taken seriously? Do Black women feel uncomfortable around white women, in general? Or do Black women just not want to protest on this issue?
Is there a better way to do this?
Why in 2018 does a woman have to recount such a traumatic experience in front of the whole world? (Period!)
What effect will this have on voter turnout and support for the Republicans or Democrats?
Last weekend I led a webinar on voter mobilization for local advocates and focused on the importance of personal connection, influencers, peer pressure, knowing the issues, and knowing why the prospective voter doesn’t want to vote. The most common excuses for not voting in 2016 were dislike of the candidates and dislike of the issues. My concern is that voters are simply getting discouraged. The huge increase of ads, social media, influencers (Taylor Swift!) will hopefully drive up the rate and encourage increased turnout in the wake of such an embarrassing display of our Senate at work.
What does this mean for women’s rights?
Sigh, sigh, sigh. Every time we feel there is progress, we take a step back. Dr. Ford was terrified, but she was incredibly brave. I believe that in her heart of hearts, she reached out to her senator to do her civic duty. I have never experienced sexual assault, but I feel deeply for her. Her testimony inspired many survivors to share their experiences and in doing that, acknowledged the unspoken power dynamic that exists in our society.
We can’t stop now. EVERY one of us has to VOTE, LEAD and be truly IMPACTFUL to leave a powerful legacy for future generations.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” — Maya Angelou