Derailed

Well, I’m back. Sort of. I took a little time off from blogging, because we were in the midst of a national meltdown, and I was fearful that one of our little debates was going to get misused by someone with an ax to grind.

I’ve turned back to education policy, which has all of the sudden gotten very crowded with new writers. Good for schools, bad for me. I have about seven different topics that I’m working on right now, but nothing solid yet, which is making me feel very unsettled. After I lock down my next article, I’ll be back.

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Our Political Circus

Yesterday, I spent ten hours sitting on a sofa in the family room watching the entire Senate confirmation hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. It will rank up there with other momentous political and social events that have happened in my life – the space shuttle destruction, 9/11, the election of Donald Trump. It was traumatic and horrific and personally scarring.

It should have never happened like that. That inquiry should have happened behind closed doors and been buttressed by an independent investigation. Instead, two individuals, and their families, were publicly destroyed and humiliated.

And everybody has their own experiences that sway their interpretation of events. As a woman who grew up in the 1980s, I had bad experiences with the popular, sporty boys, as well as my own stories of beer filled parties. And a guy tweeted me his own story about how he was falsely accused of a crime when he was in college. Also, I’ve talked with a lot of women who aren’t sympathetic with Blasey Ford. They tell me that guys did this stuff all the time back then and it never stuck with them.

But those experiences cannot sway our interpretation of events.  Everybody has their own stories, and it’s coloring our views of events, which is why none of us should have been involved.

There’s a lot at stake beyond these people. There’s the flagging public trust in our institutions. There’s the ability of a government to function effectively separately from partisanship. There’s the hope — a slim hope admittedly — that the justices of our supreme court can make decisions based on an impartiality examination of the constitution, wisdom, and compassion. All that was trashed along with the reputations of the individuals at the center of this circus.

We could have done better. We should have done better.

And this isn’t over. Republicans are now galvanized behind Lindsay Graham and will show up to vote in November, when they were, maybe, going to stay home. And the Democrats are going to never be quiet about Kavanaugh’s questionable past. When they win in 2020, they will vote to increase the number of justices on the court. Instead, they should put term limits on the justices. This lifetime appointment thing should be over.

This was terrible.

That said, I think that Kavanaugh should step down. It’s impossible to believe that he will be an impartial judge after this experience.

 

Believable

I’ve been stuck on the sofa with an iPad in hand tweeting for the past three hours. Blasey Ford was very believable. Kavanaugh is in trouble.

She put forward all sorts of details that made her story ring true, including the fact that she heard the guys laugh after they messed with her. A group of cool, popular guys laughing after terrorizing a young, fragile girl is very believable. Quick flashback to several incidents in my high school hallway. I think I spent most of the first two years of high school avoiding certain guys, sometimes dodging into the bathroom to hide from them.

Kavanaugh is going to have a very, very hard time digging himself out of this. Someone on Twitter said that Trump is furious and stomping around the White House, because nobody told him that Blasey Ford was so believable.

The GOP’s independent prosecutor is making a hash of things, because there’s really not many holes in Blasey Ford’s story. Yes, she’s a fragile person, who has admittedly struggled with some mental health issues, but she’s a professional and her story is consistent and honest about the issues that she doesn’t remember. I don’t think we’re going to get anymore info by continued questions. I think we should just move to Kavanaugh.

Tragedy

Before we get all pundit-y gleeful about the upcoming Kavanaugh circus at 10, let’s remember that what we are witnessing is most definitely a TRAGEDY. Two people are about to be humiliated and tortured and only one person actually deserves it.

Ford is most likely truthful and accurate, but there is a chance that she’s not. I would feel much, much better if he had been voted out because of his position on Roe v Wade. That’s clean and neat. This isn’t.

You know what his high school calendar tells me, as someone with teenage boys? He’s been planning for greatness since he’s been a kid. Teenage boys almost never keep records like this. They don’t have the executive skills.

And notice how he simply writes “interview for Brown” on his calendar without a time? He isn’t reminding himself about going to the interview. He’s keeping record for future historians. And he saved his calendar.

And he put his exercise routine on his calendar. I’m only doing that in my 50s, and I used to be an athlete. He was a highly, highly, unusual regimented kid who completely exploded on weekends.

And now all those exploded weekends might undo all the careful planning during the rest of the week.

Now, he’ll either never have that history book about himself or he’ll get one with a very fat chapter with lots of horrible information.

And Ford herself seems to have been tortured by this high school experience, even considering moving to New Zealand to get away from hearing about BK.

Two people are about to humiliate themselves in public. This is so sad.

The Small World of Elites

While on the treadmill at the gym this morning, I watched Willie Geist joke about his common high school with his guest, a political science professor with a new book, on MSNBC. I know all about that high school, because that’s where Jonah went and where we live. And my editor at the major magazine that I know well. I tweeted about it and now we’re all friends, too.

It’s a small world of elites.

I’m not quite sure what the main point of Flanagan’s article was, but she has some nice details about the insider culture of elite schools in the 1980s. It was very, very similar to life at my upper class suburb in the 1980s.

Dan Drezner has a post about how elites are rather clueless about the fact that they are elites and, thus, have no qualms about punching down.

It’s a tribal world of elites, where we protect each other and close ranks. My hubby would point out that this is a cave-man instinct. It’s also something that pissed off people who aren’t in the club. We’ve got to open the doors.

Nah to Kavanaugh

I didn’t write a blog post late last week, because the universe did not need one more hot take on Brett Kavanaugh. But I also knew that nobody wanted to hear about anything else. I handed in an article last Thursday and really, really should be moving on the next one, but it’s not about the Supreme Court or party behavior from the 1980s, so there seems no point in writing it. I actually don’t want to publish anything until the circus is over one way or another, because nobody is going to read it.

Sigh. So, let’s talk about it.

I’m pretty surprised that we didn’t wake up to a letter from Kavanaugh withdrawing his nomination. It was a tough night for him, but a fun night to be on Twitter.

The latest was a New Yorker article that sort of found another woman with a bad story about Kavanaugh. And some tweets by the Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who said he some info on gang rapes.

Parties in the 1980s were booze filled — I suppose they still are. There was lots of bad behavior there. Ford’s allegations were extreme, and I would have been horrified if that happened back then. But behavior that was a couple of steps less violent happened frequently. I’m not sure that adults should be judged by teenage lapses in judgment.

The picture that we’re getting of Kavanaugh is that he was a sports-bro. A rich private school kid. James Spader in Pretty in Pink. A entitled golden boy who got the cheerleaders and school awards. I knew that type well. I was alternatively attracted to that type, mostly because they weren’t into me, and repulsed by them for the same reason.

The same age as Kavanaugh, I’m getting IMs from the committee for my 35 year high school reunion right now. They want me to come, but I’m on the fence. It’s not close enough to bop in for an hour and then escape. It will involve an overnight stay in a hotel, if I get a few glasses of wine. I’m not sure that I want to invest that amount of time. There are several people who are going who fit the mold of Kavanaugh, others are reformed and have become sweet and kind.

If Kavanaugh reformed, became modest, self-effacing, and apologetic, would you forgive him?