I planned my entire Thursday around Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. When I went out in the morning to grab something to eat, I listened to Senator Chuck Grassley’s opening remarks on the radio, and I was home in time for Senator Diane Feinstein’s. From that point on, I watched, without interruption.
If I’m being honest, I hadn’t planned on watching Judge Kavanaugh’s, but I thought in the interest of fairness (and a cleared afternoon schedule), I decided that I would watch it live rather than wait for that evening’s analysis.
One of the things I’m trying to reconcile for myself is the anxiety I felt; the stress that was dredged up from my own high school and college days. I could feel triggers snapping into place, and I must add the disclaimer that while I have experienced my own me too moments, I’ve never been assaulted sexually. Despite growing up in the rape culture 80s (I’m one year younger than Judge Kavanaugh) where some sexualized things and encounters seemed okay then in the moment, looking back I would not expect my daughter to agree with or put up with those notions and outdated ideas. The point I’m trying to make is that anytime I felt pressured or cajoled into something sexual, I felt that I was consenting, and I still do. I do realize that some of that comes from a place of female expectations of the past and the normalization that we’ve accepted of rape culture for so long. Looking back, I don’t feel abused or threatened, and that’s my experience.
However, there were other non-sexual moments that Dr. Ford’s emotional descriptions triggered in me, memories that I have on occasion looked back on with increasing fear and trepidation. This is in no way meant to minimize other women’s sexual assault stories. I am in no way comparing this one anecdote to a sexual assault or implying that it’s on the same scale of trauma. I can only write about my personal experience, but the raw emotions that this tesimony brought up about power imbalances and toxicity of male entitlement still hold true.
The “indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the laugh — the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense” that Dr. Ford described to Senator Leahy brought me to my metaphorical knees, to a time in my freshman year of college. It wasn’t sexual, but these kinds of toxic actions remain for the victims and remains with me to this day. Someone stole my glasses. I think they asked to try them on. The were large circles and very thick, the definition of Coke bottle glasses, and then they ran away. I don’t remember who it was; it feels like a friend, but I can’t put a name or a face on him. I know it was a boy who lived in my dorm. I remember breathlessly running after him, and getting my glasses back from the floor where he placed (tossed) them in front of my dorm room door. I remember that dorm room number when I don’t remember any of the others from my college days. It wasn’t sexual. It wasn’t assault. I still felt threatened, and I still have a difficult time trusting anyone who asks to see my glasses; I keep a hand hovering over them. And like Dr. Ford, I remember the “…the laughter, the uproarious laughter,…” as she described when asked again about it, to Senator Klobuchar.
It all came back to me in a rush.
The feelings Dr. Ford recounted, the emotions, every hitch of her breath – I was transfixed, not only by her recounting, retelling of this horrifying moment and the moments since, but by her courage. Her bravery made me stay as difficult as it was to continue listening to her speak. Every time she took a drink, and then every time she apologized, the stress and anxiety was palpable.
I was sad. At moments, I was teary-eyed. I was also angry. And I was offended. I was offended by the line of questioning regarding Dr. Ford’s fear of flying. How absurd. We all have a fear of something and we push on through. I also have a fear of flying. I take a Xanax (actually it’s half of a Xanax). We do what we have to do when it’s important enough. Courage.
The more the questioning went on, the angrier I became, not only with what happened to her, not only with the Republican’s substitute (female assistant) for their lack of humanity, but also angry at the Democrats for not being angrier, for not calling out the Republicans, for Merrick Garland. If that hypocrite Mitch McConnell hadn’t stolen President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Dr. Ford wouldn’t have been forced to relive what was probably the worst moment of her life.
I know that’s selfish of me. Judge Kavanaugh has other victims out there (this I believe and it is an opinion that I continue to hold) that may not have come forward without Dr Ford’s letter, but I do blame Senator McConnell’s lack of respect for President Obama. I blame him for kowtowing and changing long held Republican values (I’m not sure what of those ideals remain today) to claim a Trump Administration. He ignored the Russian act of war on our election, and wouldn’t let the intelligence community inform the American people prior to what became a dishonest election. I will always see a traitor when I see his name.
I’m sorry for digressing, but I do believe that Mitch McConnell is the lynchpin that allows some of the American people to allow certain behaviors to get tax cuts for the rich. He has no empathy for what Dr. Ford and thousands of women go through, and he really doesn’t care.
Dr Ford has left a lasting mark on me. Long after this Supreme Court nomination concludes (in whichever way it will), this testimony will leave an enduring impression on me, rooted in my emotional center. She is brave. She is admirable. She is an inspiration.
Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, came across as angry, belligerent, unhinged; partisan; entitled. And even if I could take the attempted rape out of the testimony, he lied. He lied in the first hearing about the stolen papers. He lied about Judge Kozinski. He lied about talking to his very close friend at the Kasowitz attorney firm. He tried to play Senator Kamala Harris when he could have answered honestly and moved on. Everyone is talking about the Mueller case; why would he (and his friends) be any different? And then his testimony on Thursday, he lied about his high school and college drinking. He lied about the legal drinking age. He lied about what boof, Devil’s Triangle, and skis meant. Rewatch Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s statement on the morning of the vote. He said what we were all thinking.
His temperament is not befitting a United States Supreme Court Justice.
Thanks to Senator Chris Coons and Senator Jeff Flake, it is now in the hands of the FBI, and I have faith that they have the time to question the witnesses and to follow-up with the leads they will be given.
Information has come out between the time that I wrote this and planned to post it that I believe is relevant to the FBI investigation. Despite what the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Trump directed, the FBI has been limited in who it may speak to and what it may look into by the White House Counsel. For example, despite the time of Mark Judge’s employment at Safeway being a critical timeline corroboration, they are not allowed to request his employment dates for this background check (which flies in the face of all job applicant background checks.)
Here is something that former FBI Director, James Comey said in his New York Times opinion piece on Sunday (9/30/18):
“…They [the FBI] also know that little lies point to bigger lies.…
…As strange as it sounds, there is freedom in being totally screwed. Agents can just do their work. Find facts. Speak truth to power.
Despite all the lies and all the attacks, there really are people who just want to figure out what’s true. The F.B.I. is full of them.”
I respect the FBI. I respect their independence. They should not be constrained from doing their job, and yes, their duty to the American people, regardless of how the chips may fall.
This nominee is a mistake. He is not qualified. I’m honestly not sure he’s qualified to be in his current position.
I await the week’s delay with patience and prayer.
I would like to close with a very genuine and heartfelt thank you and appreciation for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s bravery in coming forward and telling her story. You are a true hero and a patriot. Thank you.