What would it take for those of us scattered across the political spectrum to come together enough to figure out the degree to which we’re just being manipulated? The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford that is underway as I type is just another area in which Americans are observing two different worlds… or appear to be. I try always to leave open the likelihood of my own bias, but I’m finding it increasingly hard to believe that anybody genuinely believes what the other of the two perceived realities requires.
Ford’s story came to light at the perfect time to disrupt the Supreme Court nomination process for judge Brett Kavanaugh. She has absolutely no evidence of the events that she describes. She can’t name the place or time. All of the people whom she claims were witnesses, including a female friend of hers, have denied knowledge of the incident (under penalty of perjury). Kavanaugh has denied it under oath in ways from which he can’t back off.
All of this is regarding a single incident allegedly occurring one-third of a century ago, and we haven’t even gotten to questions about how much we should weigh a teen’s behavior against decades of unblemished adulthood.
And this isn’t even the most depressing part. Right now, the governor of Rhode Island is fundraising off of this culture-shaking lunacy. From an email that went out last night:
I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
The stories out of Washington have implications in Rhode Island. The cyber bullying and coordinated efforts to dismiss her and other women’s credible accusations against Brett Kavanaugh send a dangerous signal to Rhode Island girls, women and anyone else who has been abused or assaulted. Every Rhode Islander deserves to grow up and live in a society free of abuse, bullying and harassment; and we must create a community that gives comfort and support to everyone with the courage to come forward and tell their story.
The governor of our state spares not a word to suggest that it might be important to know whether of not the accusations are true. Imagine for a moment that Ford is — perhaps without having intended it — part of a campaign of deception to block a judicial nominee for ideological reasons. Isn’t that harassment? The other day, I read an essay by Sarah Hoyt that I can’t find, just now, in which she tells of her sons’ experience being targeted for sexual harassment claims by girls in their schools who wanted them kicked out. Isn’t that harassment?
Even without picking sides, one should be able to see that Raimondo’s logic is self contradictory. One party in this thing has unjustifiably harmed the other. The question for us is how we figure out which it was. Raimondo, along with everybody in her party whom I’ve seen say anything about this matter, clearly answers that question by referring to her political needs and to emotion. That isn’t a recipe for a stable society. For stability and harmony, we need to prioritize evidence, not to mention a sense of proportion and fairness.
To cap it all off, recall that, as the elected governor of her state, Raimondo holds an official contest every year from which school boys are explicitly excluded. She discriminates against them, sending the message that she does not actually want to hear their stories.
Honestly, politics and ideology aside: If you’re a Raimondo supporter who isn’t a bit unsettled by her behavior, you should ask whether you’re being manipulated.